For years, Jane Parks-McKay noticed her face was getting redder and her pores were becoming larger. The 60-year-old writer from Santa Cruz, Calif., saw a number of different doctors, but none ever mentioned the possibility of rosacea.
It was only when she began seeing a dermatologist about five years ago that Jane learned of the condition and realized she probably had been unknowingly battling rosacea for a long time. The doctor prescribed topical therapy for her.
Jane also found an esthetician in her hometown who helped her find a line of skin-care products that didn't irritate her sensitive skin. She quickly saw positive results.
"My complexion started to become the creamy one I'd always had and been complimented on years earlier before rosacea entered my life," Jane said.
Stress is the biggest rosacea trigger that Jane has been able to identify, but it was almost unavoidable, as she served as her husband's caregiver and then helped with her father's caregiving until he passed away this summer. She also suffers from sleep apnea and found the mask she wears each night wreaked havoc on her skin where it closely fitted her face. Together, Jane and her esthetician devised a daily skin-care regimen, as well as a schedule of monthly facials, that helps to keep her rosacea at bay.
Jane has not pinpointed any particular food or beverage triggers, but said she always tries to eat a well-balanced diet. She also makes a conscious effort to get enough sleep each night, and both measures have made a huge difference in her skin, she said.
Because her skin is now "almost 100 percent clear," Jane said she receives compliments instead of questions about her complexion. Still, she is not hesitant to talk about her rosacea and urges fellow rosacea sufferers not to lose faith.
"The main thing is to be a really smart consumer," she said. "My suggestion is to find a doctor who knows about and has experience in treating rosacea. Ask lots of questions. Also, find a skin-care product line that works for you. Remember, this is the only skin you'll ever have."