If you know me in real life, you’ll know over the past several years my face has become a bit red. In my dance music friends circle, this usually brings up an ongoing Laurent Garnier track – The Man with the red face, thankfully, it’s a classic and a pretty good track, so I don’t mind the joke. Why not have it on in the background while you read this article, perhaps if you’re a male sufferer you might also want to adopt it as your theme!! You might be feeling down about your condition, but I’ve found over the years it’s best to embrace it, and carry on enjoying what life has to offer.
In fact, the red face, hasn’t really bothered me all that much, my confidence has been ok, I’m not bothered about leaving the house, and as above, I’ll even crack a joke about it. The only real thing it’s stopped me doing, and is probably quite noticeable on my personal facebook/twitter and insta profiles, is that I don’t really post many pictures of myself, and generally when possible, avoid other peoples cameras, as the camera always seems to make it look a lot worse than it actually is, especially when the flash is on!
The main thing that’s driven me to do something about it, is my seemingly new attitude to start doing thing’s outside my comfort zone. You’ll see more posts on such thing’s soon. (It’s took me almost 4 weeks to fully get this post done and dusted, so maybe don’t hold your breath)
So, some 4 or so years after this all developed I decided it was time to get diagnosed, and at the off chance despite all my reading, if my GP could actually prescribe me something! or give me some recommendations.
If you’re here you probably already know what Rosacea is, so I’m not going to bore you with the in’s and out’s, if however you’re a regular reader of my blog (Do I have regular’s? Let me know!) then the following link will give you all the nitty gritty: Rosacea artcle on NHS Choices
So for starters, here’s a picture of me on what I consider a particularly bad day.
As I said, the above is a particularly bad day, lots of inflamed redness, and as you can see very bumpy looking skin. Others may read this, and think, well you’re lucky that’s a bad day (sorry to you guys, and it has been worse, particularly when on holiday, but we’ll get to that later) and you might also ask yourself, well, what’s a good day. See below:
So, still pretty red faced, but not quite so bright.
So what triggers the flare ups?
As a Rosacea sufferer this is something you need to start working out, and it’s a pretty piss poor effort from me, to only really start working out my triggers some 4 years on.
Here’s what I already know are triggers for me:
The Sun – Sadly not the newspaper (vile) as I already avoid that like the plague, but the bright yellow ball in the sky, obviously avoiding this beast can be difficult, and the last thing you want to do is confine yourself to being inside on hot days. As is the norm, and especially for Rosacea sufferers it’s recommended you use an SPF on your face of at least factor 30, which brings me onto what I believe to be another trigger for me.
Sun block – How unfortunate can I honestly be? If the sun is a trigger, and sun block is a trigger, then what is a boy to do? I notice the quality of my skin after using sun block afterwards is terrible, Not only will I be bright red, I’ll also come out in spots galore, and I mean proper big red spots and some really nice gooey yellow heads. I look like the 15 year old pizza face me again (Oh yeah did I forget to mention I suffered quite badly with acne in my teenage years, I don’t know if this is a early sign that you’ll start suffering with Rosacea down the line, but I haven’t come across any articles/blogs as of yet to suggest so) Below is a picture of me on my last holiday abroad in Cyprus, where a combination of sun and daily sun block on my face put me off having any more photos taken. 🙁
However it hasn’t put me off the idea of another beach holiday, sometimes you’ve just got to accept your triggers and ask yourself the question is it worth the red face? If confidence and people’s perceptions of you are a problem, and it may be easier for me to say this as someone who is 37 (at time of writing) but basically, stop giving a shit about what people think. Your true friends don’t care, and the people in your holiday resort, you’ll likely never see them again, so who cares. I’d like to think in this day and age, that no one is going to say anything spiteful to your face. Although that’s not to say some scumbag is probably taking a sly picture of you somewhere to shame you on social media, but if you don’t see it online, you won’t care, and if you do, well, then it becomes your opportunity to actually make something good out of it, and make people aware of your condition and that it’s not a laughing matter, rather than wanting to hide away forever. Obviously for me, I need to start trying various types of sun block, and will be looking for recommendations on ones that in future might not bring me out in harsh redness as well as spots. One specifically developed for sensitive skin is probably a good place to start. If you have any suggestions, post them below.
