April: Rosacea Awareness Month!

27 Apr

There is so much pressure to look a certain way in regards to weight, what we wear, physical features and complexion. The other day my 3 1/2 year old was looking in the mirror at a scab on her face that she got from a battle with her younger sister. All of a sudden she started screaming “get it off me NOW, I want it gone, it’s ugly, I’m ugly”.  A few minutes later she was talking about being fat.  It was heartbreaking that at 3 1/2 she is already concerned about her image.  I have no idea where she got it from because I have never said anything like that to her.  I can only imagine that it is what she sees.  Media has a big impact on our perception of beauty.  There are “beautiful” women; thin, in great shape, wearing great clothes and shoes, make-up done, and flawless skin all over T.V. and in magazines. It’s important, especially for youth, when celebrities share their experiences and create awareness about conditions which impact their appearance.

April was designated as ROSACEA awareness month.  When I received an e-mail about spreading awareness I immediately wanted to join because I wanted to find out more about the skin condition.  I do not have rosacea but I developed melasma which I am very self-conscious about.  In honor of this month, celebrity Cynthia Nixon from my favorite HBO series Sex and the City shared her personal experience with ROSACEA.   Thank you Cynthia for sharing your experience on your public service announcement, educating me about ROSACEA and reminding everyone, not just sufferers but the world that no one is picture perfect- not even celebrities (What Cynthia wants you to know from MamaDrama).

What you should know about ROSACEA (all information below from the Rosacea Fact Sheet I received from MamaDrama, additional information can be found on the RosaceaFacts website and RosaceaFacts Facebook page):

Rosacea  is  a  common  skin  condition  that  affects  over  16  million  Americans,  yet  it  is  still  somewhat unknown  and  poorly  understood.  Often  characterized  by  flare-­‐ups  and  periods  of  remissions,  rosacea  isa  chronic,  inflammatory  skin  condition  that  causes  persistent  facial  redness,  blemishes  and  bumps.Although  rosacea  can  affect  anyone,  people  over  age  30  with  fair  skin  and  a  family  history  are  most  at risk.

Symptoms  of  Rosacea  
Symptoms  of  rosacea  can  vary  greatly  from  person  to  person  but  may  include:
• Blushing:  a  tendency  to  blush  or  flush  easily
• Redness:  persistent  redness  in  the  center  of  the  face
• Irritation:  a  burning  or  stinging  sensation  on  the  face;  the  skin  also  may  itch  or  feel  tight
• Bumps:  red  bumps,    visible  blood  vessels  and  pus-­‐filled  pimples  may  occur
• Eyes:  burning,  itching,  watery  eyes  and/or  swollen  eyelids

Causes  &  Common  Triggers    
While  the  cause  of  this  condition  is  not  fully  understood,  researchers  suspect  that  rosacea  may  be
caused  by  a  combination of  inflammatory  proteins  and  peptides  in  the  skin,  rather than  by  bacteria.
Common  triggers  for  flare-­‐ups  include  seasonal  weather  conditions,  emotional  stress,  exercise,  alcohol
consumption  and  spicy  foods.
  
Rosacea  &  Acne:  What’s  the  Difference?  
Before  you  assume  those  bumps  on  your  face  are  acne  –  take  another  look!    Rosacea  and  acne  often  can
look  very  similar  on  the  surface,  but  beyond  the  skin’s  surface  there  are  separate  issues  going  on.    There
are  no  products  for  the  self-­‐treatment  of  rosacea,  and  it  can  actually  worsen  if  treated  with  medications
intended  for  acne.    If  you  suspect  that  you  may  have  rosacea,  a  trip  to  the  dermatologist  is  a  must.

The  Emotional  Effects  of  Rosacea     
Rosacea  affects  the  face,  so  people  with  this  condition  can  often  experience  embarrassment,  low  self-­‐ 
esteem  and  depression.  Rosacea  is  a  disease  that  can  deeply  affect  people  emotionally  as  well  as   
physically.     
A  survey  of  rosacea  sufferers  found  the  condition  had:   
• Decreased  their  self-­‐confidence  and  self-­‐esteem   
• Made  them  cancel  social  engagements  and  avoid  public  contact   
• Negatively  affected  their  professional  interactions  and  even  caused  them  to  miss  work   
  
The  good  news?    A  majority  of  people  polled  also  said  medical  treatment  improved  their  emotional  and   
social  well-­‐being.     
  
Treatment  of  Rosacea   
It  is  important  for  people  who  think  they  have  rosacea  to  talk  to  a  dermatologist  about  their  symptoms.   
If  left  untreated,  rosacea  may  progress  in  severity  and  result  in  permanent  changes  to  the  skin.    In  a   
National  Rosacea  Society  survey,  about  half  of  rosacea  sufferers  said  without  treatment,  their  condition   
worsened.  

There  are  several  FDA-­‐approved  treatments  available  (both  topical  and  oral  therapies)  to  help  reduce
the  inflammatory  lesions  of  rosacea.    A  dermatologist  will  determine  which  treatment  is  best  for  every
patient.  Lifestyle  modifications  to  avoid  triggers  may  also  help  manage  symptoms.

Help spread awareness and follow the campaign  on Twitter with #RosaceaFacts. If you know someone with the condition be considerate of the emotional impact a flare up might have on them.

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