Red was not a new color to Kathleen Shoup. Her fair Irish complexion had blushed and flushed most of her life. But then as a roller dance skater, her cheeks began to look particularly red hot.
It was after she started skating competitively at the age of 48 that Shoup noticed her redness was worse. "My long workouts caused red blotches and they took longer to go away than before," she said. "I finally went to the dermatologist because I had a bad rash across my face," she added. The dermatologist diagnosed the rash as rosacea.
Shoup started using a topical antibiotic, which she applies daily, and was instructed to keep a two-week food journal to help identify anything she ate that might trigger flushing and flare-ups.
"I experimented with foods, spices and drinks," she said. "Alcohol and coffee were triggers." But she soon found her biggest challenge was avoiding flare-ups when she skated.
So Shoup devised a modified training routine. "I discovered battery-operated fans and misting bottles," she said. "I use them frequently when I skate and it lowers the temperature quickly and stops the burning sensation on my face. I also stop every 15 minutes for a cool-down break."
During her breaks, she drinks cool water and puts a frozen gel pack around her neck when needed to control flushing.
The routine has been so successful Shoup hasn't had to greatly change her lifestyle. She still skates competitively, and when people ask her about the fan and misting bottle, she uses the opportunity to broaden public knowledge of rosacea.
"I really feel in control now," Shoup said. Despite rosacea and the risk of flare-ups, Shoup's rosacea routine allows her to live her life the way she wants to.