ROSACEA ,a long-term skin disease that affects the face. It causes redness, pimples, swelling, and in some people, small dilated blood vessels.Rosacea may flare up for a period of weeks to months and then go away for a while. I have been living with Rosacea for 10 years now and I constantly have good and bad periods. It comes and goes as it pleases but it does follow a pattern I will describe below.
As a teenager I had flawless skin. My school friends used to say my face reminded them of the Virgin Mary because it was almost translucent. Then at 25, I had some itchy pimples and redness in one side of my face that didn’t go away for months until I took antibiotics. A week later, the side of the face affected literally exploded.Whatever was trapped inside my face came out and left a little redness and a little mark . This lasted for approximately one year until it all cleared again. Doctors were clueless as to what I had and I was trusting them a bit too much so when I was given antibiotics to treat the pimples I just took them without thinking twice.The marks left on the left hand side of my face never went away but they were not too noticeable.
At 30, a small redness appeared in my face.It was itchy. I knew this was the beginning of something that needed treatment. Again G.P’s were clueless and instead of admitting they had no idea what I had in my face, they kept prescribing useless creams rather than referring me to a dermatologist. I told them about what had happened five years and ago but as it was a small redness and I was young, they were dismissive. And so the redness grew and grew and the pimples appeared again until one side of my face literally had a whole when I was 32. It did look awful and you could not even hide it with make up.
I travelled to Spain where finally the family doctor admitted: “I don’t know what that is , you must see a dermatologist”. And here my journey with dermatologists started. The only good advice I got was do nothing, there is no cure. Laser will temporarily help but it won’t get rid of it plus you will have a black mark for weeks and must stay away from the sun while recovering. Is it gonna cure it ?No. It will come back. This was the head dermatologists at one of London main hospitals, The Royal Free in Hampstead.
This dermatologist even had me as a case study for the students as I went with loads of photos & videos so I was like a lab rat. I still remember the students looking at my face and pictures in complete awe, finally they were seeing someone who had in her face what they had only seen in textbooks. The dermatologists in Spain told me the same, they also recommended to buy only pharmacy products and all of them paraben and oil free.
This helped as I could see an improvement once I got rid of all those beauty products from the average drug store that are fine for people with good skin but not for someone with a skin condition like Rosacea. Here is what I’ve learned along this long journey;
•Buy only non-comedogenic, paraben and oil free make up and creams.
The good news is that you can hide the rosacea and make your skin look way better if you use the right make-up. Stay away from beauty counters and beauticians selling you expensive products that promise you flawless skin. They are not dermatologists neither skin experts. All those expensive products you can buy at airport counters or at well know retail stores are a waste of money. You need to buy your products from a pharmacy and only oil free, paraben free and non comedogenic creams, serums and make up. Recently everyone was going on about Kielh’s midnight recovery concentrate oil and how good it was for your skin. I bought it and had to give it away as the oil caused an awful flare up. While this product maybe good for people without Rosacea, for us, this product is a no. Even after all the years I still fell for the ” everyone says its great” rather than listening to my own gut and knowledge.
My favourite products in order of preference are ISDIN and La Roche Posay. For make up, I do like the couvrance fluid foundation by Avene. Please note that I’m not being paid for saying this. This is not an ad. I buy these products because they are the only ones that after trying it all, they work and don’t make my skin itchy or worse. ISDIN is not available in the UK but if you go to Spain all pharmacies stock this product. I love their facial SPF 50 fluid moisturiser that I use all summer and winter too. It is light and it absolves onto my skin perfectly unlike the Avene or la Roche one which I’ve tried and didn’t really absorb as well as the ISDIN one. These creams are affordable and they have no nasty chemicals.The ones I buy are all around £20. All dermatologists I’ve seen agreed that expensive creams don’t do anything and many of them do have parabens and oils.La Roche and Avene are now widely available in the UK , before 2010, I still had to bring these creams from Spain as they were not available here.
•Diet: Smoking, red wine, alcohol,spicy foods, sugar and hot drinks do trigger the redness.
I hardly drink alcohol and if I do it is only white wine but only once every two weeks or so. I don’t smoke and have never done but needless to say this is also a big NO. Drinking water, fruits and vegetables is definitely a plus. We control the rosacea first from the inside out. No point in being strict with your beauty routine and what you put in your face if you smoke, drink alcohol and your diet is not right.
•It’s hormonal. During that time of the month rosacea gets really bad.
Two weeks before the period, the flare ups and pimples start appearing and not even make up can hide the skin protuberance . This is the worse two weeks of the month skin wise as it also feels itchy and cheeks are extremely red. La Roche has recently launched a product to tackle itchiness so you avoid scratching. I used to schedule media appearances or even dates according to the week I knew my rosacea was under control. Not anymore. Life is too short to worry about something beyond your control.
•Extreme weather makes it worse
I go through periods of awful redness and pimples to periods of flawless skin.Usually in winter time, particularly in February my skin gets really bad. This is due to the extreme weather in the UK around February time and the fact that the London water is too harsh. Even just washing my face in the morning makes my skin tight and very dry. During my pregnancy, my skin was flawless and rosacea was under control without me doing much. The sun is not great for sufferers of Rosacea but even though I do expose my body to the sun, I always put SPF 50 on the face. The summer is usually a good period for me and the beach seems to do more good than bad.This is me last summer, Rosacea was on remission and the sun gave me a healthy glow. Needless to say, a stress free life and the happiness my baby girl brought me, did help a lot.
•You can control the redness but not the pimples
If you only suffer from redness this is easy to hide and get smooth skin just by applying foundation. The problem is when you get spots, as you can still feel them and see them only that covered in make up.The skin does not look smooth neither flawless but with the right make up, you can still make the best of what you have considering the circumstances.
•Have a beauty routine
Again when im strict, the rosacea gets better. Ideally wash your face with one of the purifying face wash gels from any of the brands above, tonify and moisturise. Try and clean the face without rubbing, I use cotton pads. Micellar waters are also good and again stay away from beauty oils. If you put SPF during the day even if it is the one without colour, you still need to remove it before going to bed.
•Its only Rosacea
If Rosacea gets you down, just remember that by the end of the day, it’s only rosacea and let’s be grateful if this is the only condition we would ever suffer. We all have something that will affect us sooner or later so be glad it is not an illness. You can live with it.Im on a remission period now because it is summer but come October, hello my old friend rosace again. Its fine.