Culturally, having a little color in your cheeks is considered a desirable thing. People, especially women, have been using some form of rouge or blush to tint their cheeks since at least ancient Egypt, and today a compact of the popular Nars Orgasm blush sells every minute.
But for the 16 million Americans who experience rosacea, persistent redness on the cheeks and face is often a source of frustration and embarrassment. Many of them do not even realize that their symptoms are caused by rosacea, because it is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, and informed medical treatment can be hard to find. Learn some important facts about rosacea, and why the medical team at Nurx realized they needed to begin caring for this condition.
Rosacea is under-diagnosed.
In addition to redness, rosacea often includes papules and pustules, red and white bumps that resemble acne. So people (and, sometimes, their medical providers) assume it is acne and attempt to treat it using acne treatments that don’t work and can actually make it worse. Many cleansers and scrubs used for acne can irritate the skin and exacerbate rosacea symptoms.
Although rosacea is associated with white people, BIPOC experience it too and may not receive accurate diagnoses, because the characteristic redness of rosacea is less noticeable on darker skin. Adding to the confusion, it’s quite possible to have both acne and rosacea at once and require treatments that address each without making either worse.
Rosacea gets worse if untreated.
It’s important to receive a rosacea diagnosis and treatment plan before the condition progresses. If rosacea goes untreated the redness becomes more intense and more frequent over time, and visible blood vessels may appear. Eventually skin thickening can occur and, especially in men, the nose may swell and change shape. An eye condition called ocular rosacea may occur, leading to bloodshot, irritated eyes. Rosacea is often diagnosed at later stages in BIPOC when these permanent skin changes have already occurred.
Rosacea has mental health impacts.
People with rosacea report lower self-esteem and self-confidence, and reduced social interactions, and rosacea has been linked with anxiety and depression. Because rosacea can resemble acne people may think it makes them look dirty or unhealthy, and there is a myth that the ruddy cheeks of rosacea are caused by drinking too much (while alcohol can be a trigger for rosacea flare-ups in some people, rosacea is not a sign of alcoholism). Luckily, these mental health impacts aren’t permanent. A survey of 800 rosacea patients by the National Rosacea Society found that 83% of those who had achieved clear or almost clear skin said their psychological well-being had improved, 73% said it had also improved their social lives, and 63% reported improvement in their well-being at work.
Good care can be hard to get.
So for both medical and psychological reasons, it’s crucial that people with rosacea receive high-quality care — but that’s not always easy. The U.S. is experiencing a shortage of dermatologists, and growing demand for dermatological care as the population ages. Dermatologists tend to be concentrated in urban and wealthier areas, so many rural or lower-income areas are “dermatology deserts,” places where there is not enough dermatological care to meet demand. Even when patients can get an appointment with a dermatologist, the price may put it out of reach because insurance plans don’t always cover dermatology and paying out-of-pocket can be prohibitively expensive.
Nurx patients need rosacea treatment.
Once Nurx began treating acne in March our medical team saw that a significant number of patients seeking acne treatment also had rosacea, and in some cases only had rosacea that they thought was acne. Our medical team felt strongly that Nurx should offer rosacea care.
How Rosacea Treatment with Nurx Works
To request rosacea treatment with Nurx, answer a few questions about your health history and share a few photos of your skin in our secure website or app. A Nurx medical provider will assess and get in touch with any questions and a treatment plan.
Unsure if you have rosacea? Your Nurx medical provider can diagnose. Do you know you have rosacea and want to try a new treatment plan, or stick with treatments you’ve used in the past? Just let us now that too. If your rosacea is advanced, with noticeable skin thickening, the medical team will let you know that you would be better treated with in-person care. They also cannot treat rosacea of the eyes.
Your Nurx medical provider will prescribe topical treatments such as metronidazole cream or gel, azeleic acid gel or sodium sulfacetamide wash, though your specific medications and strengths will depend on your personal needs. They may also prescribe oral antibiotics to get rosacea inflammation under control. You’ll also receive advice on identifying and avoiding rosacea triggers. Although it varies from person to person, some common rosacea triggers are heat and sunlight, stress, alcohol and spicy foods.
Rosacea is a chronic condition, but with the right treatment and lifestyle management the symptoms can be kept under control and rosacea can be stopped from progressing. If you have rosacea or suspect you do, the Nurx medical team is here for you.
This blog provides information about telemedicine, health and related subjects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be construed as a substitute for, medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or person with a medical concern should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx™.