Dermatology Filter - She's really, really white
February 27, 2006 8:31 PM   Subscribe

Dermatology filter - My fiancée is a very fair skinned (I call her translucent) Irish girl. When ever she gets nervous, exercises or otherwise flustered she gets blotchy red spots. We are getting married in a year and she doesn’t want to be red and white spotted for the big day. Anyone know about this and or have any suggestions?

To expand… Some people think they are rashes. The spots appear around her chest, neck and face and will last for fifteen or twenty minutes. (She says the longer she thinks about them the longer they stay.) It’s definitely not a rash, it seems more like when a normal person would blush or get nervous she gets these distinct spots. She blushed like this when we first met… I must rock. Thanks for the suggestions & opinions…
posted by meta x zen to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm pretty sure some foundation or some form of powder/blush/etc. will help to mask any rash or unhealthy looking redness. I'll leave it to the makeup artists out here on AskMeFi, but from what I've seen my girlfriend do (who is one), anything is possible

Good luck to you!
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 8:38 PM on February 27, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks... problem is we've tried makeup (I should have said that.) It works if we layer the heck out of her and but she's not crazy about that. It really isn't a rash - just kind of looks a bit like one. Looks more like you smacked her skin in a weird shape and it's red for a while.
posted by meta x zen at 8:47 PM on February 27, 2006

1) biofeedback 2) shroudage
posted by rob511 at 8:50 PM on February 27, 2006

I, too, am really, really white and I suspect your fiancée suffers, as I do, from Rosacea.

There are several types of treatments, but the most effective for me has been trigger avoidance. (So far, my case has been relatively mild, but it is increasing as I age.) Like PWA_BadBoy said, makeup can do wonders, especially for girls.
posted by trip and a half at 8:56 PM on February 27, 2006

Bare Essentials. This stuff is the bomb. It's all natural mineral makeup, covers anything, it's very light and it works on Irish skin. Spehora has brick and mortar stores where you can go and try it out and it's available from other retailers if you don't live near Sephora.
posted by fshgrl at 9:25 PM on February 27, 2006

I second the Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals powder foundation. She could find some smaller sample sizes on Ebay (the stuff is expensive), or as noted, go to Sephora, or check the BE site for private retailers.

It will take practice to get it on correctly, so she needs to experiement.

The other option is Dermablend, but that can get really involved.
posted by oflinkey at 9:34 PM on February 27, 2006

Response by poster: Thank you Trip and a half... we looked over your webpages but it doesn't seem to be rosacea. (Her mother suffers from it.) She feels it really as a warm sort of itchy spot. The rosacea seems more broken blood vessel-ish then this solid spot. I wish I had some photos...

Thank you fshgrl - the bare essentials stuff looks very interesting!
posted by meta x zen at 9:43 PM on February 27, 2006

I have this thing called dermatographia, or skin writing, where my skin cells freak out and sort of make low level hives when I scratch my skin. It feels like a warm, itchy spot and lasts for 15-20 minutes and the hotter I am, the worse it is. If I exercise in a warm room, I get it all over my body anywhere clothes rub. The reason I'm talling you this is because antihistamines are supposed to help with this, and my thing sounds somewhat similar to your fiancee's problem. Has she tried OTC antihistamines, like claritin? The itchy thing sort of sounds allergy based. Course, IANAD, but it might be worth a try.
posted by MadamM at 10:28 PM on February 27, 2006

In the UK, the Red Cross offer a skin camouflage service for people who have been left badly scarred or who have other skin conditions, such as vitiligo. Vitiligo is where the pigment of the skin becomes patchy and can be very distressing for the individual.

A friend of mine has vitiligo and recently used the Red Cross to teach her how to use very specific make-up and techniques to successfully disguise this condition. I remember that the foundation itself was surprisingly light in texture and stayed put throughout a whole day and evening without retouching. After application she looked completely natural. The foundation was also an excellent base for any other make up she chose to use.

It could be worth making an enquiry to your local Red Cross, they may be able to point you in the right direction for appropriate brands of make up and application techniques. In the UK they work through Addenbrokes Hospital

Good luck :)
posted by Arqa at 12:06 AM on February 28, 2006

I experience something similar to your girlfriend. A doctor-friend describes it as a "fixed flush" and says it's definitely not rosacea. Urticaria has been suggested.

