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My love for you is like a red, red nose...
August 2, 2008 11:41 AM   Subscribe

Rosacea management: care and hiding of a sometimes red face? Several questions all on one topic inside.

I have moderate rosacea that afflicts only my nose. The antibiotics removed the surface damage, curing the bumps so I'm merely pink instead of red, inflamed and spotty, but discovering that I have an incurable tendency to flush in a disfiguring fashion means that I want to know the best ways to manage my condition on the other hand I don't want to live my life trying to avoid everything that could cause a rush of blood to prevent a flare up. So:

1) My dermatologist gave me a huge long list of things to avoid based on 'typical' rosacea suffers. Most of these (hot baths/showers/exertion/sun) certainly turn my feet red, but seem to improve my facial redness by fading it. Cold, allergens and surface bacteria seem to be my triggers. How to cope? I’m Canadian, so avoiding the whole winter thing is a non-option.

2) As a contact lense wearer, I find that eye irritation causes me to flush a little bit. How can I minimize this until I can get laser eye surgery (in another 2 or 3 years)? I would swap back to glasses, but the difference in vision between contacts and glasses is for me, considerable. How can I keep my eyes less inflamed, and thus my nose healthy?

3) As a female I want to wear makeup. What lines and brands of foundation/concealer/powder/etc should I look for, that I can use to cover the pink, when I don’t want to look cute and windblown, which have a good track record for sensitive skin? It’s no use hiding the pink only to turn it red with a flare up.

4) The ‘if left untreated’ pictures are ghastly and some things I’ve read say that getting worse is normal. Do I have a future of looking like boil covered raw meat, or do people generally do okay and this is those extreme pictures you typically find in medical texts? Similarly some sources say going into remission is possible (ie Wikipedia). How complete is that remission?

5) On the internet, rosacea seems to be a topic prone to voodoo cures and conflicting information. While interesting reading, what are the best rosacea resources? Non-flakey (ie actually has studies for their ‘emu-oil’ cure ideas) are best.

6) Socially speaking, how do I deal with nice people asking about my skin affliction (ie ‘You have a cold?’) or idiots humming ‘Rudolph’ in what they think is taking the mickey out of me, but is making my self esteem wither? I mean asides from screeching ‘Christ, what an asshole?’

7) I'm 22, and it seems to have started at 20. What gives? I thought this was a middle aged lady disease? Is this something to follow up on? Or is is just genetic luck of the draw, given that my mother has a pink nose too?

8) Anything else I should know about rosacea?
posted by Phalene to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
3) I love the Estee Lauder Lucidity powder and find that it's light but does a great job of covering on mildly red-nosed days. As for thicker coverage, I'm not sure what to tell you since (on my nose, at least) liquid makeup never seems to spread properly there and wipes off at the slightest provocation.

Try keeping something cool on hand to hold on your nose when you have a flareup. Sometimes I'll even hold a cold drink in my hand until my fingers are icy cold and then rest them on my face.

The RX lotion with the anti-bacterial in it has been a good help to me, but on a high-stress day it'll just flare no matter what. A cool rinse, maybe some Noxema, and acceptance that it'll happen occasionally will help.
posted by Addlepated at 12:05 PM on August 2, 2008


I found this information very helpful, and I use her products loyally. I use her BHA exfoliant and it seems to produce good results. Given that many of the things that exacerbate it are important to me (exercise, being outdoors, hot showers) or things that I like a lot (alcohol, spicy food) or things that are pretty much impossible to avoid (wind, sun, cold weather) I've just tried to minimize exposure when I can, make sure I am always wearing sun screen, and take good care of my skin.
posted by gingerbeer at 12:10 PM on August 2, 2008


I use Mary Kay Couvuture and loose powder-- it's not specifically for sensitive skin, but it's very light and translucent, seems to do the trick.

Hang in there-- my rosacea comes and goes, right now it seems to be in abeyance. Ironically, it's worse when I 'm thin. The goddess gives with one hand and takes away with the other.

My favorite clueless comment: your cheeks are always so nice and rosy! Yeah, that's my SKIN DISEASE thank you for making everyone aware of it. And finally, just to keep everything in perspective, a little rhyme:

As a beauty I am not a star
There are others more handsome by far
But my face, I don't mind it
For I am behind it.
It's the people out front that I jar!


everyone needs a hug!
posted by nax at 12:24 PM on August 2, 2008


2) As a contact lense wearer, I find that eye irritation causes me to flush a little bit. How can I minimize this until I can get laser eye surgery (in another 2 or 3 years)? I would swap back to glasses, but the difference in vision between contacts and glasses is for me, considerable. How can I keep my eyes less inflamed, and thus my nose healthy?

