Last Updated on 31st October 2018
Among the world’s population, more than 415 million people live with a skin disorder, known as rosacea. Characterised by redness, dryness, and irritation of facial skin, rosacea is a highly prevalent condition that can have a devastating impact on those who live with it every day. As a skin disorder with no cure and no singular diagnostic test to identify its presence, getting the right help for rosacea can be a challenge, especially among women, even though women over age 30 are three times as likely to be diagnosed with rosacea than men. It is important to understand how rosacea differs among men and women, the need for a proper, timely diagnosis, and the treatment options available as there is currently no cure.
Warning Signs and Triggers Among Men and Women
Several symptoms are caused by rosacea, similar among both men and women. The most common warning signs of the skin condition include the following, although severity and frequency vary greatly:
- Bumps and pimples
- Facial redness
- Irritation of the skin
- Dryness or itchiness
- Skin thickening around the nose or cheeks
- Irritation of the eyes
- Visible blood vessels on the face
There is no clear cause of rosacea among adult men or women, but many individuals may be more prone to developing it as they age. Those who are fair-skinned, with blonde hair and blue eyes, are more likely to be diagnosed with rosacea after age 30, as are those who have a family history of the condition. Adults who have acne may also be more commonly diagnosed with rosacea. However, women have a greater chance of developing rosacea than men, although the symptoms they experience may be less severe.
In addition to a difference in the severity of symptoms, women may experience rosacea flare-ups due to hormonal triggers. During menstruation or menopause, women are more likely to see redness or other symptoms of flare-ups from rosacea than during other times of their lives.
Getting the Right Diagnosis
Among men and women alike, misdiagnosis is an issue when it comes to the skin disorder. A group of experts in medical negligence cases in the UK explains that an incorrect diagnosis of another condition may be more common than most think. This is because many disorders of the skin mimic rosacea symptoms, including adult acne, psoriasis, eczema, and even lupus. Because each condition has a different underlying cause, the treatment plan differs. Without the right diagnosis of rosacea or another skin disorder, individuals may suffer unnecessarily due to ineffective treatment for the wrong condition.
The prevalence of misdiagnosis is not different between men and women, but the long-lasting impact can be more devastating to female patients. This is due to the greater degree of embarrassment women may feel when dealing with a noticeable skin disorder. The redness and skin irritation may make them less likely to live their life the way they want to, reducing social interactions and even taking time away from work. A recent study shows that nearly 90% of patients with rosacea experience a lowered confidence level in their everyday life, as well as more reluctance to interact with others outside of their home. With the unrealistic beauty standards faced by women already, adding a skin condition that is left untreated due to misdiagnosis makes life more challenging.
Options for Treatment
Fortunately, getting the right diagnosis of rosacea can lead to a successful treatment plan that helps men or women effectively manage symptoms over time. There is no cure for the condition, but there are medications and therapies available to help. In some cases, topical or oral prescriptions work to reduce the underlying inflammation and redness. For others, therapies that involve changes in lifestyle, like reducing alcohol intake, quitting smoking, and eliminating stressors, can be incredibly beneficial in minimising rosacea symptoms.
Both men and women can take steps to better their quality of life by understanding what rosacea is – and what it isn’t – and the symptoms that should prompt a visit with their doctor. When the correct diagnosis of rosacea is provided, ample treatment options exist. These plans for care offer a path for improved confidence and self-esteem among both men and women alike.