Denise Balzo had always taken great pains to look her best. She exercised nearly every day and was blessed with a clear complexion. Then, two years ago the heartache began.
"It started after a death in my family," Balzo said. "I was under such tremendous stress, I started to break out."
Balzo developed a red area on her cheeks and across her nose. More alarming than the redness, though, was the severity of the bumps and pimples that appeared.
"I was totally distraught," she said. "I had never had a complexion problem before. I was so depressed I didn't want to leave the house."
Out of desperation, Balzo tried numerous over-the-counter acne treatments. But in the end, they only succeeded in making her skin condition worse.
Balzo finally sought help from a dermatologist, who diagnosed her rosacea and, after some trial and error, got an appropriate treatment plan for her condition. Using antibiotics and a revised skin-care routine, Balzo started to see some improvements. She also changed her lifestyle, choosing less vigorous workouts, avoiding certain foods, alcohol and the sun, and trying to deal more effectively with stress. In four to five months, her condition was well under control.
"I sympathize with anyone who has rosacea," Balzo said. "It's a heartache for people. This disease took over my life for two years. My family simply couldn't understand."
Of Italian descent, Balzo said her family had never heard of rosacea before.
Thanks to medical therapy and behavior changes to avoid her rosacea tripwires, Balzo has resumed her normal life. She is now working part-time in a jewelry store and busy with her six-year-old son. "I am busy with more pleasant things and people, and I love it," she said.