I’m very used to having red cheeks. I’ve had them for more than fifteen years. It started off as a bit of extra pink – almost a sun-kissed look – but this rosiness darkened from month to month and from year to year until my face was closer to the shade of a beet than a flower. Some makeup helped to cover that up, but it became more challenging when the little whitehead pimple-like bumps decided to join the mix.

Those are the visible symptoms of rosacea that affect me. They’re the reason I’m continually greeted by sales clerks in stores with well-intended comments such as “whoops, someone spent too much time in the sun” or, “oh, look at those rosy cheeks. It must be cold out!”

Inside, the feeling of rosacea is far worse than a bit of redness or a pimple or two. It can be a constant physical discomfort such as burning, stinging or even pain. Emotionally, it can be scarring.

A study conducted by the National Rosacea Society described the “damage to quality of life and emotional well-being” from having rosacea (http://rosacea.org/press/archive/20070608.php). The research involved the participation of 603 patients with the skin disorder, among whom 73 percent said the impact on their personal appearance had “diminished their outlook on life.”

• 69 percent of the participants had been embarrassed by their rosacea symptoms;
• 65 had suffered from feelings of frustration;
• 41 percent were battling with anxiety stemming from their symptoms;
• 35 percent felt like they were helpless;
• 25 percent had gone through – or were currently going through – depression;
• 18 percent were combating feelings of isolation.

I can believe it because I can relate. I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder when I was in my early twenties. The last thing I need is to know that I have flaming-red cheeks and acne-like bumps when I’m trying to keep up my self-confidence in public. Disorder aside, knowing that people all around you are judging you by your appearance and knowing that you’ve unsuccessfully done everything you can to try to overcome the symptoms can certainly bring about feelings of embarrassment, frustration, anxiety, helplessness, depression and isolation.

The fact that stress makes this condition worse makes sure those feelings will continue to turn the wheel of that vicious cycle.

It took me fifteen years to finally control my rosacea. It hasn’t gone away. I still have flare-ups now and again, but it’s under control. It took a long time but despite an initial misdiagnosis and despite my anxiety disorder, I am managing my rosacea. If I can do it, anyone can. It may take time but through education about the skin disorder and through persistence, I believe there is a strategy for everyone’s triggers and symptoms.

There is a treatment for each of us, my Rosy Friends. The key is to keep trying, keep testing, keep talking, never give up and stick together. You’re allowed a sulk or a tantrum now and again – especially when another 12 weeks of testing something new and promising ends up being just another fail – but once you’re done, get a good sleep and start fresh in the morning. After all, tomorrow might be the day when you finally find what works for you.


Julie B. Campbell

Fantasy fiction novelist (Perspective series) and freelance writer, Julie B. Campbell, is passionate about learning, testing, reviewing and sharing on the topic of rosacea; a condition from which she has suffered for over a decade and a half. Julie’s “Rosy Friends” are a community of followers on YouTube, social media and her blog, where she documents her experiences with rosacea and the treatments and products she has tried over the years.

Julie first created her blog in the hopes of helping to reduce the struggle for her Rosy Friends in identifying personal rosacea triggers and discovering the right skin care and treatment strategy for their unique skin needs and budget, while doing the same for herself. This effort rapidly expanded onto YouTube, Facebook and Twitter where she is known as Rosy JulieBC.

As there is neither a cure nor a single treatment that works for all rosacea sufferers, Julie shares her own 15+ years of trial-and-error to give people ideas to discuss with their doctors and dermatologists when developing their own treatment strategies. These include everything from finding topical skin care and treatment products to healthful eating habits, from avoiding triggers to using daily LED light therapy and from sun protection to lifestyle hacks.

Subscribe to her Rosy JulieBC YouTube channel here:


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