Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Rosacea

I don't have great skin.  Actually, my skin is pretty awesome everywhere except the one place where it really seems to matter…my face.  I had acne when I was a teenager, and then during my 20's it developed into something worse.  I was able to deal with it for the most part and accept it until this fall. I think there was sort of a Bermuda Triangle of circumstances (age, genetics, stress) going on that caused my face to explode into a super volcano of humungus, red, pussy cysts.  My mom had long suspected rosacea since she has had to deal with it herself, so her recommendation (combined with my husband's ex-wife's ridicule) led me to seek medical attention.

My dermatologist immediately agreed with my mom's diagnosis…papular rosacea.  He put me on doxycycline hyalite and metronidazole.  According to him, it's supposed to take 3 months to work.  I'm about 2 months into treatment, and have seen a huge improvement.  There have been some negative side effects to the medication (mostly nausea,) but the pros outweigh the cons.  Unfortunately there isn't a cure for rosacea, and the treatment is pretty expensive and mostly not covered by insurance, but hopefully I will eventually be able to ween off of the oral medication as my mom has done.  Here's my very embarrassing before picture (which was actually after my worst outbreak had calmed down a lot) and my most recent no make-up picture from a week or two ago.

Before treatment


2 months of doxycycline and metronidazole

My mom gave me a very good, brief run-down with some excellent advice.  I would add to her list that stress and alcohol are big triggers (at least for me.)

There are a lot of commercial websites out there for rosacea, all trying to sell “the cure.” The hyperlink below appears to give the most information that is non-biased. The recommendations buried within the site are similar to those employed by Dr. Denman in my treatment.

·         Mild facial cleansing, recommendation is Cetaphil facial cleanser (available at Costco). The goal is to keep irritations down and not scrub the living daylights out of your face.
·         Sunscreen and reduction of sun exposure. Dr. Denman would say that you shouldn’t leave the house without a strong sunscreen. I use Neutrogena with helioplex, spf 70 (Costco most of the year)
·         Avoid overheating. The more you get flushed the more it aggravates.
·         I seem to be sensitive to florescent lights. Not the occasional exposure, but more the full day of working under direct florescent.
·         Stress, need I say more?
·         Medications: I didn’t have any luck with topical medications initially. The improvement turning point was taking Doxycycline, 100 mg daily for a couple years. Currently I’m trying to taper off and hopefully in the fall I will move to a topical.

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