What is up with my skin?
December 19, 2010 7:05 PM Subscribe
I thought I had mild "papulopustular rosacea." Putting Polysporin on the red bumps helped a lot. Then I took acyclovir for a cold sore and the bumps cleared up completely! None of the online resources on rosacea have indicated acyclovir as a treatment. So what did I have?
posted by keep it under cover to health & fitness (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
About a year ago I developed a rash of redness across my cheeks. Then out of the redness appeared small hard bumps. Thinking they were pimples at first, I tried squeezing them. But they didn't feel like pimples and nothing could be squeezed out of them. Also, unlike pimples, the bumps never really went away but went through phases of flaring up. During a flare-up they were red, raised and swollen, painful, and itchy. They eventually calmed down but the same bumps would flare up again later, over and over.
I did some internet reading that pointed me toward a type of rosacea. Papulopustular rosacea seemed to describe exactly what I had. I read that antibiotic creams are prescribed to treat it, so I tried applying regular old Polysporin. I figured it was worth a shot before going to the trouble of seeing my doctor, being referred to a dermatologist, and then buying prescription creams. To my surprise, it worked! The bumps calmed down considerably, and even appeared to be healing.
After a couple months of applying Polysporin every morning and night, the bumps were mostly under control. They'd still get a little angry if I was stressed or not getting enough sleep, but not nearly as badly as before. Then I woke up on the morning of my wedding with the beginnings of a cold sore bubbling beneath the surface of my lip. I freaked out and downed a bunch of acyclovir pills that my mom had bought in Hong Kong for my for cold sore emergencies (the instructions were all in Chinese, so I had no idea of the recommended dosage).
The acyclovir saved the day. To my surprise, my rosacea also cleared up almost completely! None of the online articles about rosacea mentioned antiviral medication so this was unexpected. Does this mean I never had rosacea in the first place? Was it some kind of viral skin infection on my cheeks? If so, what could it be?