As we age, there are several different types of skin conditions that can arise, seemingly out of nowhere. One of the more common disorders of the skin is known as rosacea, an inflammatory condition that causes noticeable redness, irritation, or bumps on the face. Both men and women experience rosacea, more commonly after age 30, but research suggests that over the more than 400 million adults with the condition, women make up a higher number of patients.
Although the symptoms of rosacea are similar among men and women, as is the diagnostic process, there are differences between genders when it comes to the skin condition and its impact on quality of life.
Differences Between Men and Women with Rosacea
Currently, there is no singular cause of rosacea among male or female patients, but there are distinct warning signs that should prompt a visit to the doctor. Among men and women alike, rosacea may lead to the following symptoms:
- Facial redness – redness of the face may be persistent, focused on the central part of the cheeks and nose. There may also be small blood vessels that appear just beneath the skin when rosacea is present.
- Swollen bumps or pimples – most adults who have rosacea experience acne-like symptoms that result in blemishes and bumps that can contain pus. The skin may feel hot or tender around these areas.
- Eye irritation – rosacea may also cause dryness or irritation, or swollen, red eyes among men or women.
What differs among rosacea patients based on gender is the experience each may have with the condition. Men are more likely to have severe symptoms that are persistent for an extended period of time, including visible blood vessels, skin thickening around the nose and cheeks, and redness. While women have similar symptoms, their flare-ups may be less frequent and less severe.
However, when a flare-up of rosacea does occur, women may notice a correlation between menopause or menstruation. There is no significant research that directly links hormonal changes with experiencing rosacea among women, but these shifts in the body during these times can trigger a flare-up.
No test exists to determine if an individual, male or female, has rosacea, and so the diagnostic process can be complex for some patients. According to a group of medical negligence experts in the UK, misdiagnosis of rosacea is fairly common. This is because the warning signs of the skin condition can be easily mistaken for a different underlying issue. Prevalent skin disorders, including dermatitis, psoriasis, and adult acne may present similarly to rosacea, although the treatment plans are different for each condition. Some patients may also be given an incorrect diagnosis of a more serious condition, such as lupus, which also causes a redness on the face. When rosacea is misdiagnosed as another condition, women may suffer more severely than men.
Men and women do not have to live up to the same standards of beauty or graceful aging, and having a skin condition that noticeably impacts the look of the face can be more devastating for women. Recent survey results show that an estimated 90% of adults with rosacea feel as though their level of confidence has suffered because of the condition along with reduced self-esteem. Another half of survey respondents shared that they are unable to continue working or interacting socially with friends and family because of the skin disorder. When women face these issues, they are likely to become more withdrawn, with greater emotional challenges than their male counterparts.
Without proper diagnosis, rosacea among women can be a debilitating condition. Fortunately, once the right diagnosis is provided, treatment options abound. Some individuals respond more favourably to medications, either oral or topical, that help with the underlying issues of rosacea. Prescriptions can lead to reduced inflammation, blemishes, and redness that cause rosacea patients to feel less than confident. Additionally, focusing on eliminating flare-up triggers, such as too much sunlight, excessive drinking or smoking, or high-stress environments can lend a necessary hand in minimising rosacea symptoms.
Women who have rosacea should pursue the best treatment option for them, following the guidance of their doctor or dermatologist. In following a treatment plan that effectively reduces symptoms like redness, bumps, and irritation, women can conquer their rosacea and ultimately, improve their confidence and quality of life.