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Blushing in rosacea sufferers

Drummond, P.D.ORCID: 0000-0002-3711-8737 and Su, D. (2012) Blushing in rosacea sufferers. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 72 (2). pp. 153-158.

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Objective: Rosacea is characterized by extremely sensitive skin and persistent facial flushing, perhaps initiated or exacerbated by frequent or intense blushing. To investigate this, blushing was assessed in rosacea sufferers and controls during embarrassing laboratory tasks.

Methods: Changes in forehead blood flow were monitored with laser Doppler fluxmetry in 31 rosacea sufferers (12 with severe symptoms and 19 with mild symptoms) and 86 controls while singing, giving an impromptu speech, and listening to recordings of these activities.

Results: Changes in forehead blood flow were similar in rosacea sufferers and controls, and were similar in subgroups with mild and severe rosacea. Even so, rosacea sufferers thought that that they blushed more intensely and were more embarrassed than controls during most of the tasks. Likewise, changes in forehead blood flow were similar in participants with mild and severe rosacea. Nevertheless, ratings of embarrassment and blushing were greater in those with severe than mild symptoms. Within the rosacea group, increases in blood flow while singing were greatest in participants with the highest blushing ratings, whereas increases in blood flow while listening to the speech were greatest in the most embarrassed participants.

Conclusions: These findings do not support the hypothesis that blushing is abnormal in rosacea but, nevertheless, suggest that rosacea sufferers are more aware of and embarrassed by blushing than controls. This might contribute to social anxiety in rosacea sufferers.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2011 Elsevier Inc
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