Jennifer’s Rosacea Story

Written by on June 27, 2016 in My Rosacea Story with 3 Comments

Rosacea News is featuring series of articles that I’m calling “My Rosacea Story“. There is real power in hearing other people’s stories. We’d love to hear from you too. Feel free to send me an email, and to use the following questions as a starting point.

Thanks to Jennifer for sharing.

How long ago, and how did you discover you had rosacea?

I was first diagnosed thirty years ago by a dermatologist who said that I had mild rosacea (flushing but no papules or pustules) but shouldn’t be concerned as it was a benign condition common to people with my Celtic colouring.

He said to stay out of the sun and use bland skincare products, advice that I took on board. It was not until I started suffering from unrelenting menopausal hot flushes that I was again diagnosed with rosacea, this time more severe.

The dermatologist said that ‘menopausal onset rosacea’ was very common for women who had previously had mild rosacea. I wish that I had been alerted to this by the first dermatologist as it might have made me more vigilant in the intervening years!

 What feelings can you remember from when you first found out?

The first time around I wasn’t concerned as the dermatologist didn’t seem to be concerned.

The second time I was angry that not one of the several dermatologist I had seen over the years for skin cancer checks had mentioned the issue of rosacea to me.

Indeed, the dermatologist who did eventually diagnose the problem the second time around only did so because I raised the issue with her!

What did you start doing to find relief?

 It was obvious to me that I needed to be proactive in treating my rosacea as the dermatologist’s only suggestion was to have a course of laser treatments. I set about devising my own treatment regime which has now evolved to include identification and avoidance of triggers, the use of rosacea specific skincare, regular Laser Genesis treatments including a couple of VBeam treatments, and the use of a rosacea specific sunscreen every day even on those days that I am indoors!

What things did you try that didn’t help?

 I had read a lot of articles about diet and in particular the effect of histamines for rosacea sufferers. For a few months I tried to limit my diet to exclude histamine rich foods, but this proved to be very difficult and made me feel miserable.

In the end I reverted to my normal diet which I believe to be balanced and healthy , excluding a few things which I had identified as triggers, such as alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and cinnamon being the main culprits.

What things did you try that did help?

I discovered a rosacea specific range of skincare formulated by the Rosacea Treatment Clinic in Melbourne. These products have been amazing not only in treating the rosacea but improving the general condition of my skin. The only downside is the cost!

I also took the dermatologist’s advice and have had a number of laser treatments which have reduced the redness and the enlarged pores which had become crater-like on my nose and chin!

Combined with a disciplined avoidance of triggers (although I am still trying to find a way to avoid the emotional triggers which are by far the worst) I have been able to manage my rosacea to the point where my skin is the best it has been for a very, very long time.

Where did you find the best advice?

My first piece of advice is not to look at those hideous photos that adorn most of the websites as they will only stress you out bringing on a major rosacea flush!

Keep calm and set about putting together your own treatment regime which of course should include the advice from your doctor. There is no quick fix nor one thing that will bring results. In my experience it is a combination of things consistently applied on an ongoing basis.

There will be times when despite your best efforts your rosacea will flare up but stick to your regime and it will eventually calm down.

Please tell us what advice you would offer newly diagnosed rosacea sufferers?

The best advice comes from gathering information from as many sources as possible then corroborating the evidence to determine what is worthwhile.

I highly recommend the Rosacea Treatment Clinic site especially if you are interested in some of the science behind the treatments.

 What hopes do you have for the future for yourself and for rosacea sufferers in general?

There is a lot of research being done in this area with new treatments becoming available. I believe that what we see on the skin is just the result of the accumulation of unrelenting inflammation of the skin which is why some people have more severe rosacea than others.

The underlying condition is due to something else not yet identified. For what it’s worth I believe it is a disorder of the nervous system, in particular the sympathetic nervous system which sets off a number of cascading events resulting in the inflamed rosacea skin. T

herefore, I believe the research will continue down the parallel paths of cause and management with the latter being the one that is providing the best results at the moment.

For my part, I am currently trying to use relaxation as a means to calm my body and looking into natural ways to reduce inflammation in the body.

I wish all rosacea sufferers the very best for the future. It really is a case of stay calm and carry on. When it all gets a bit too much have a good laugh as this is a well documented way of relieving stress.

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Read more about: My Rosacea Story

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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3 Reader Comments

  1. David Pascoe says:

    Comment via email.

    “These stories make me feel that I am not alone. i don’t actually know anyone else who has this condition. When I first went to a dermatologist, the
    head of Dermatology in a medical college, he did not know what was wrong. He gave me meds to reduce inflamation, but they had a blow back
    and could not be used all the time.

    Research is the only hope for us to go back to feeling normal…

    Regards,
    Anita”

  2. Jane says:

    Thank you for sharing Jennifer, I have been battling flushed skin for over 30 years and it is so draining. It has affected every aspect of my life and determined just about every decision I make. I have good skin texture but I really battle with flushing and the occasional break-out. I have tried so many things, read just about everything there is to read and have implemented different regimes including lasers without any real tangible improvement. I am with you though, I believe it is a nervous system issue, sympathetic dominance to be exact. We are all individual and there will be different drivers for people, but in my case I believe this is where my issues stem from. I am so tuned into what my face is doing that I think I create the sympathetic pathway to literally go into cascade mode with a pretty substantial knock-on effect. It is great to have this opportunity to share, because no-one else other than a fellow sufferer really “gets” the profound tough day to day issues like trying to work in a heated, fast paced environment! all the time trying so desperately to be calm and pale!!

  3. Jennifer says:

    I thought it might be useful to update my rosacea story with a new treatment in my regime. My dermatologist was satisfied that my rosacea was sufficiently under control (I write this with my fingers crossed, it’s tricky I know!) to now tackle some of the damage that my skin has suffered both as a result of the rosacea and sun damage. In addition to my existing treatment I also use a 0.05% Tretinoin cream, an acid form of Vitamin A. Now I know that some of you will be thinking that retinoids and rosacea are not good together and I must admit that this was my thought initially as topically applied Vitamin A can be irritating to even a healthy, normal skin let alone the easily irritated rosacea skin. My dermatologist was concerned that I had a number of pre-cancerous spots on my nose together with a number of sebaceous hyperplasia (those pesky little lumps of raised flesh-coloured lesions) which often go hand in hand with rosacea, and believed that a conservative Tretinoin treatment would address these issues without exacerbating the rosacea. I have been using the Tretinoin for five months now and barring some initial minor irritation my skin has adjusted well to this addition to my treatment. I have started to see a flattening of the sebaceous hyperplasia and a reduction in pore size particularly on my nose. The sun damage on my nose is still evident but I was told that it can take quite a while for the new healthy cells to replace the damaged ones, especially when the treatment is used conservatively (three times a week buffered with moisturiser) as instructed by my dermatologist. Unfortunately, rosacea can do considerable damage to the skin which will remain even after the rosacea has been brought under control. I am grateful that my dermatologist understands the need to address these issues. I hope that 2017 is a great year for all us ‘Rosaceans’ and that we will all see our skin goals come to fruition – best of luck everyone!

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