Rosacea & Me - Diagnosis Day


I got lucky. Very lucky. To say that I was in the right place at the right time is an understatement.

After years of just plodding along, avoiding mirrors, cameras, large social situations and not being in my graduation photo. I landed a Job as a PR Assistant with a UK based Dermatologist.

It was 2 or 3 months after I started when Dr Lowe’s wife came into the PR office midway through the afternoon, on a particularly busy day, when my meticulous make-up routine had gone awry, when it was spotted. The huge red nose and patchy make-up revealing red patches underneath.

I can still picture my response, of “oh” and just mumbling because I didn’t have an explanation, when she asked what was wrong with my skin. I was then asked to speak to one of the nurses, so a day or so later, I was having a consultation, bare faced, heart racing. No one had seen me make-up free since 2009, and if they did, I was caught of guard and no doubt would assume I was an alcoholic, or sick.

For the whole consultation I can’t remember even breathing.

I went under the horrific Visia machine, which isn’t horrific it just reveals all sins, those holidays I wondered about without sun cream (the master of all sins, just dont do it.), my wrinkle percentage, redness percentage and sun damage. Redness was at 83%. Not all of this was visible to the naked eye, but there it was just sitting, waiting, for a moment to appear.

After the consultation, I’ve never felt so relieved in all my life. Finally having an answer and knowing that there was something that could be done about it. It’s not curable, but I can control it (mostly).
I was put on a course of Doxycycline, Rosex and then a course of IPL treatments. This combination worked for me. I had it under control. Obviously, I still had flare ups, they are inevitable, they happen when we’re sick, or stressed, or hungover. Gone were the nights of the Indian take away and the bottle of wine. It took a few months but I was bouncing around, like It was 2008.

The day of diagnosis was the beginning of a life long journey, I still struggle with acceptance. Despite their being no known cure, or even a definitive cause for Rosacea,  from the day I had an answer, I had a means of defence.

Learning your triggers is a big part of coping, so for the first few months after diagnosis I spent time 
experimenting on what my triggers were. Like finding how far I could push myself in the gym without causing a flare up.

I love the gym, I love the steam room and sauna just as much and learning how much my skin can take is a big task. Being red after a session is normal, and it can take a few hours to go down so I schedule my work outs in the evening and only steam or sauna every fortnight. A steam can draw out impurities and I find it helpful, especially when I’m feeling a little over worked, or cold or flu like it tends to clear it right up. It can also cause a flare up, which lasts a few days.

Sugar / caffeine and alcohol.
I label this stuff the “fun stuff” Who doesn’t like a biscuit with their tea or a fizzy drink mixer in their alcohol. This is pretty much a no go for me, but that’s not to say I cut it out completely. I just have to manage the fall out when I do. It’s so hard to tell yourself to stop when your so tired your eyes might fall out, and a caramel latte would just make your day, do you let yourself have one, and deal with the consequences, or do you not and just learn to carry on tired?

Coffee is a treat for me, and I only have a small one, and it’s mostly decaff. Typically, I love tea. I used to have around 4 or 5 cups a day, now I prefer a green tea, or a herbal tea, which gives me the caffeine kick, but doesn't affect my skin as much. I still love an English breakfast tea, that is my morning ritual, it always has been, balancing that with water is the best option for my skin.

Alcohol, is also a treat, sometimes I have a little more than I should, and I always take my make up off and keep to my routine should I indulge, to minimise the fall out in the morning. 

Spicy food is a rarity, but I do opt for the spicy option occasionally and prepare for a flare up. If I have been good that is, and I definitely steer clear if im already flaring up or on the brink.

It is all about balance. If I have an important event coming up, I eat clean, I work out, I keep my skincare routine on point and minimise my risk of a flare up, but a little bit of what we can’t have, keeps us sane sometimes.

By the end of 2013 I was in control of my face. I had make-up free weekends, (Never go to work without make up, unless I’m so sick I shouldn’t even be there) I started to relax. The battle was far from over, but 2013 was a pivotal year. I learnt about balance, control and most of all resilience.

I can only mask the Rosacea for a short period, but knowing the tricks to cover up and the triggers, is where you can regain control. 

Seeking advice from fellow sufferers, is also cathartic, and they may have a tip you've not heard of or tried yet, I joined the Rosacea group on Facebook, specfically there for sufferers to support each other. In times of near desperation and frustration, the members know exactly what to say, because they go through it too. So even if you don't understand it right now, someone, somewhere can help you too. It's a closed group, so you may have to request access and all the posts are private, so if your looking for a little moral support, check them out here

Much love, 


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