Survey results for

March/May: Rosacea Awareness

Our brand new rosacea hub went live in April of 2016. Ahead of the launch, we wanted to know how many of our members had rosacea, and we wanted to take the chance to learn as much as possible about their experiences with the condition. In addition, we wanted to find out what our members who don’t have rosacea know about the condition – how many have heard of it before, what they understood the symptoms of rosacea to be, and whether any of them did in fact experience any rosacea-related symptoms.

The vast majority of those that participated in the survey were female (91%), and the most common age bracket they fell into was between 31 and 40. Around half were rosacea sufferers.

Rosacea Sufferers

Just over half of the rosacea sufferers who responded to the survey had had their condition diagnosed by a healthcare professional. Fascinatingly, 40% had never visited a doctor at all about their symptoms.

Around a quarter had first noticed rosacea-related symptoms when they were in their thirties; another quarter first noticed symptoms in their twenties. In total, over three quarters had experienced symptoms before they were 40. Most had been suffering with the condition for a relatively short time – over half had had rosacea for under 10 years.

Asked what parts of their skin are affected by their rosacea, by far the most common response (at nearly 90%) was the cheeks, followed by the nose (nearly half) and the chin and forehead (both around a quarter). Around two thirds had experienced the most common rosacea-related symptom, periodic blushing or ‘flushing’ of the face. The other most common symptoms were itchiness, the visibility of blood vessels through the skin, and the appearance of bumps or ‘bubbles’ on the skin – each of these was experienced by over 40% of the rosacea sufferers who completed the survey. Many also experienced a burning sensation and persistent spots. Most (around half) described their rosacea as moderate in terms of severity.

The vast majority – well over two thirds – reported that their rosacea is brought on or exacerbated by stress. The next most common trigger was cold weather, followed (interestingly) by hot weather. Alcohol, strong winds, sunlight, hot baths, and spicy foods were also common triggers.

Many rosacea sufferers also experience ocular rosacea, a variant of the disease which affects the area around the eyes. Nearly two thirds of rosacea sufferers responding to our survey had experienced at least some symptoms associated with this variant of the condition, the most common being dry eyes, persistent tearing or weeping, and a burning sensation around the eyes. Many also reported that they suffer from other skin conditions in addition to their rosacea – around a quarter had eczema, and around a fifth had acne.

Nearly two thirds had tried topical treatments such as ointment or gels to combat their symptoms. Around half had made other changes to their skincare treatment regimes, skin camouflage regimes (the use of make-up to hide rashes), or adopting lifestyle changes to avoid factors that trigger flare-ups. Fascinatingly, the vast majority (84%!) said that they had never used a treatment that had treated their symptoms to their satisfaction. Less than a quarter, meanwhile, said that they thought that there was enough support offered to them by the medical profession.

Finally, the rosacea sufferers were given a chance to tell us about the psychological impact that their rosacea has had on them. Some of the most interesting responses included the following:

  “As an adult I have built up a much better defence and understanding of rosacea. As a kid it was traumatic to feel like a "weirdo" that goes red. People laughing at you because you look embarrassed. Now I just make a joke out of it and accept it's a permanent part of me. I just have to make sure I have layers of foundation on if I want a day of nobody saying I'm flushed!”  
  “My confidence has been lost, I feel ugly and self-conscious all the time. My skin makes me feel depressed. I don’t not want people to talk to me as they will notice the large bumps and spots on my face. I feel very alone because of rosacea.”  
  “My skin has never been good. I've had acne for as long as I can remember. Rosacea feels like a continuation of my life struggle to achieve clear, blemish-free skin. The scarring due to rosacea is a constant reminder of my daily struggles with this skin condition.”  

Non-Rosacea Sufferers

Around two thirds of those who do not suffer from rosacea reported that they had never heard of the condition before taking the survey. In addition, two thirds said that they were not aware of knowing anyone with rosacea. Interestingly, though, very many of them reported experiencing rosacea-related symptoms despite reporting not having rosacea: three quarters had dry skin, around half had spots, and around a quarter reported experiencing red bumps on the skin, blood vessels becoming visible through the skin, and frequent blushing of the face.

Another interesting result was that over three quarters said that they would go to the doctor if they suspected they might have rosacea – a greater portion than the portion of those who do have rosacea that actually have visited the doctor.

Very many of the rosacea sufferers who responded to the survey took the opportunity at the end of the survey to be notified regarding the launch of the hub, and to be contacted regarding the opportunity to submit stories about their rosacea experiences for publication on talkhealth. A number of these stories have now been published, but you can still submit your stories by emailing us. We are also grateful to the many members who submitted pictures of their rosacea symptoms for our competition. Winners for that competition have now been chosen and sent their £10 Amazon voucher, but if you’re interested in submitting a picture of your own for publication, email us for more information.

If you're interested in a detailed analysis of the results for these surveys please contact us.