Researchers have found that rosacea, a common facial skin condition, can be as burdensome on patients’ everyday lives and mental health as psoriasis of the face, a skin condition known to have serious impacts, according to a new global report.

The study, Beyond the Visible – Rosacea and Psoriasis of the Face, explores and compares the hidden effects of both of these facial skin conditions on patients, looking at work and social life as well as emotional health.

Some 600 patients with rosacea and psoriasis, all of whom reported the disease had at least a moderate level of impact on their daily lives, took part in the study. More than 300 doctors were also surveyed. The study group was drawn from six countries – Canada, USA, France, Germany and Poland. Independent, international experts undertook the report for global dermatology company, Galderma.

According to Dr. Jerry Tan, a study author, Windsor dermatologist and Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Ontario: “We undertook this research to better understand the burden faced by patients with visible facial skin diseases.

“Beyond the visible signs, both groups also suffer many invisible effects such as depression, feelings of shame and low self esteem that can often be physically stressful. It’s important to see the full impact on people in order to offer the best help.”

impact rosacea psoriasis face“What has been a surprise is that the impact of rosacea on everyday life and mental health is right up there with impacts felt by patients with psoriasis of the face.

“For rosacea patients, it’s important to know we’re acknowledging that the burden of this condition on your life can be serious. There are real and often distressing effects.

Patients also have a role to play, he added. “Your voice needs to be heard. Help us by telling your doctor everything you are experiencing, especially the symptoms they cannot see.”

Findings from both patient groups:

·         Over half of patients self-reported moderate to severe depression (49% in the rosacea group, 54% in the psoriasis of the face group).

·         More than a third said they suffered from moderate to severe anxiety (34% rosacea, 43% psoriasis of the face).

·         About 70% said what bothered them most was that other people might notice their facial skin disease.

·         1 in 2 said their facial skin condition significantly impacted their daily lives.

·         Some 40% of patients revealed their disease impaired their work activities.

·         More than half of patients reported feeling ashamed of their facial skin condition

·         Rosacea patients were more likely to blame themselves for flareups (28% vs 20% for those with psoriasis of the face), experience low self-esteem (34% vs 20%) and low self-confidence (30% vs 18%)

Dr. Tan added that the report also provided insights into how both groups of patients are managed by doctors. He urged doctors to ask important questions about the psychosocial effects of these skin conditions since both can negatively impact personal and work life.

“We would also advise finding out about any of the unseen symptoms – itching, stinging or burning – since these can cause a lot of distress to patients,” he added.

Findings from doctors:

·         When assessing new patients with rosacea or psoriasis of the face, many doctors said they did not explore impacts on everyday life and mental health. Only 9% of doctors seeing rosacea patients mentioned asking about these topics while 22% of those seeing patients with psoriasis of the face enquired about the everyday impact of the condition.

·         Although non-visible sensations such as burning and stinging can be a significant problem for rosacea sufferers, only 27% of doctors asked about these symptoms.

·         Similarly, itching can be a major factor for those with psoriasis of the face. Some 40% of doctors asked about this symptom.

The survey also showed that regardless of the disease – rosacea or psoriasis of the face – 90% of patients felt their condition was partially controlled or completely uncontrolled. However, 40% of rosacea patients and 35% of patients with psoriasis of the face understood that getting major improvement is possible.

Both patient groups were open to finding out more about their conditions leading the authors to ask doctors to help by increasing understanding and education about these conditions.