Nat Dean, a 51-year-old artist, designer and writer from Santa Fe who was diagnosed with rosacea in her late 40s, was among the many rosacea sufferers who feel self-conscious about their appearance during outbreaks -- but not anymore.
Nat said her dermatologist diagnosed her condition when she began to develop a few small pustules on her cheeks, and he prescribed a topical medication that she continues to use to this day. She also applies a special face wash and a rotation of lotions to combat the dry New Mexico climate, in addition to avoiding her rosacea triggers.
Heat is a major aggravating factor, not only for Nat´s rosacea but for her body in general. She said a traumatic brain injury from an accident many years ago disrupted her body´s ability to regulate her "internal thermostat," so she takes extra caution to make sure she doesn't overheat.
"I have a lot of hats with big brims and I also have a small spray bottle with a battery-operated fan attached," she said. "If I'm going to an outdoor event in the summer, I bring these."
Then one day not long ago, Nat happened to stumble across a television demonstration of pure mineral powder makeup that featured several women with rosacea.
"I tried using it in my natural color tone, and the compliments began coming my way," she said. "It provides the finishing touch I need, and now I use it whenever I have a breakout." She pointed out that in her case it has never irritated her sensitive skin.
Nat noted that she has adapted one of the coping strategies she learned from her brain injury to help her deal with rosacea. "I don't say 'my' rosacea; I say 'the' rosacea," she said. "If I take ownership of the condition, if I make it mine, I worry about it more, and it thereby becomes worse."