Managing rosacea is a challenge for many people, but Sylvia Hasson has an added difficulty: Her treatment options are limited by multiple allergies, including an allergic reaction to oral antibiotics. Nevertheless, Sylvia, who was well into her 60s before she suffered her first rosacea flare-up, said she has been able to cope with the help of her dermatologist.
"The first time I had it, it was terrible," Sylvia said, describing her face as very red and irritated. She went to her doctor, who suspected she might have allergies and performed a variety of skin-scratch tests. The results proved his hunch: Sylvia was allergic to a host of common irritants, including antibiotics.
But he also diagnosed that she had rosacea. He prescribed a short-term course of an oral steroid, which immediately cleared up Sylvia's face, as well as long-term use of topical rosacea therapy to help maintain remission. Sylvia also avoids factors that aggravate her condition and thinks she has identified her worst trigger — the sun.
"The last time I really got it bad was when a woman came to the door and she just wanted to keep talking," she said. "My face was in the full sun and I knew it wasn't good for me, but I couldn't end the conversation."
When Sylvia was first diagnosed, she wrote to the National Rosacea Society for information about the condition. Although she has incorporated many of the tips into her lifestyle, such as identifying and avoiding her triggers, there is one suggestion she was reluctant to follow: Discuss your condition with others. In fact, the only outsider she discussed her condition with was a fellow rosacea sufferer and the classic woman's confidante. So, until now, only her hairdresser knew.