Rosacea and a Princess

Howard Baker, RN BSN
Howard Baker, RN BSN

A few weeks ago, a nurse at work was experiencing a flare-up of rosacea. For the first time I saw firsthand not only the physical pain—but the mental anguish and frustration she was experiencing from the lack of an effective and coherent plan of care to treat this common skin disease. My friend had been treated by several dermatologists using several treatment options all with varied success. She tried prescription medications, and changes in diet both with dismal results.

Rosacea is a common skin disease often beginning with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than others. Rosacea can cause more than redness and because of the number of signs and symptoms of rosacea they have broken it into four sub types.

1.) Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: Redness, flushing, and visible broken blood vessels (spider veins), swollen skin, skin may be very sensitive and may sting and burn, dry skin with roughness or scaling
2.) Papulopustular rosacea: Redness, swelling, and acne-like breakouts usually where the skin is very red and they tend to come and go, oily skin, spider veins, skin may be very sensitive and may sting and burn, raised patches of skin called plaques
3.) Phymatous rosacea: Skin thickening with a bumpy texture especially common on the nose but can also thicken on the forehead, ears, cheeks, and chin, pores look large, and oily skin
4.) Ocular rosacea: Irritated and red eyes often looking watery or bloodshot, gritty feeling like sand in the eyes, eyes burn and sting with itching and dryness, can be sensitive to light, blurry vision, eyelids can become swollen and may look like they have a sty.

Beyond the physical symptoms there are mental aspects of the disease also affecting a person’s quality of life. In a survey conducted by the National Rosacea Society, 41% said their rosacea caused them to avoid public contact or cancel social engagements. Many worry their rosacea will get worse and about possible side effects of the medicine they use to treat the disease. Obviously, the feelings of frustration and embarrassment can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety and depression, which can lead to missed days of work. In the same survey nearly 30% said rosacea had caused them to miss work.

However, there are treatment options and those who seek treatment are more likely to experience an improved quality of life than those who don’t. Treatment includes: Medicine applied to the rosacea, sunscreen (applied daily may help prevent flare-ups), an emollient to help repair the skin, lasers and other light treatments, and antibiotics (topical or oral). The most important thing to remember you have treatment options and seeking treatment will empower you with knowledge and this power alone will improve your self-esteem and your life.

Rosacea and a princess, if you are suffering with rosacea you are not alone as Diana, Princess of Wales also suffered with the disease. Prince Charles suffers and Princess Diana suffered with rosacea as well as their son Prince Harry. Highlighting the risk factor of a family history and having light-colored skin. Remember to reduce your risk by not smoking, applying sunscreen daily, keeping stress in balance, and avoiding alcohol. And if you suffer with rosacea, remember—you are in the company of a princess.
For questions, comments, or suggestions on topics you want to read about please email me at: [email protected]

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