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June 16, 2014

Latest psychological research reveals rosacea redness creates negative first impressions putting sufferers at a disadvantage
Act on Red launches to support sufferers and raise awareness of rosacea symptoms
Rosacea remains under-diagnosed, yet diagnosis is a critical first step to better symptom control

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 16 2014 - Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon today spoke out about her experience of rosacea in support of ‘Act on Red’, a new global disease awareness programme urging fellow sufferers to seek help for their condition. The awareness programme, supported by leading dermatologists, launched today alongside new research data from the Face Values: Global Perceptions Survey. 

The survey shows how the lives of people with facial redness associated with rosacea are affected by the condition, as well as how other people perceive them. Results show:

  • Facial redness affects sufferers emotionally (77%), socially (67%), at work (63%) and in their relationships/dating behaviour (53%). 
  • Nearly two thirds (62%) of people with facial redness agree it embarrasses them, with 56% indicating that flare-ups cause most embarrassment when they had a business meeting,  presentation or job interview.

Nearly half (46%) of all people with facial redness associated with rosacea believe their redness changes others’ perceptions of them and the survey findings confirmed their fears - overall, first impressions were more negative for faces with redness. As perhaps it might be expected, the physical attributes of facial redness were directly linked to sufferers being more likely to be perceived as sick, tired, unhealthy, and stressed. 

However, respondents also formed judgements about sufferers’ personalities. Those with facial redness were less frequently perceived as intelligent, reliable, successful and trustworthy compared to people without redness.  They were also judged less likely to be in a relationship, less likely to be in a professional job and less likely to be hired for work.  These results align with psychological studies that show that a single glance of a face is enough for people to make automatic judgements, including an array of social assumptions about their personality and other traits.1

Facial redness is a common and persistent symptom of rosacea, a treatable skin condition known to affect around 40 million people worldwide2. Sufferers have a characteristic pattern of persistent redness with intermittent flushing on the forehead, chin, cheeks and lower half of the nose, often accompanied by a burning or stinging sensation, and started or exacerbated by particular triggers. 

Cynthia Nixon was in her 30’s when she first experienced facial redness and rosacea symptoms that were often triggered by spicy foods, red wine and hot baths. Several years later she was eventually diagnosed with rosacea after a visit to her dermatologist for an unrelated matter. Lending her personal support to Act on Red, Cynthia commented: “We all want to make a good first impression and, not surprisingly, skin appearance can play a key part in how you feel and how others perceive you”. Reflecting on her own experience she continues: “My facial redness used to affect my confidence on set and at big social occasions and I struggled to manage what I thought was a recurrence of acne, like I had when I was a teenager. So it was a relief when my dermatologist told me I had rosacea as it has transformed the way I can manage my symptoms and better understand my triggers. Rosacea might always be on your mind but it doesn’t have to be on your face. Programmes, such as Act on Red, are important to help people recognise their symptoms and get the professional help they need.” 

The Face Values survey also showed that diagnosed rosacea sufferers are twice as likely (39% vs. 20%) to have their symptoms under control, yet under-diagnosis remains a significant barrier with approximately only one in ten sufferers receiving a formal diagnosis from a doctor or dermatologist.3

Commenting on the results, Professor Dr. Thomas Dirschka, Head of CentroDerm-Clinic Wuppertal, Germany said, “As the redness associated with rosacea is predominantly in the facial region, it affects the physical appearance of a sufferer and is instantly visible to the world at large. Not only is it a physical barrier but facial redness can also become a worry and an embarrassment for sufferers. We hope that those affected by facial redness won’t feel disheartened by the results of this survey but reassured that they are not alone and help is available.” Reflecting on the impact on sufferers’ daily lives he continued: “Facial redness doesn’t have to hold you back and it’s not something you have to put up with. Treatments are constantly advancing and the results from the survey highlight the importance of seeking advice and getting your symptoms under control.

For all media enquiries, please contact:
Karin Falck 
Corporate Communications, Galderma 
Tel: + 41 797 226 075

Notes to Editors

About the Face Values: Global Perceptions Survey
The global research was conducted by Bryter, an independent market research consultancy. The fieldwork was conducted online, between 31 October and 18 November 2013 in Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Sweden and the UK. 6,831 adults aged between 25 and 64 years took part; 800 respondents reported being affected by facial redness associated with rosacea. Quotas were set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of each audience. The survey was funded by Galderma S.A.

The Emotix© test, developed by Innovation Bubble’s behavioural psychologists, and based on the Implicit Association Test, was used to expose respondents’ subconscious emotions and reduce bias. Respondents were shown photographs of faces randomly, with and without facial redness, and were asked if they associated certain words with each image. 

About Act on Red
Act on Red, supported by Galderma S.A., is a global programme providing information and educational resources on facial redness associated with rosacea.

Research has highlighted that many people affected by facial redness have tried different treatments and remedies without success.4 Combined with a lack of information about their condition, as well as the lack of patient advocacy groups, many people are confused and frustrated about their options and sources of help. The Act on Red programme was therefore developed to address this need by delivering high quality information and resources to people affected by the condition and who may have previously struggled to get the help they need. 

Act on Red programme websites currently available include:

About Galderma
Galderma is a global company founded in 1981 committed to delivering innovative medical solutions to meet the dermatological needs of people throughout their lifetime while serving healthcare professionals around the world. The company has 34 wholly-owned affiliates and a worldwide network of distributors, more than 5,000 employees and an extensive product portfolio available in 70 countries.

With approximately 19% of revenues invested each year to discover and develop new products and access innovative technologies, the company is one of the world’s leading investors in dermatology R&D. Five state-of-the-art R&D centers and five manufacturing sites are dedicated to providing a wide range of innovative medical solutions which meet the highest standards of safety and efficacy.

For more information, please visit 


1. Mende-Siedlecki P et al. The social evaluation of faces: a meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging studies. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci (2012) doi:10.1093/scan/nsr090.
2. Shanler S, Ondo A. Successful treatment of the erythema and flushing of rosacea using a topically applied selective a1 adrenergic receptor agonist, oxymetazoline [abstract taken from J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008;58(2):AB9]. Presented at: American Academy of Dermatology 66th Annual Meeting; February 1-5, 2008; San Antonio, TX.
3. Data on file. Galderma S.A. Face Values: Global Perceptions Survey. 2013.
4. Data on file. Galderma Market Research.


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