Rosacea is a subject is very close to my own heart.
As April is rosacea awareness month I wanted to share my story. As a fellow sufferer of the skin condition, and as someone who is living with rosacea, I know only too well how disruptive it can be to your daily life and confidence. The key thing I want you to remember is, ‘YOU ARE NOT ALONE’!
What is rosacea?
It is a chronic condition, and can persist for a long time and, in any individual, the severity tends to fluctuate. Rosacea tends to affect the cheeks, forehead, chin and nose, and is characterised by persistent redness caused by dilated blood vessels, small bumps and pus-filled spots like acne. There may also be uncomfortable inflammation of the surface of the eyes and eyelids..
The cause of the condition is not fully understood. Your genetic makeup, immune system factors, and environmental factors may all play a part. It is these factors that trigger rosacea and cause the blood vessels in the skin of the face to enlarge (dilate). The theory that rosacea is due to bacteria on the skin or in the gut has never been proven. However, antibiotics have proven helpful to treat it in some cases. This is because of their anti-inflammatory effect.
Remember that rosacea is NOT a contagious skin condition. There has been substantial research on whether it is a hereditary condition, but this theory has yet to be proven and although it does tend to run in some families a genetic link has not been made clear.
There are a variety of triggers that may make the condition worse. These include stress, alcohol, spices, exercise, high/low temperatures and hot drinks. The skin can be sun sensitive with this condition, so it is imperative to use protection every day.
LIVING WITH ROSACEA.
I have been a sufferer now for over 4 years. It started with mild flushing symptoms and led to what I now have today. I want to help by sharing my experiences of living with the condition to hopefully offer advice and comfort to others, so here is my story.
I first started suffering from what I now suspect was Rosacea when I was in my mid-twenties. It started with flushing for no reason at all. All it would take then was a snide comment of ‘look how red you’re going Kay’ or ‘hey beetroot’ to make the situation a whole lot worse. It would instantly make me flush more and I all I wanted was the earth to open and swallow me. Don’t get me started on public speaking, it was impossible! I dreaded being asked to talk in front of a room full of work colleagues or do a presentation.
Knowing what I know now about this skin condition, I realise this is where my rosacea journey began. It is known to be more common in 40-60-year olds and tends to affect more women than men, on any skin type with mild to moderate flushing of the skin.
My journey throughout my twenties and early thirties seemed to go by without too much drama apart from the persistent flushing. I was one of the lucky ones that never really had problematic skin, I only had the odd hormonal spot and these would heal relatively quickly but I always seemed to get a flushed complexion especially on my cheeks, when I was hot or cold, nervous, excited or doing exercise.
Now, move forward 6 years and I really started to have problems. I began getting more and more redness on my cheeks that wouldn’t go. It seemed I had a permanent ‘flush’. This was easy enough to cover with makeup though, so I didn’t really think too much of it. My nanny and dad seemed to have a similar complexion, so I just carried on.
It’s only in recent years that it has really came to a head and I was diagnosed.
Living with rosacea is hard, I have a permanent rash like flush and broken capillaries. I get constant breakouts on my cheeks and along my jawbone, especially with the ‘time of the month’. The raised texture of the skin and pus-filled papules are sometimes so painful that touching them can bring you to tears.
The skin can become fibrous and literally disintegrate under your fingers causing it to bleed and weep. Not much fun and very hard to cover with makeup. I am lucky to get a week of clear skin now and this really has a knock-on effect with your confidence.
I have found it so difficult to deal with over the years. It has been especially hard for me being a make-up artist and skincare specialist, I want so much to be a good advocate for a great skin and skincare regime and feel sometimes on a bad day that this isn’t possible when my face is in the state it is.
However, I have since realised just how many people I work with, whether it be clients or fellow industry professionals, that are suffering with rosacea or other skin conditions that are just as debilitating to your mental health and well-being. I decided I must turn this negative into a positive.
I can assist you in skincare, support and advice at anytime so please do contact me.
I reached out to fellow sufferers, I spoke to them about how they deal with it and how they coped mentally. It was a real eye opener. I did a lot of research into the condition so I knew enough about it that I could start to help and not only assist myself but others too.
I found that speaking openly about my journey with rosacea that more people came to me asking for advice on how to cope with it, on products to use and tips to help cover it with makeup.
I have FINALLY accepted that this skin condition is with me for life and I can only deal with the symptoms on a day to day basis as every morning can be different. Don’t get me wrong, I have bad days (some really bad days) but there are some fantastic support networks out there to help, so I highly recommend checking them out and using the resources available to you.
You are not alone, with over 400 million sufferers worldwide you will always find someone who knows what you are going through, and we can help one another through the darker days.
I can highly recommend the following websites to help you gather information on the skin condition.
Some great accounts/blogs to follow.