Having experimented for a while, I have a make-up solution which works for me and doesn't involve "layering the heck out of [me]"! In fact I dislike wearing heavy foundation and only wear tinted moisturiser. This is enough if you get the preparation right. You need to use a green colour corrective fluid. Green "works" to "neutralise" red - they're complimentary colours on the colour wheel. Your girlfriend has probably been told this before, tried it and not been satisfied with the results, but bear with me... The important thing is to start with the correct product. What you want is a very pale, minty green fluid. Make sure it's very thin and runny. You'll need to shop around as most of these fluids are far too thick and far too dark. I'm in the UK and use Boots No17 Colour Corrective Fluid in green - this is a real bargain-basement product; don't get seduce by expensive brands in this case. Moisturise first as this will help you to blend the fluid, then apply only in the areas where you're red already or where you know you'll flush. (My blush patterns are fairly consistent so I can anticipate this.) Spend time blending the product in. You will now look mottled with slightly grey patches. Apply tinted moisturiser/foundation and concealer if necessary as normal. It's worth setting your base - I use Benefit's Dr Feelgood. You should find that your skin colour looks even but slightly ghostly. (After a while you should get good at getting enough green on to counteract the red, but not so much that you look blotchy.) It's really important to re-introduce some colour. You have to put some blusher on, even if you don't normally wear any. The redness will not show and if you don't wear blusher you will look too pale and unwell.

All this hassle is really worth it: I am frequently told I have lovely skin. It's a real surprise and disappointment when I use make-up remover in the evening and re-discover my natural blotchy self.
posted by boudicca at 2:14 AM on February 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

Boudicca rocks! As an Irish girl I have to say it is a form of dermatographia, mentioned above. Both my sisters had really bad cases of it, especially for The Wedding (In Ireland you have to capitalise it!) The green corrective fluid is excellent but since it relates to nerves and getting anxious she might try a few different approaches in the run-up. I would try an antihystamine for a few days before a big event, cause you really have to test it when you are stressed to the max. This worked for sister number one. On the day you could see her beginning to flush just by the decollete but her neck and face stayed fine. She used a green corrector fluid and a slightly heavier base than normal. Didn't work for sister number two who is a much more nervy person, total catostrophic thinker. In her case it really did look like people were scratching her neck and chest. As a result she chose a dress that covered her chest and part of the neck, and her doctor recommended a course of valium, increasing the dosage on the morning. I honestly never realised that a 5 mg tablet can knock somone out while relaxed, but on the day of the wedding she needed 10 mgs and then 5 just before the ceremony. That worked for her. But she also used the green fluid and a heavier base.

Since it is related to getting nervous, and the normal flushing of very delicate skin, maybe healthier mechanisms would be relaxation techniques to deal with those times?
Hope it goes well.
posted by Wilder at 2:52 AM on February 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

Persons who suffer from stage fright will sometimes ask for a prescription of low dose beta blockers. IANAD but I understand this can block some of the physical effects of adrenaline. This may be preferable to sedatives.
posted by aliksd at 4:28 AM on February 28, 2006

Beta blockers could work. They'd drop her heart rate and pressure, may make her feel depressed, and could cause her to pass out. Course, depends on the dos and her own reaction to it whatever the dose is.
posted by herrdoktor at 6:16 AM on February 28, 2006

problem is we've tried makeup (I should have said that.) It works if we layer the heck out of her and but she's not crazy about that.

If this is something she's really concerned about, I'd advise that she spend money to have her makeup professionally done by an experienced and trained make-up artist for the Wedding. Often spa-type salons willl offer this sort of service, and their "Wedding Package" will include a pre-wedding consultation visit as well as makeup (and probably hair styling) for the day of. If she talks with them in advance about this issue, they'll know tips and tricks (like the base-tinting boudicca mentions above) to make her look as picture-perfect as a model on The Big Day.

Congratulations and good luck!
posted by anastasiav at 6:55 AM on February 28, 2006

Yes, professionally done makeup really is key. It doesn't matter if it's "caked on". The makeup artist can make it look good and also ensure that everything looks good for the photographers. I'm so surprised at how many ppl put all sorts of money into their wedding dress, flowers, photographer and then neglect the hair and makeup.

Good luck once again.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 9:54 AM on February 28, 2006

Could just one layer of the spray-on tan (salon, not home) be enough to cover the flushing without changing her real color too much?
posted by phearlez at 10:51 AM on February 28, 2006

I know a lot of people who have had their makeup "airbrushed" on for photo shoots or their wedding at places like the Elizabeth Arden Spa. To be honest, I don't know much about it, but it is supposed to provide excellent coverage, perhaps you could ask around about that?
posted by echo0720 at 12:45 PM on February 28, 2006

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