Tuesday, February 02, 2010

That makes me blush

I have finally decided that it might be a good idea to try and take care of my health… a little bit anyway. These cats get better health care than I do. That’s because I keep charts recording every burp, itch, and vomit, and take them to the vet at the slightest whatever (charts in hand). They are given meds and there is plenty of communication with the doc on how things are progressing and what should happen next. Not so with my own health. I skimp, put it off, hope *whatever it is* will go away on its own…

Sometimes it doesn’t, and I finally had to admit that I have rosacea, which affects people of all genders, ages and complexion types, but if you are a fair-skinned adult woman who blushes easily, you really need to be on the lookout for this. I’ve always had the rosy cheeks, and even in my 20s (soooo long ago) I had people tell me I was wearing too much blusher (and was wearing none). I have a really mild case of it, very early stages, I guess... in fact, I look like the "after" version of several of the "before and after" comparisons that treatments use to promote their stuff. Still, even the "after" version could be in the future and I could very easily get a "before" look if I'm not really careful. There is no cure for this.

Here are some image search results, and they just scare the bejeezus out of me.

What I've got is a face that gets very red and hot when the condition is triggered, the redness lasts longer and longer all the time after the onset, and I'm starting to see spidery blood vessels and occasionally little tiny bumps or larger welts during reactions. My biggest triggers are the most common ones: heat, cold, wind, sun, stress, and spicy food.


I have loved spicy food my whole adult life. I am already fairly food-restricted for many reasons, and adding spicy to the list of discouraged choices just breaks my heart. Peppers are just about my favorite food (along with olives), and also very healthy.

It’s pretty hard to avoid heat, cold AND wind. Cold and wind are somewhat possible, but avoiding heat is not, not where I live and plan on staying. I’ve got a yo-yo relationship with the sun. A few years ago, I developed osteopenia because of an off-balance mix in the bloodstream (complicated) but adding a prescription vitamin D and getting more sunlight has brought me back in the normal range. Sunscreen blocks not only UV but vitamins. The dermatologist says “you only need 10 minutes of sun per day to get your vitamin D” --but -- if I put on the sunscreen in the morning as directed, then my face will get zero minutes of sun, and my arms are already sun-damaged and don’t need to be sunned on purpose (to soak in vitamins). So I need to choose between brittle bones and a hideous skin condition. Looks like I’m screwed no matter what.

OK, say I prefer skin-defense over stronger bones, and after looking at the rosacea images I am leaning that way. The dermatologist recommended a sunscreen that costs $30 for 3 oz. $$$$$ ummm… yeahhh… Sunscreens and makeup are recommended to be mineral-based (not chemical), fragrance-free, and for me personally they need to be non-animal-tested, and the mineral compounds should not contain nano-particles. cripes! Can't they quit using those in everything? I have found one that fits the bill, an SPF 18, 4 oz. for about $10. That's better, but of course the dermatologist will probably poo-poo it for not being SPF 40.

Since there's no cure for this, it opens the door for a long list of recommendations and suggestions that are floating around out there (like the ones here), and they would have a person living like the Bubble Boy. Some are actually helpful, some are snake oil, which are which? I have to figure that out.

caffeine, alcohol, sugar, soft drinks, artificial sweeteners, all stimulants, exercising except in moderate temperatures, scrubbing your face, facial products with fragrance, witch hazel or oatmeal, cold weather, hot weather, sunshine, cold water, hot water (baths should be lower than 98.6° - which might as well be a bath in spit -- I hate warm baths, they *must* be hot), wind, stress... even good stress, thermally hot food and drinks (chill your coffee in the fridge awhile... ugh), embarrassment, wearing dark pink or red clothing.

get some green makeup (yes… and the color of it is exactly the same color green that Clinique uses on many of their containers), wash your pillowcase EVERY DAY with chlorine bleach (WHUT?), try the alkaline diet or some other diet, and forget about activities. Period. That is all. Just follow these simple guidelines plus a dozen or so more, and your life can be normal and happy. Oh yes, and keep charts and diaries of all your activities and reactions... just like for the cats.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Someone close to me has had facial rosacea for most of her adult life. It is very, very manageable. She simply avoids direct sunlight on her face (i.e. wears a hat in the summer) and doesn't drink caffeine or alcohol. Most importantly, her doctor prescribes a lotion called MetroGel (Metronidazole Gel, USP) which she puts on sparingly once a day. Bleaching pillowcases every day? Nonsense! I think a lot of those internet pictures and remedies concern people with ultra-severe rosacea which has been untreated and aggravated for decades. My dear, see your doctor, take a few precautions, use MetroGel if prescribed and I'm sure everything will soon be well under control. You can triumph over rosacea!


i have never had anything like it but shady lane is allergic and has skin allergies to every day thing..can't wear lotion, make up, cleanser, anything..breaks her out into hives..

Blueberry said...

Debra: encouraging. The doc already has me on MetroGel once a day and Finacea once a day (both skin lotions, one morning, one night). She also recommended a facial wash that costs $130 per bottle... can't do that, so when I asked if my unscented olive oil soap bar was OK she said yes. I am stubborn about my coffee though.

YDG: allergies that severe are tough! I've been getting allergy shots for 8 years now. Have had hives a couple of times. Very worrisome. A lot of makeup and cream breaks out my face (has to be irritant-free and almost nothing is) but it is probably the rosacea as much as anything.