Exercise – Another obvious one. Doing something that’s going to get you hot and sweaty is going to make even a normal person a little flushed, so for a Rosacea sufferer it’s only going to heighten it. Again exercise is something that shouldn’t be recommended that you avoid. Again this is something I’m actually trying to improve upon as my fitness is pretty poor. My advice if you don’t want to glow throughout the day, is leave exercise as your last target for the day, you can either leave the gym looking like your just flushed, or do your exercise routine at home when you’re not expecting to have to leave the house again.
Shaving – I’m crap at growing a beard, have tried numerous times, but it just don’t happen. Shaving with a razor will bring me out bright red. The key for me is to use a beard trimmer on the lowest possible setting, and just leave some stubble on your face. If however you want to use makeup to cover your cheeks & nose up throughout the day, then having a stubbly face can make applying the makeup a tough task and also give your face two separate shades. So the choice is yours, if you must shave, it’s probably best to do it just before bed.
Hot showers – Still in the bathroom, turning up the heat in the shower in the morning, can be a bad idea, try and keep the shower just warm enough to make having a shower comfortable without it being too cold. There’s no point getting yourself all hot and bothered just minutes after you’ve woken up and then having to deal with the flushes from it for the rest of the morning, or even the rest of the day.
Diet – Spicy food, which again sucks for me, as I love a good curry. If you don’t mind coming out in a sweat in the Indian, then by all means, enjoy that spicy goodness, otherwise avoid I’m afraid. There’s suggestions in groups and blog’s I’ve joined that cutting out meat and going strictly vegan will also drastically help. Unfortunately, I really like meat, and as part of my new exercise regime, I am trying to gain weight and a bit of muscle mass (any friends reading this will probably find that quite amusing, this may also become a future post if successful on how skinny guys can get toned, again, don’t hold your breath) so need the protein, so this is out the question for me, and probably lots of other guys! if it’s an option for you, you might want to explore it and document your progress.
Other possible triggers which I haven’t confirmed: Alcohol – bit of a bummer, but it looks like I’m going to have to cut out the alcohol anyway, more on that in a bit!
So basically everything that’s fun, is pretty much a trigger to giving you that red face of the devil.
So what did the GP say?
My GP was pretty confident that I did indeed have Rosacea, and prescribed me a cream called Metrosa, which is a 0.75% formula of the drug Metronidazole in gel form. There’s a lot of controversy on if alcohol should be mixed when using this drug, in tablet form, it is a definite no no, in gel form, it seems to be less of an issue, but however, as alcohol seems to be a trigger, it makes sense for me to try and totally cut it out, especially while on the gel. My only problem is I find I sometimes need a drink to come out of my shell a little in public gatherings, and that probably won’t change, but as I’ll be drinking even less than I already do, it will hopefully make me an even cheaper date than I already am!
I’ll update the blog next month, when I should be half way through my trial on the gel and we’ll see if there’s any noticeable improvement.
Yeah, embrace make up! Again as part of my let’s get out my comfort zone phase, I took it upon myself to take a look at what female sufferers were doing to cover up their symptoms. It’s also possible your GP if you are male, can send you to a special make up clinic where they can provide cover up techniques and provide what you need. However if you’re reading this as a guy don’t be put off by makeup. Lots of female Rosacea sufferers have detailed their techniques for covering up, however, this can in some cases revolve up to 5-9 layers of different products. Extremely daunting if you are guy. However I did find a post, by a female, specifically aimed at men sufferers, and she detailed some techniques for using just one product. The great thing is a lot of the recommend products are also pretty cheap, so you can be brave enough to pick up a few different shades without having to test in the shop, or even ask for advice. Here’s a link to Lexi’s blog and the products she recommends.
I found the natural collection tinted moisturiser to be both easy to apply, and easy to find a shade that matched my none Rosacea skin. Getting good at getting the amount to use and how to rub it in (do it in circles working outwards if just using a finger) can be difficult at first. You actually may want to use a face brush or a beauty blender if you struggle to get it right, which can all also be purchased from Boots.
Here’s a pic of me outside, in the sun, with the moisturiser applied, this was also before I started the gel my GP gave me.
There’s still some redness popping through, but trust me, this is an excellent picture for me, on a hot sweaty day! I dread to think what it would have looked like otherwise!
As I said, I shall try to post an update in 4 weeks time to see how I’m getting on with the Metrosa.