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The Emotional Side of Rosacea

By Linda Wasmer Andrews
Content provided by: Better Medicine from Healthgrades

The facial redness and blemishes of rosacea are easy to see. But for many people with the condition, the invisible effects on their psyche have a greater impact. In surveys by the National Rosacea Society, more than three-fourths of rosacea patients said the disease lowered their confidence. More than 40 percent said it caused them to avoid public contact or cancel social plans. And nearly 70 percent of those with severe rosacea said it adversely affected them at work.

Clearly, the effects of rosacea are more than skin deep. But there’s good news, too. Most people with rosacea find that their confidence rebounds when their disease is treated effectively.

My Face Was Red

Many people with rosacea say they’re embarrassed by their appearance. If you feel this way, medical treatment may reduce physical symptoms and ease the emotional toll. Lifestyle changes and good skin care may help as well.

If you sometimes feel singled out, that’s understandable. But remember that you’re actually far from alone. By the latest estimate, 16 million Americans are currently grappling with rosacea.

Best Face Forward

One challenge faced by many rosacea sufferers is coping with curious stares or tactless comments from others. Most people don’t mean to be rude or insensitive. They’re simply unfamiliar with this common, but commonly misunderstood, disease.

If you run into that situation, turn an awkward experience into a teachable moment. Explain that rosacea is a chronic, treatable skin disease. You can also take the opportunity to explain what rosacea isn’t: It’s not contagious. It’s not the result of poor hygiene. And contrary to what many believe, it isn’t caused by heavy drinking.

De-Stress for Success

Reducing the stress caused by rosacea is important, not only for your peace of mind, but also for your skin. In a survey of 1,066 rosacea patients, four out of five said that stress worsened their condition. To help keep stress under control:

  • Pamper your body. Eat healthfully, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Don’t react to stress in unhealthy ways, such as by smoking, abusing drugs, drinking too much, or overeating.

  • Relax your muscles. Take regular stretch breaks, especially if you have to sit for extended periods. After a long day, take turns with your partner giving each other shoulder rubs.

  • Calm your mind. Reduce worry by identifying your rosacea triggers, devising a plan to manage them, and putting the plan into action. But be realistic. Accept that some things are beyond your control, and that’s OK.

  • Soothe your spirit. Pencil “me-time” into your busy schedule. Then do what makes you happy, whether it’s listening to music, reading a book, pursuing a hobby, or chatting with friends.

Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD Last Annual Review Date: 2010-04-23T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright: © 2000-2010 The StayWell Company, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

Reference: Skin, Hair and Nails section on Better Medicine

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3/4 of people with rosacea say the condition lowers their confidence. More than 40% avoid public contact or cancel social plans.