Have you considered wearing sunglasses, even if it's not sunny out? That could be worth a shot, especially if your irritants are environmental.

6) Socially speaking, how do I deal with nice people asking about my skin affliction (ie ‘You have a cold?’) or idiots humming ‘Rudolph’ in what they think is taking the mickey out of me, but is making my self esteem wither? I mean asides from screeching ‘Christ, what an asshole?’

The few times I have run into this, I matter-of-factly say "Actually, I have rosacea". That usually stops the ribbing pretty much immediately, mainly because it's not what the person expected to hear.

7) I'm 22, and it seems to have started at 20. What gives? I thought this was a middle aged lady disease? Is this something to follow up on? Or is is just genetic luck of the draw, given that my mother has a pink nose too?

I started developing it in my early 30's, and from what I have read that is a pretty common age range when it comes to first seeing the symptoms. But that doesn't mean that it afflicts one particular age group exclusively. I've also heard it nicknamed the Irish Curse, actually, so I gues it goes beyond age range.

My derm told me to try to stick to moisturizers that have water as their main ingredient. I use Cetaphil, which doesn't cure anything, but doesn't aggravate. I have been using a face wash called Rosac (rx only) that is sulphur-based, and has helped a lot. For makeup I have been able to get by with tinted moisturizer and powder (Bobbi Brown and Chanel, respectively - I can't say whether they are especially good for sensitive skin, but I have had no problems with them).
posted by DrGirlfriend at 1:18 PM on August 2, 2008


I had severe facial bruising for several months following jaw surgery a few years ago, and Dermablend did the trick for me.
posted by scody at 1:56 PM on August 2, 2008


I have a fair complexion with very pink cheeks and always a red nose (although I don't have rosacea, just a high colour), and I find that Physicians' Formula green powder, either this one or this one, (you'll see Green on the drop-down menu) worn as a base, with a skin-toned mineral powder over the top does a good job of hiding the redness. It's widely available in drug stores and is reasonably priced.
posted by essexjan at 2:04 PM on August 2, 2008


I am not 100% positive that I have rosacea (and my dermatologist has been no help), but I also get a flushing just in my nose that irritates the hell out of me, and started in my mid-20s.
Anyway, the only thing I can help you with here is a cheap foundation to try, which is Maybelline Pure Makeup shine-free foundation. It's like $5 a tube and I can use it just on my nose to cover the red, which is good for me because I don't like to wear a lot of makeup.
posted by ch1x0r at 2:40 PM on August 2, 2008


I do not have rosacea, but I do have sensitive skin and am somewhat of a makeup aficionado. As far as foundation goes, I would recommend any Clinique product. They test all their products extensively, and if even one person (out of thousands) has an allergic reaction, they reformulate. I have used their liquid foundation in the past, and lately, I have been using their "Almost Powder" foundation, which gives good, light, natural-looking coverage.

I would also caution against using Bare Minerals products. One of the ingredients (bismuth oxychloride) causes adverse reactions in many people. I found this out a few months ago when I tried their products for the first time and ended up with a big, dry, red patch under my eye. While looking for information about my problem online, I noticed that many people with rosacea also seem to have bad reactions to these products. (Kind of made me angry, considering how their whole pitch is that it's great for your skin and so natural you can sleep in it!)
posted by rebel_rebel at 2:53 PM on August 2, 2008


There are two things I know of that may help, though I don't have rosacea myself (just hyper-sensitive skin).

Sulfur soap is excellent as an anti-bacterial, and I've been buying from this company for a number of years now; affordable and very good quality.

Everyday Minerals makes a mint concealer that I didn't want to believe in at first, but it's actually terrific for redness when used under foundation.

Sorry to be all Pepsi blue, but these are two products that have really helped me "face the world".

On preview, EM specifically excludes bismuth oxychloride, which is one reason I tried them and stuck with them.
posted by vers at 2:59 PM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


My wife has found that she can control it by avoiding creams, shampoos, etc. that contain vitamin E (sometimes listed as tocopheral). She also limits foods that are high in vitamin E, like eggs, mayo, sunflower seeds, almonds.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:25 PM on August 2, 2008


I am not your doctor. I am someone with chronic blepharitis (eyelid inflammation) and a really red nose, though, which caused me to read up on ocular rosacea a while ago.

