This is the story of my ongoing battle with rosacea, including no-no’s, tips and tricks, and my before and after pictures.
Here is my “before” picture of me with rosacea, and without any makeup. This picture was taken recently when my rosacea was at its worst ever. I almost never went out in public like this. People did double takes on me. “Wow, you got really sunburned!” is what I hear and translate as, “Wow, you are really ugly!” Um, yeah, thanks.
My rosacea started in my 30’s. You can read stories online of people who have rosacea and how the awful redness, blotchiness, and pimples are nothing compared to the true and ultimate horror of growing the bulbous nose. W.C. Fields is often given as a prime example.
Here are some links to pictures from the National Rosacea Society:
This one shows a couple of bulbous noses: https://www.rosacea.org/patients/faces.php
One trick I learned was to use a cover-up stick ALL OVER my face, not just over small problem areas, and then apply liquid base (you may call it foundation), and finally powder. It works pretty well, but feels heavy and I don’t like having this on my face for long hours at work.
Another trick I tried was to get sunburned. My face will peel and I will have a fresh set of skin, or I will tan over. Nope – don’t do it. You will only look like a nuclear bomb went off in the immediate vicinity.
Yet another trick I discovered was the green tinted makeup. Not Halloween makeup! It is very hard to find. You have to search grocery stores, drug stores, and the likes of Kmart or Walmart and you might find one item. I never found a green tinted base, but I did find a green tinted cover-up stick, and I applied my regular base and powder over this. The idea is that green and red make brown/tan. I thought I looked okay, but my husband told me I looked sick, literally green around the gills. But, I have tried this off and on over the years.
To give you an idea of green makeup and what I am talking about, I am including Amazon affiliate links if you are interested in giving green makeup a try. Perhaps you are better with makeup than I am.
So finally, I went to a dermatologist. Cureable? No. What to avoid: Stress, coffee, caffeinated beverages, sun, wind, alcohol, spicy food, hot showers, hot tubs, hot baths. Bummer – I like all of those things, except for stress.
I was prescribed metrogel as a remedy. It is a gel you apply to your face. I can’t say I noticed a huge difference. But by today’s standards, my rosacea was still in its infancy so perhaps it worked better than I thought, or at least kept it from getting worse. I’m not sure.
I don’t recall how much the metrogel costs, but you do need a prescription for it. Here is a link to their site: https://www.metrogel.com/
At some point I ran out of metrogel and got sick of going to the dermatologist. So a few years pass and my face continues to redden. Back to the dermatologist who now recommended I get my face lasered.
The laser dermatologist recommended I do one side of my face so that I could see if it made a difference. I wish I had taken pictures. It is said that the laser feels like a rubber band snapping on your skin, but I say it feels like being sandblasted one small area at a time. You end up with a throbbing, aching pain, the kind of pain where you feel each heartbeat in your face. The pain goes away within half an hour or so. Ironically, you are left with a very red, sometimes bruised face. My doc admitted after seeing some dark, purple bruising, that the laser was “up too high” and he turned it down.
I was glad he suggested doing one cheek, because I did notice a difference, but probably wouldn’t have if he had done both cheeks.
The next treatment included both cheeks. I wised up and asked about my Rudolph nose. I thought I had one face, but in the dermatology world, you actually have two cheeks, one nose, one chin, and one forehead, all priced differently. I HATE that!!!! By the way, laser to the nose really, really, REALLY hurts!
I ended up doing the laser treatments 3 or 4 times and my cheeks are still lopsided to this day, but you can’t tell by looking. Laser is not covered by insurance and I found it to be too time consuming (long drive to the big city) and honestly I didn’t have the funds to be this vain. I want to say it was around $140 per cheek? I can’t quite remember, except that it was expensive. However, at the time I thought this was a permanent or at least a long lasting solution. It did make a big difference. I actually could and would go out in public without any makeup, and nobody looked twice or said anything. Unfortunately, this only lasted about 1-2 years.
After some time, and disgust, I thought I would try a new dermatologist. Said new doc was also a newbie doc. He recommended a sulfur cream. Unfortunately I don’t recall the prescription name, but I do recall smelling like sulfur all day, as well as smelling sulfur all day – it burned my nostrils. If it had worked, I would still reek of sulfur to this day.
Years and years pass. My face has become horribly, blotchy red, and now, the pimples . . . so superficial that they come off easily with a scrape of the fingernail. I went back to the first dermatologist. I arrive without makeup and see not only other patients doing a double take on me, but the receptionist herself. The doc took one look at me and said, “You’re a disaster! We can’t have you walking around looking like that!” I agreed.
Luckily, times had changed. He prescribed Soolantra twice daily and Doxycycline once daily. I’m not sure about the theory behind the antibiotic, but it is a low dose antibiotic, not something you would take for a typical infection. The difference was huge. It took about two weeks for me to see great results. I do have insurance so each visit cost me a $35 copay. The doxy was a couple of dollars, and one tube of Soolantra cost $60, which lasted around 3 weeks using it twice daily.
After some time, I saw my doc again and he wanted me to stop the pills and do the cream once daily. My “after” pic you see actually looks a pinch worse than when I was at my best with the full initial treatment.
So here are the results, before and after.
Funny enough, when I look at the “after” pic I think I don’t look so great, but in comparison to the before pic, I think, “Much Better!” Perhaps now that I know how bad it can get, I have lowered my standards and am more accepting of my “after” pic look. Maybe I will try some green makeup again.
If you suffer from rosacea, I hope this post helps you see that there is help. Please see a dermatologist. As an endnote, I would like to say I realize that people are suffering from much worse. The bigger lesson learned is to please think twice before you say things to strangers in public.
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