The following post has been written by Sulochana from The Petite Damsel and goes through her Skin Story.
My skin issue started when I was in college. When my friends that acne issues during high school days, I didn’t even have a single pimple of my face, I had clear skin.. But it changed and got worse once college started. I went to Delhi for college, the climate is very different from what I was used to. Little did I know that the pollution and the harsh Sun were damaging my skin. Back then I wasn’t much aware of skin care. I used to wear a moisturizer and that was it. Being out in the Sun without a Sunscreen did a lot of damage. My skin became dry and sensitive. Although I applied my moisturizer religiously, my skin was dehydrated. Soon I noticed that my face would turn pink minutes after I stepped out in the Sun and become very irritated. My cousin sister recommended me to use a Sunscreen and it started using it every day. After few months, bumps with whitehead started appearing and the skin around them were red. It first started around my mouth and it spread on my nose. I thought I started having acne.
I went to see a dermatologist and she recommended using Linical lotion which contains Calamine and it helped reduce the irritation and the bumps. When I first started using the lotion, the bumps started reducing and then disappeared. I was happy thinking the lotion cured my acne. My face would still turn pink whenever I stepped out in the Sun and I would apply more Sunscreen hoping that’ll help. But after almost a year during spring season, those bumps & whiteheads re-appeared and the condition was worse, I couldn’t even open my mouth properly to eat. I visited the same dermatologist and she prescribed a gel ointment and a tablet. She said the gel would dry up the whiteheads and the tablet is to control the irritation and itchiness. The tablet did what was expected but the gel ointment would dry up the skin so badly that it started to feel stretchy and patchy.
I went back to the dermatologist again, she looked nervous seeing my skin condition. She gave me a Cetaphil lotion and asked me to stop using the gel ointment and use the lotion instead. I skipped college for 2 weeks. I stayed at home, I didn’t even step out to the balcony because my neighbors were asking me what happened to my face. I decided to hide from people. After 2 weeks, the whiteheads, dryness all was healed and I started going to college. The dermatologist said I have a very sensitive skin and the bumps are “allergies”. She asked me to use scarf to cover my face when in Sun or in dusty places. I followed her advice.
The “allergies” didn’t appear for almost 3 years, by then I had graduated, moved to South India and started working full time. This time the “allergies” appeared during autumn season. I woke up one day to find that the tablet, gel ointment, lotion hadn’t cured the “allergies”, rather spread all over my face. That day I took day off from work and went to see a new dermatologist, since I had left Delhi. She examined and said they were allergies and prescribed a tablet, this tablet was different from what was prescribed by my previous dermatologist. She gave me 3 different doses (16mg, 8mg & 4mg) and advised me to take a 16mg tablet the same day after food. And then gradually reduce the doses. The tablet was to reduce inflammation of the skin. Overnight, I could see the bumps were drying up and becoming flaky.
I went to work next day, colleagues started asking what happened to my skin. It was like my college days all over again. But I had to go to work wearing scarf around my mouth. I would even try to eat alone in the pantry so that nobody will be disgusted with my skin. But my colleagues didn’t mind and they would still eat with me in the cafeteria. (I felt blessed to have had those colleagues who become my close friends now). It took weeks for the “allergies” to heal. For about 2 and half years, the “allergies” didn’t appear but I had a feeling that they will appear again. When they started reappearing it was few around the mouth and nose, few on the forehead but never at the same time. I would take the tablet every time they appear and it would control them.
By end of 2016, these “allergies” started appearing and wouldn’t go even after me having the tablet. My face was more red than ever. I went to the dermatologist. My previous (2nd) dermatologist had moved to a different city so I had to see a new dermatologist. He recommended using the same tablet whenever the “allergies” appeared. He also recommended Bio-Oil. So, I kept taking the tablet whenever the bumps appeared and applied Bio-oil. The dryness of the skin reduced within days from using Bio-Oil. But it’s result stopped after 3-4 months. The allergies kept appearing and my skin was flaky. I tried multiple moisturizers to see which one worked. Any product would work only for few months.
In 2017, my enthusiasm for beauty and make-up grew, although I couldn’t wear any because of my skin condition. I was scared and the dermatologist also advised me not to apply makeup as it will only worsen the condition. I bought beauty products which can be used on sensitive skin and wore only on special occasions. During summer 2017, the allergies were getting worse and the tablet didn’t help much. I had to keep taking 16mg. My face started becoming puffy and eyes swollen. I didn’t know what to do. All the visit to the dermatologists, using recommended products, having a regime for skin care – nothing helped. I was just spending a huge chunk of my savings trying to find a cure for my skin condition.
When I was going through this bad phase, a good friend of mine who has acne problem asked me if I wanted to visit her dermatologist. She said he is pretty good with the diagnosis and prescribes products that really work. I decided to give one last shot and visited the dermatologist with her. He examined my skin and said “You’ve rosacea”. I was scared because I haven’t heard any body with rosacea say it’s cured. He recommended using Avene products. He asked me to reduce in-take of tea/coffee, spicy food, avoid long exposure to Sun. I was sad to hear that because I love tea. But I took his advice.
That was my last visit to dermatologist. I still use Avene products, it doesn’t always work. When Avene doesn’t work, I go back to using Bio-oil. Sometimes, I use Clinique products. I have to keep shuffling the products, as no product works for more than 3-4 months. I do keep the tablet in my medicine box to take when rosacea goes worse. Since the tablet control inflammation of the skin, it reduces the redness and bumpiness of the skin. I believe I have watched every YouTube video and read so many articles about Rosacea, trying to find out what can help my skin. Nothing is really helping. I have been keeping a track and trying to find what triggers my rosacea. So far, I found that hot/cold/humid weather triggers rosacea, dust and even cold wind, exposure to Sunlight for more than an hour or so, when I sweat from exercising or dancing and when I am stressed out. I have now decided to accept my skin condition and use the products recommended by the multiple dermatologist (except for the gel-ointments) whenever necessary. I don’t apply make-up everyday to work and use only when there are any special occasions.
I found that finding peace with my skin condition is actually reducing my stress about it. I am no longer embarrassed about my rosacea. When people ask, I let them know what it is. As per the dermatologist, rosacea is not a very common skin condition in India. So far in my rosacea journey, my skin gets very sensitive, puffy, swollen, bumps & whiteheads, redness, dry & patchy, dehydrated, inflamed, scars from any big whiteheads and they take months to heal.
Thank you for reading Sulo’s story, I hope it has been as interesting for everyone else as it has been for me. Click through this link here to check out the last post in the series which followed a friend of mine who has suffered from eczema.