Monday, 10 June 2013

Living With Rosacea - More Than Just Skin Deep

Not long after my father died I began to experience rosacea. Not as intense as some rosacea sufferers but it was very noticeable. And as it was mainly one one cheek it did not look like I was blushing but like I had something wrong with my face.

It is quite scary posting these photos of myself make-up free but this is quite a tame photo. Sometimes it is really red and I get cystic acne over the redness. Not pleasant at all.





My Experience

I think my mother has slight rosacea when she has a glass of wine sometimes, but mine came on not long after my father passed on. I feel the huge stress response manifested as rosacea. In my teens I had acne mainly around my hair line but rosacea was different. The blood vessels were very visible and after a few years I began getting acne on top of the rosacea - so acne rosacea. The acne came and went and came back again over the top. Some days it was worse than others.

For a few years my left cheek was very red and sore to the touch and covered in spots. The sun, alcohol, spicy foods, non-natural sun creams brought it out more. Because of the rosacea I became extra self-conscious socially and whether it was the blood vessels, or I was just more pre-disposed to blushing because of self esteem issues, I blushed a lot and it became very red very quickly.

What Is Rosacea And What Causes It?

I will keep this brief for anyone who already knows this, which you may if you have googled a search for rosacea. Rosacea is basically a skin condition that affects the face and causes a red flushing, facial redness and can include acne. It can also be on the eyes and some people with rosacea can have dry eye syndrome. My mum has and I sometimes get dry eyes. If you suddenly get eye problems related to rosacea I recommend making an appointment with your doctor pronto. 

The spots that come up are rather lumpy and cyst like. Not your usual pimple.  When my skin gets red it can look like I am sun burnt and it can also cause what looks like red blood vessels to appear. In some cases it can cause a thickening of the skin (uncommon)

Some people get rosacea in their 20s but most people get it between 30 and 50. Mine came on around age 27 Women unfortunately are more likely to get it than men.

Causes

Now there are many reasons it is said this happens, some of which are not mentioned below. I have my own theory you can read later.

Here are the main reasons medical doctors say it happens:


  • Tiny blood vessels under the affected skin may become abnormal or leaky.
  • Sun damage.
  • A tiny mite called demodex folliculorum may be involved. It lives harmlessly on the skin of many people but has been found in higher numbers in those with rosacea.
  • Abnormal immune reactions in the skin, which lead to inflammation.
  • Genetics may also be involved as rosacea may run in some families.
~ From patient.co.uk

Sun Cream


Rosacea, Embarrassment, Emotional Causes
More recently I have noticed an increase in soreness on my cheeks when using high SPF suncream. I have this feeling that more natural creams are far better for my skin. I would be interested to know your experience?

I know many people say we should stay out of the sun but I am a nature lover and refuse to let this stop me. I also find getting a light base tan in the summer helps a lot. I intend to try more natural sun creams soon and hopefully they have changed since I last used natural sun lotions. The ones I tried a few years ago were so thick and white my face looked ghostly after applying the sun lotion. I also find less greasy lotions are better too.

Sun does increase the redness substantially and so sunbathing is a challenge when on holiday because you leave the beach or sun-bed and get people telling you, you are burnt after only a short time in the sun, or your blushing when your not. This can be quite frustrating.

Rosacea & Embarrassment

You may think I am going to talk about how embarrassing it is to have rosacea but I am not. Instead I have been pondering the reason for rosacea. If you have rosacea I am keen to know if you have had similar experiences to me. 

I found that during times of calm and greater self-confidence the rosacea reduced and rarely flared up. At times when my self confidence and esteem were low it increased. I feel possibly rosacea is a sign of extreme sensitivity to the world. Sensitive in our own skin, sensitive to people, sensitive to criticism and more. There is nothing wrong with being sensitive by the way, but we need to take time out and find ways to accept who we are, and in the long term eventually love who we are. This is part of the process of growing as a person and I feel some childhood experiences as well as the delayed shock of my father's passing caused a flood of hormones, and caused feelings that had been buried to come to the surface. So much so they came straight to my skin, almost a flashing beacon saying "I am in deep distress here!! Help me".

During a particularly bad bout of acne rosacea one year I realised my own rosacea was also linked with sexual issues. A fear of my own sexuality, insecurity in that area and more. After I joined a Five Rhythms dance class where you dance freely and like there is no-one watching, I noticed a change in my skin. So exercise combined with an inner feeling of sexual creative energy flowing naturally through me seemed to make a big difference to my skin and the severity of the rosacea.

So What Can Be Done To Find Balance or Manage Rosacea?

Personally I did not go the topical steroids route, but I can understand why some with more severe rosacea would use them. For me, I am taking an inside out approach.

Firstly you need to begin digging, metaphorically speaking. Ask yourself the following questions:
  1. When did it start?
  2. What was happening at the time in your life when it began?
  3. Did you have any stress or trauma taking place at the time?
  4. Do you have any degree of embarrassment or shame related to your past or your childhood that could be surfacing in your skin?
  5. How do you feel about your own sexuality? Are you confident sexually? Do you self pleasure?
  6. Are you able to express this sexual energy in a creative way? As sexual energy is not just related to sexual interaction but also is a highly creative energy, is there anything you used to love doing or always wanted to try or create that you could begin now?
  7. Does the world seem a scary place to you?

If you see a correlation between any of your answers and the onset of rosacea you can then begin to tackle what is underlying it.

One method of dealing with emotional issues is EFT, otherwise known as Emotional Freedom Technique. It is a form of tapping on acupressure points. You tap on areas around the head, face and upper body to clear and balance any blocks or issues in the meridians of the body. It may sound wacky but it helped me cure myself of a extreme phobia to bees and reduced cravings to sugar. It also has enabled me to feel more confident in job interviews, and soothed panic attacks. It is free to do, you simply do it on yourself by following some of the basics HERE or you can also get a more detailed book like THE TAPPING SOLUTION here.

And if you are able to, in the privacy of your own home, do some kind of movement, free un-inhibited movement to free any stagnant energy that may be inside you. This may help. Sexually self pleasure and if you have a partner they can help too. Interesting that the female orgasm increases flushing to the cheeks, which does make me wonder if this is indeed related  to rosacea. All possibilities. If you are insecure about your sexuality, try to make peace with your body first.

FOOD INTOLERANCES

And lastly, it is good to address any food intolerances. I cut out refined sugar from my diet as blood sugar hikes can affect so many things in the body and I am soon to cut grains from my diet. After some research it appears acne and grains are not a good combination so I intend to write a blog post on this very soon.

Good luck and please share your own experiences and what has worked for you.

What products calm your rosacea?
What aggravates it?
Do you feel it has an emotional basis?

Thanks for popping by.




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