This blog addresses my own personal beauty struggles. These are the topics I know the most about and I would like to share how I’m trying to overcome them with you all in case you have these issues too. I’ve talked a little about hooded eyes already, but I want to talk about my redness today because, especially in the winter months, that is my biggest issue. My whole life, I’ve had ruddy cheeks. They get redder when I drink or I am hot or cold or when I blush. Sometimes, people ask me if I’m ill because the contrast between the pale area around my mouth and my red cheek is so stark. I self tan throughout the year to even out my skin tone a little and diminish that contrast. The biggest problem, in terms of treating redness, is diagnosing what is causing it. I will address the difference between rosy cheeks, eczema, and rosacea in this post, so that you may all be able to tell what is causing your redness and be able to treat it. This will be a long post and a lot may not be relevant for you, but I wanted it to be as comprehensive as possible, so I’ve tried to separate the information into clear sections. Also, photos of skin issues may be unpleasant for some, but I felt I couldn’t leave them out.
Rosacea is the most commonly blamed condition for redness that I see. If you Google “red cheeks” or “treating facial redness,” you will get hits almost exclusively for rosacea. So, in that way, if your issue is rosacea, there is a ton of information out there and lots of different products that are designed to help. However, rosacea has no cure. Also, rosacea is often diagnosed for a wide spectrum of symptoms. Rosacea.org has some great info and it breaks down four subtypes of rosacea that show the variety of symptoms (quotations and photos come from the website):
Subtype 1: Facial Redness
“Characterized by flushing and persistent redness, and may also include visible blood vessels.”
Subtype 2: Bumps and Pimples
“Characterized by persistent redness with transient bumps and pimples.”
Subtype 3: Skin Thickening
“Characterized by skin thickening, often resulting in an enlargement of the nose from excess tissue.”
Subtype 4: Eye Irritation
“Characterized by ocular manifestations such as dry eye, tearing and burning, swollen eyelids, recurrent styes and potential vision loss from corneal damage.”
The most common subtype is 2. It is often misdiagnosed as acne and can cause extreme insecurity for those who have it. The cause of rosacea is not known and that makes it difficult to treat effectively, although there are medications and topical treatments designed to calm rosacea. Rosacea usually comes in flare-ups. The bumps may not be there all the time, or they may be smaller or fewer in number most of the time. Depending on severity, there are several brands that cater to rosacea sufferers: Clinique has a redness line, First Aid Beauty has an anti-redness serum, and there are several others that will calm the skin and reduce the chance and severity of flare-ups. If you have more severe rosacea, you may need to see a dermatologist. Rosacea.org and the American Academy of Dermatology agree that if left untreated, rosacea can get worse, although you are not destined to move through the subtypes in succession.
For whatever reason, I find this word very hard to spell and I keep wanting to stick an x in there. Eczema, also called dermatitis, is similar in appearance to the bumpy subtype of rosacea, but it is itchy. Eczema is also a rash that flares up and goes away, but the trigger for the rash is different depending on the person. Both eczema and rosacea suffers often have very sensitive skin and using the wrong product can cause a flare-up. If you have eczema, you should see a dermatologist first and talk to them about products you can use. You’ll see in the above photo, facial eczema can look exactly like bumpy rosacea, so it’s just a question of whether the rash itches. If it does, you probably have eczema.
Talk about difficult words to spell. Psoriasis often gets lumped in with eczema and rosacea, but it is a little different. The rash is accompanied with silvery scales on top. It is itchy like eczema and it can be red, but the primary feature is silver, flaking skin caused by skin cells going into hyperdrive. If you have psoriasis, go to the dermatologist who may give you a topical steroid.
My redness is a little different from the others listed here. I was told by my parents and a dermatologist that I had rosacea and I was treated for that. However, my redness did not diminish at all. Over the course of years, absolutely nothing changed.
I don’t know if you can tell from the picture (my mouth is wide open because I was laughing- this was the best picture of my redness I could find), but most of my cheek is red. The area around my mouth is pale and so is the area around my eyes. My ear is a little red, as well. I do not have bumps and there are no blood vessels visible. The dermatologist believed that I had a mild version of subtype 1 rosacea. However, none of the rosacea treatments have worked for me. Also, my face gets redder, as I mentioned before, with drinking and changes in temperature, but I don’t have flare-ups in the common sense. My face is always red; it just goes from a dusty red to vermillion. It is possible I have subtype 1 rosacea and I just haven’t found the right treatment yet, but it is also possible that I just have rosy cheeks. Rosy cheeks, or ruddy cheeks, are often synonymous with rosacea, but they don’t have to be. I have since seen another dermatologist who told me that I may just have capillaries close to the surface of my skin that cause the redness and absolutely nothing can be done about that.
So, when talking about redness on this blog, I’m really looking for advice as well as sharing any information I have. I have not found a treatment that works for me. I am currently using the Clinique Redness Solutions regimen and so far, nothing has changed, but it has only been about a month.
I will keep you all updated about any products I find that claim to help redness and any that I’ve tried. Let me know if you know of any products that help non-rosacea redness.
Photos come from WebMD, Rosacea.org, and MayoClinic