Obnoxiously enough, your major means of controlling the eyelid inflammation is to keep your eyelashes and eyelid margins scrupulously clean. Apply hot compresses once or twice a day (I do mine at night) and clean your eyelids with a solution of baby shampoo and water, or with premoistened eyelid scrubs. (More on this cleaning regimen here.) I find that a damp washcloth microwaved for one minute is a pretty good compress-- it stays hot for about five minutes, although you'll need to be careful taking it out of the microwave due to steam.

You can also try cellulose-based artificial tears (I like GenTeal; a lot of pages recommend Celluvisc) to keep your eyes hydrated and soothed during the day. Drink *lots* of water; it'll help with your overall hydration, which I understand can be a problem for rosacea sufferers.

You should consider talking to an ophthalmologist about your eye inflammation, and mentioning your rosacea diagnosis up front. Ocular rosacea sometimes needs more aggressive treatment than simple hygienic precautions-- you might benefit from either an antibiotic ointment, or an oral antibiotic treatment.

Also, you completely have my sympathy, as having inflamed eyelids is just insult added to injury. Good luck getting the ocular manifestations taken care of.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:06 PM on August 2, 2008


I've found the mineral cosmetics from Lumiere and KT Naturals to be gentle, with a nice level of coverage. Alba Botanica sunblock is great for sensitive skin, too.
posted by bunji at 11:55 PM on August 2, 2008


I have great success with Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals. I like it that you can layer on as much as you want. I have very fair skin with redder spots on my face. The mineral powder lets me easily camoflauge the areas that need it without looking like I'm glopping on a ton of makeup. In other words, it's pretty inconspicuous. You can try the products in Bare Escentuals stores or in Ulta stores. It is sold on ulta.com and through QVC. There are also other mineral products that are probably just as good. I don't know anything about the bismuth oxychloride ingredient causing problems; I know several people who use Bare Escentuals with great success. It's all trial and error, which makes going to a store like Ulta to try different brands a wonderful thing!

Another thing I recently discovered was Aveeno Calming Moisturizer. Again, because of my red spots on my face, I was looking for something to correct those. My sister got me on this and in just two weeks I am noticing a big difference. It uses feverfew as an ingredient which apparently "calms" your skin down (takes away the pink/red). I was going to tell my MIL, who has rosacea, about it too.
posted by FergieBelle at 5:53 AM on August 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


2) Eyewashes and eyedrops (maybe those re-wetting drops for contact lenses) help. Also, if you're not already using them - get daily lenses rather than monthly or bi-weekly lenses. Much better in avoiding irritation and keeping your eyes moist.

3) I probably can't help much wrt brands (I'm currently using a Korean line for sensitive skin; not sure whether it's available in Canada), but a green makeup base helps a lot in covering up redness. You just need to apply it over the red areas before you proceed with putting foundation over your whole face.
posted by aielen at 6:52 AM on August 3, 2008


Cetaphil is why I am alive today, although I am glad CeraVe is now on the market. (It's possible they are sold as something else in Canada. Cetaphil is currently from Galderma, but the forumla hasn't changed in decades.)

Work with your derm to find a topical, if you can. Start with the mildest and move up if you have to. I'm happy with a sulfa-based face wash.

When they came out, I thought those mineral-based makeups were BS. Wrong. Although a couple of them have been itchy for me, the majority are magically comfortable and provide coverage. At one point, years ago, my derm told me to stick with Lancome, Maybelline, and the third company in the group or Mary Kay because they made small-batch makeup, while basically all other cosmetics came from giant vats at the International Flavors & Fragrances factory. Not sure if that is still the case but I have minerals and so don't care.

The only facial suncreen I can use are the Neutrogena oil-free sunblock waxy stick (odd, because other neutorgena products burn like heck) and Colorescience mineral powder sunscreens or regular mineral powder foundation (which work really well unless you are going to be super sweaty, like ditch-digging sweaty.)

Use cetaphil to clean, whatever topical works for you, and a non-painful/itchy makeup and never, ever let anything else touch your face. Never. When your friends are grabbing up samples at Sephora, just walk away. Those products are not for you. Don't think that just this once you can wash your face with the hotel soap, you can't.

Also helps to keep your pillowcases super clean, and you might want to wash your hair with a selenium sulfide shampoo if you have any acne or the rosacea starts to show up on your forehead or cheeks.

Sucks sucks sucks and since most people have had a pimple, everything will tell you that if you just wash your face with this or that or stop eating Brazil nuts then your skin will just like theirs. Sucks.

bonobothegreat - weird about your wife. I actually get a visable rash from Vitamin E goo and lotions. Which everyone attributes to anything but the stinking Vitamin E.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 2:31 PM on August 3, 2008


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