Dealing with Skin Conditions: Rosacea

Yep... every time I look in the mirror. And I’ve discovered like me, there's a lot of people, including ‘famous people’ who suffer with Rosacea, just Google it and you’ll be surprised who's on that list. Rosacea is a skin condition which has been described as ‘adult acne’, not only that it's also a relapsing condition, so when you've thought you've conquered it, it's back again. Little is actually known about it, but I’ve had it for about 15 years now.

My skin is permanently flushed around the area closest to my nose and on to my cheeks, when I first got it, I only had occasional breakouts, the biggest mistake I made was leaving it for about a year, before seeing the doctor. I just thought it would clear up and go away, thinking it was just an acne problem, by the time I went for treatment it was pretty well established.

It's strange to have a condition and to be honest very little is known about it, I’ve always just said to people that I’ve got Rosacea and left it at that; dealing with it, when it flares up and using make-up to cover it up when I go to work or go out, but over the last 10 days, I’ve probably had the worse bout that I can remember, appearing on the right side of my face, with skin that's been flakey, sore, raised and lumpy, with 'acne' looking spots. The fact that it's come up on mainly the right side of my face, between my eyebrows and nose and on the right of my face made it worse, because it's never been that bad before there. I've also noticed over the last couple of months, that my chin has been really prone to spots and become more Rosacea looking. It's this that's made me think about investigating and finding out a little more about the condition and to see if I can find some products that could help alleviate the condition and see what changes, if any I can make to my life style.

Since starting my research, I have to say that I really consider myself to be lucky, because there's some serious cases out there and the dramatic affect it must have on peoples' lives; my Rosacea compared to others isn't that bad.

After my diagnosis, I was prescribed all sorts of creams and washes to see which would work and alleviate my presentation, but to be truthful, none of these actually worked. It was then that I went on to long term antibiotics and generally speaking they did the job, but I took myself off of them. In 2016 I took part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, I’d forgotten to pre-order antibiotics to take with me, which in total amounted to about 9 weeks. What I noticed while I was away and particularly when we were at sea was the Rosacea actually cleared up, my skin looked healthy and you would have never guessed that I suffered from the condition; which made me think, why was I taking the antibiotics. My symptoms had disappeared, but what had been taken out of my life for it to clear up? So when I came back from the Race I didn't get my repeat prescriptions, but all of a sudden it's flaring up again. There’s all sorts of conjecture about the causes of Rosacea, it's generally unknown, but the agreement amongst medical professionals is that possible contributing factors could and do include:

  • exposure to sunlight

  • stress

  • hot or cold weather

  • strong winds

  • strenuous exercise

  • alcohol

  • hot baths

  • spicy foods

  • hot drinks

  • humidity

  • caffeine – found in tea, coffee and cola

  • dairy products

  • menopause

  • other medical conditions

Source: NHS:

Looking at the list makes me think I'm really screwed, but I don't necessarily agree with everything on the list. If you think about it, I was at sea continuously for over 3 weeks; which if you look at the list above rules out quite a few of the factors that can cause the condition to worsen; we ate well on the yacht, we still packed in the sugar; I was exposed to hot and cold weather and of course the exposure to sun; the race was strenuous and we worked hard. So can I rule out those factors? I think in my case stress and is central to my problem.

What I think should be added to the list (possibly) are environmental factors, such as pollution. If I look at the list and think about the things that I didn’t have, it was alcohol and caffeine during the the time at sea I only drank water and that was converted from sea to drinking water, but on land I did go back to caffeine and alcohol, what's a sailor to do!! Although an avid tea drinker I've started to drink coffee again and about 3 cups a day, whether this is enough to trigger my symptoms of Rosacea, I don’t know, but this coincided with the worst bout that I’ve had, I was getting dry, rough, and itchy skin, and almost acne looking, with raised pores and spots with a bumpy texture to my skin. Another factor which I think affects my Rosacea is stress, over the past couple of weeks I have been under more stress than normal, coming from all directions of my life. I’m now on my Easter holiday, other things have calmed down and my Rosacea seems to have 'dried up' and improved. Research carried out has indicated that these external factors lead to the activation of certain molecules within the skin called peptides. Increased levels of these peptides may affect the immune system and or nerves and blood vessels causing the redness to appear.

The Psychological Effect

How does it affect people, well seemingly it does have a psychological effect on people and I did notice with myself, that I was far more conscious about my Rosacea when it was particularly bad. At weekends, unless I'm out, I won't put make up on and this is when I can see people, for instance the checkout lady, (never a man) look at my skin and then I become a little self conscious about it. I would never go out on a social occasion without make up because it can be really prominent. If I were my younger self, I would be a lot more conscious about it, a bit like when I'd look at girls with flawless skin, when I had freckles. I think the one consolation is that being a woman, at least I can put foundation and make up on to hide it, unlike men who just have to get on with it and hope that it calms down within a short period of time. Although from America this piece of research gives an indication of the psychological toll that it does take on people, something really that I'd not considered.

“In a survey conducted by the National Rosacea Society, more than 90 percent of Rosacea patients reported that their condition had lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem, while 41 percent indicated that it had caused them to avoid public contact or even cancel social plans. Among Rosacea patients with severe symptoms, 88 percent noted that the problem damaged their professional interactions”.


Lotions and Potions and Treatments

I'm now on a quest now to try and sort out and improve the overall appearance of my Rosacea, I have thought about going back to the doctors, but what’s the point, I’ll just get put back on the antibiotics, which although helps the presentation it's not a great long term solution, what I want is a more natural way of controlling and improving it. I recently read in the newspaper about a product called, Child’s Farm moisturiser, used on a baby who suffered from eczema, improvements were made within a month and it cleared up. With this in mind, I wondered if it could improve my Rosacea. If this doesn't work I'm going to try some other suggestions that have been given fellow sufferers, one is to use rose hip oil and tea tree oil, this showed a marked improvement on one lady's skin, to the point where the Rosacea disappeared. Also Aloe Vera has been suggested as a really good product. Away from creams and lotions, other suggestions have been to look at light therapy facials and laser therapy too. After seeing whether the Child's Farm works I'm going to try some other suggestions, one including Tea Tree oil, another being Aloe Vera and the treatments too, all of which have had great results on the ladies that have used them. Check out in the future to see how things go.

You can also get this product in Boots and Asda.

That product in the end didn't work for me, but I thought it was worth a shot. So after having another bad bout of Rosacea, I decided to speak to the pharmacist if she knew of any products that were worth giving a try, she suggested using Dermalex. This is a great product which helps to reduce redness, the thread veins and so far so good for me. I almost saw an overnight change in my skin, but it wasn't to last and I've now stopped using that and at £14, I'm quite happy to walk away from it.

Has Aldi's Dupe Stopped My Rosacea in it's Tracks?!

Unbelievably, I think I may have found a product and it comes from Aldi of all places. I bought it because I was doing a feature about Aldi'dupe of Pixi's Glow Tonic, it seems however I may have found a product that has a dramatic improvement on my skin. I've only been using it for 5 days and my Rosacea has almost disappeared!! My skin feels dramatically better and it's the best it's looked in years.

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