Rosacea can be an uncomfortable condition, but how seriously does it affect your health? We take a closer look at how rosacea manifests.
How serious is rosacea? It’s a complicated question, but the simple - if unsatisfying! - answer is that it depends! It depends on how severe your own particular case of rosacea is, and how well you’re able to manage it.
To start with, it’s important to realise that rosacea is serious in that it’s a debilitating and often under-diagnosed chronic condition that can have a severe effect on people’s daily lives. It’s not just blushing or having rosy cheeks: rosacea can be painful, distressing and undermine self-confidence, making life extremely challenging for sufferers.
However, rosacea is unlikely to cause long term disability or further health issues, despite being a disorder characterised by inflammation. Its main effect is on the skin, and, as a consequence, on sufferers’ mental health.
Although in very mild cases, rosacea can be seen as sensitive skin that is quick to flush, its more serious iterations can be very painful, with skin getting hot, sore and swollen. In the most severe cases, skin can become permanently thickened, inflamed, and disfigured, especially the rhinophyma that can affect the nose, causing it to become bulbous and large. Rhinophyma, although rare, particularly affects older men, and can be mitigated with early treatment and a good management plan.
Serious physical symptoms of rosacea
- Permanently visible spider veins
- Permanent redness or flushing
- Thickened skin
- Burning, stinging or otherwise painful skin on the face
- Frequent or long-term pustules (with papulopustular rosacea)
The psychological factor
Rosacea doesn’t just affect the physical body, though; it can have a profound effect on sufferers’ mental health.
Most obviously, rosacea by its very nature is a condition that is extremely obvious to friends, family, strangers and co-workers. Sufferers can feel self-conscious, distressed about their appearance, or inhibited by their hot, flushed faces. It can be hard to hear advice from well-meaning but often ignorant people, and to hear the same advice over and over again. It can make living with rosacea very challenging, leading to people avoiding crowds or social occasions, especially during a bad flare.
The other factor in how rosacea affects mental health is the constant stress of managing triggers, which include things that are extremely hard to avoid in daily life. Rosacea can flare in response to food, drink, the weather, indoor environments as well as emotional situations, and of course the stress involved in trying to manage or mitigate those things can itself be a contributing factor in a flare.
Living with rosacea can mean being intensely aware of how exercise could affect your skin, having to pass on curry with friends, worrying about being out in the sunshine or going on holiday, feeling upset at the thought of having to give a presentation, or spending hundreds of pounds on yet more skincare that you hope won't cause your skin to burn.
A serious though treatable condition
In conclusion, rosacea is a serious condition, and the challenges involved in managing it shouldn’t be underplayed. However, it can be managed, and it is unlikely to go on to affect your overall health outside of those two key areas: the skin of the face and the associated mental health problems.
For more information about managing rosacea, see our article How Do You Clear Up Rosacea?
Balmonds have four different emollients that are particularly suitable for rosacea and which you can use in combination to keep your face well-nourished and well-hydrated, plus a non-irritant natural shampoo and body wash.
Balmonds Intensive Facial Oil with rosehip, palmarosa & chamomile (£22 for 30ml): great for night-time use
Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream with shea butter, hemp & calendula (from £13.99 for 100ml): a great neutral unscented moisturiser for daily hydration
Balmonds Cooling Cream with lavender, aloe & menthol (£19 for 100ml): for calming flushed skin
Skin Salvation balm with beeswax, hemp & chamomile (from £7.99 for 30ml): for intensive hydration
Balmonds Natural Shampoo & Body Wash with nettle & chamomile (£19 for 200ml): good as a shower gel or & facial wash for super sensitive skin
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.