Looking back, Susan Boyce remembers blushing easily as a child and not having any acne problems until well into her 20s, when she was diagnosed with "adult acne" and prescribed oral antibiotics to control it. "After seven years on the antibiotics, I became worried about long-term use and discontinued them," she said.
While in her 30s, family and friends began to make comments about her red face, and Susan also noticed the redness on her face and neck, as well as red, irritated eyes. When her eyes became swollen, she went to her family doctor, who diagnosed her with "pink eye" and prescribed drops that cleared the swelling, but not the redness and gritty feeling.
"I began to notice that my face would stay red for longer periods and occasionally a pustule would appear," she recalls. "Then one day, I woke up to find my face was literally covered in pustules."
At first she though she might have an allergy to something she ate or something in her house. "I monitored my diet, tore apart the furnace and shampooed all the carpets, but it didn't make a difference," Susan said.
She began reading articles on a medical Internet site and noticed one on rosacea. "Never having heard about rosacea, I looked up the symptoms and realized that was my problem."
Finally she went to a dermatologist who confirmed the diagnosis and prescribed oral antibiotics and topical therapy. "After only two weeks, my skin cleared up and my eyes felt better, although I continued to have some redness and a gritty feeling. I went to an eye doctor who diagnosed ocular rosacea and prescribed lubricant eyedrops for daytime use and an artificial tear product at night," she related.
Susan also began laser treatments for visible blood vessels about three months ago. She reports they have disappeared and that facial redness has been reduced in intensity and duration.
"Since I work outdoors, I always use a sunblock and wear a hat and sunglasses," she said. "I've taught myself to control stress and limit hot beverages and other triggers. I realize rosacea is an ongoing part of my life, and I hope someday there will be a cure for it."