Most of us assume that, if we ever dealt with skin-care problems, we'd leave them behind in our teen years (along with our questionable hairstyle choices). Unfortunately, that's not always the case. And sometimes the skin issues we develop when we're older can be a lot more confusing and challenging to deal with than the occasional zit.
For instance, at 28, I had what I thought was stubborn acne for a few years. I went all out in the drugstore aisle with harsh, drying products that ended up doing more harm than good. So when I was finally diagnosed with rosacea this past December, I was actually relieved. I assumed that having an answer would make it easier to treat.
Oh, how naive!
My dermatologist prescribed a cream, but my insurance didn't cover it—and it cost way more than I had been planning to spend. Frustrated and disappointed, I turned to the internet for other ways of managing it. And the more I looked, the more I realized how common my experience is.
Rosacea is a skin condition that causes redness, burning, painful bumps, and so much more.
There's a huge range of severity when it comes to rosacea. Although some people might notice that they get the odd bump or just have a rosier than average complexion, others have a much more noticeable, painful, and difficult time with it. When triggered (often by certain foods, the weather, stress, or exercise), people with rosacea may notice their skin becomes bright red with a burning, stinging, or itchy sensation. They might also notice that their skin is overall more sensitive than others', which means they need to take special care in picking skin-care products that won't irritate their skin.
Treatment for rosacea depends on the severity, but often requires some detective work to figure out your triggers as well as a carefully selected skin-care plan, including prescription and over-the-counter products. Some people may benefit from antibiotics, medications that specifically target redness, or isotretinoin (Accutane). For others, just keeping an eye on their triggers can have a profound impact.
But the piece that tends to get overlooked in all of this is the mental health toll of dealing with a new skin condition—especially one that really has no cure. Below, we spoke with 11 people who have rosacea about how they were diagnosed, how they deal with their symptoms, and what they want others to know about the condition.