Rosacea Awareness Month to Highlight Importance of Skincare

While rosacea sufferers enjoy a wider range of therapeutic options than ever before, without proper skincare they may not get the most out of treatment, dermatologists warn. The National Rosacea Society (NRS) has designated April as Rosacea Awareness Month to educate the public on this chronic facial skin disorder estimated to affect more than 16 million Americans, and to urge those who suspect they may have it to see a dermatologist for diagnosis, treatment and guidance on gentle skincare. “Skincare and cosmetics are an often underappreciated but important element in rosacea therapy,” says Dr. Hilary Baldwin, associate professor of dermatology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and a member of the NRS medical advisory board. “The use of gentle cleansers, moisturizers that help repair the skin moisture barrier, and sunscreens that protect against rosacea flare-ups can work to support and even augment medical therapy for the disease.”

The most common individual sign of rosacea is persistent redness on the central part of face — the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin. The redness may be accompanied by itching, burning or stinging, and sufferers may also experience bumps and pimples or develop tiny visible blood vessels on their skin. Prior to diagnosis, many rosacea sufferers may turn to skin care products and cosmetics as a way to treat or cover up these signs and symptoms, mistaking them for a sunburn or acne. However, harsh cleansers, acne medications and even bar soap may make matters worse by irritating or drying out the skin and damaging the moisture barrier. Prolonged use of topical whitening or lightening creams may lead to a painful and disruptive condition known as steroid-induced rosacea. Meanwhile, even many gentle skin care and cosmetic products may contain ingredients that could cause a rosacea flare-up. “The use of skin care products and cosmetics can help minimize the appearance and effects of rosacea, but poorly selected products may make it worse,” says Baldwin. “Fortunately, there are many products today that are formulated to be suitable to sensitive, rosacea-prone skin, without ingredients that may cause flare-ups. These may be used in combination with prescription therapies and procedures that more directly address the signs and symptoms of the disease.”

During Rosacea Awareness Month and throughout the year, the NRS will conduct public education activities to reach the many millions of rosacea sufferers who may not realize they have a medical condition that can be treated, emphasizing the warning signs and urging those who suspect they may have rosacea to see a dermatologist.