Rosacea can be a nightmare at Christmas as the combination of roaring log fires, alcohol, stress and rich food can make red skin rage.
However although for many just one glass of mulled wine can be enough to trigger a flare up, often poeple with rosacea are mistaken for drunks at the Christma party because a rosacea flare up can look like you’ve had a few too many!
Here one rosacea sufferer describes the humilitaion of being mistaken for a drunk at Christmas parties because of her red face.
Deborah Dooley, (49), is a writer from Devon
“The tinsel sparkled, the Christmas music jingled merrily from a nearby CD player, and all around me people enjoyed the party.
“Top up, anyone?’ boomed the host as he made his way through the crowd, a bottle of champagne in hand. I was chatting in a group, and I held out my empty glass, smiling my thanks. He was about to refilled it, when he laughed and gave me a sarcastic look. ‘Are you sure you want another love, you look like you’ve had more than enough already, judging by your face.”
Mortified, I turned to my husband Bob who was standing behind me. ‘I’ve only had one glass.” I hissed in embarrassment and anger. I could feel the heat in my face, I hated being thought of as a drunk.
‘You’re fine,’ he said. ‘You look great and it’s a party after all, you’re allowed to get a bit tipsy.’[quote]Now even my husband was calling me a drunk. I was furious as I knew I’d only had one small glasses of champagne and was feeling stone cold sober. I fought my way through the revellers to the nearest loo. The mirror confirmed my fears. My cheeks, nose and chin glowed ferociously. I looked like Rudolf on a bad day. NO wonder our host thought I’d had one too many![/quote]
Cursing myself for wearing a dark red dress – which now clashed horribly with my livid skin, I fished frantically in my bag for some foundation. It might be a merry Christmas for some, I thought grimly as I smothered layer upon layer of foundation over my skin, but I was feeling completely miserable.
My fair skin has always been prone to redness. But as I got into my forties, my complexion took on a life of its own – flushing bright red at the slightest thing. I didn’t need a doctor to tell me I had the skin condition Roseacea – I’m a health writer and I’d researched enough about it to know that I was a typical sufferer. My main triggers were alcohol, rich food, central heating and stress – which meant Christmas was guaranteed to make my skin flare into a livid red. And even though I always did my best not to let it spoil things for me, inevitably someone would remark on my high colour, usually in reference to any alcohol I was drinking, making me desperately self-conscious. I could see them judging me when they looked first at my face, then at my glass. “She likes her booze” I could see them thinking. It upset me because I’m a very conservative drinker, partly because of my general health and partly because I know what it does to my skin.[quote] I’ve lost count of the embarrassments I’ve suffered at numerous past Christmases. Walking into my relatives houses with a face scorching red, making me look like I was either flushed with anger, or had had a row with Bob in the car on the way over or that I was just plain embarrassed to see them, none of which was true of course. I’d always see them giving each other awkward sideways glances as I walked in. I wanted to just shout at everyone, “there’s nothing wrong, I’ve just got red skin,” but of course I couldn’t.[/quote]
Or striding confidently into office Christmas parties, only to feel my face boil the moment the warmth from inside hit my skin. Or wearing a lovely sparkly colourful dress to a drinks party with friends only to find my face flaring up and clashing hideously with whatever colour I was wearing. It’s why I almost always wear black to everything, and then I often get comments about it being Christmas not a funeral etc. I can’t win.
And of course then there’s the endless gibes and jokes from family and friends, “You’ve been hitting the sauce hard this year Deb,” or “You look like you could do with sticking to water from now,” or “ Are you OK, do you need to lie down?” I’m sure secretly half of my family thinks I’m an alcoholic.
In the past few years my skin has been so bad at Christmas that my heart sinks at the thought of it all, which is awful as I love Christmas. For the last few Christmases I’ve resorted to wearing tons and tons of make up, which not only makes me look like mutton dressed as lamb it also tends to go patchy after a while and irritates my skin, making me look piebald.
And in every Christmas family photo there’s me standing out like a neon sign, my face literally glowing. But last Christmas things came to a head for me, when I saw a photo of me – wearing a bright red jumper I’d been given as a Christmas present – which perfectly matched my face. I almost wept when I saw it. Did I really have to put up with this? Was I honestly going to spend the rest of my life teetotal, avoiding log fires and temperatures over 15 degrees, wearing morbid black and dreading every Christmas?
Despite being a really sociable person, last Christmas I even found myself trying to persuade Bob to avoid the rounds of sociable Christmas parties with friends, making out I was too tired, but really it was because I was so self-conscious about my skin. I have tried to tell myself not to be so ridiculous and vain, but as the weather turned to autumn this year I felt the same dread of Christmas returning as family and friends began discussing plans for the festive period. I felt I just wanted to shut myself at home and hide until Christmas was over.
But then I thought of my children and Bob and realized I was being completely selfish. I sat myself in the front of the mirror and vowed to find some kind of remedy this time so that I didn’t ruin another Christmas.
I worked my way through the various ‘anti-redness’ remedies on the market. Nothing worked.
My heart would sink not only at the vast cost of the skincare products I was buying but as I felt the familiar fiery flush begin after a glass of wine or a blustery walk in the countryside. My skin was getting worse not better. Even the short walk to our local pub to have lunch with friends left me with a burning red face. Within five minutes of sitting down in front of the crackling log fire I was glowing – I couldn’t enjoy my lunch as I caught concerned glances from our friends. All I wanted to do was get home and hide.[quote]A few weeks later I read an article about an actress in the TV series. She’s a fellow rosacea sufferer, and I was intrigued to read about a cream she was using called Kalme. It contained extract of capers, found in trials to soothe the inflammation of rosacea and reduce redness by up to 70%. Although it sounded too good to be true, I was keen to find out more and eventually I ordered some.[/quote]
The products arrived two days later – a cream cleanser, a day cream containing zinc oxide to provide high SPF protection to wear even in winter time, a night cream, and a tinted moisturiser, which was medicated as well as colour corrective. I’ve never got on with foundation because I find it too heavy. But I immediately liked the tinted moisturiser because although it provided coverage, it blended in perfectly with my skin tone and looked completely natural and was very light on my skin. Feeling cautiously optimistic, I started using all the products. They were smooth and silky on my skin, and I could feel the soothing ingredients doing their job.
After a week, my skin tone and texture looked smooth and even and much less red. That night Bob and I went to friends for dinner. It was a cold wet night, and although we wrapped up warm for the short walk, we were both chilled when we got there. ‘Come and sit by the fire and warm up,’ exclaimed our hostess when we arrived. Cautiously I edged closer, trying to warm my frozen feet without overheating my face! I accepted half a glass of red wine because everyone lese was drinking and I didn’t want to be the odd one out but I was dreading what my skin would do after eth sudden warmth and half a glass of wine. But half an hour later I was enjoying a meal with friends and although I felt warm and very slightly flushed, the awful tingling that comes before my face turns into a tomato didn’t happen.
Half way through the evening I nipped to the loo. My reflection smiled back at me – cool and collected, with the merest hint of blush – mostly concealed by the tinted moisturiser.
Since then I’ve used Kalme products faithfully –and the Kalme creams have done a fantastic job of calming down my red skin.
And because I’m not getting so flushed, I don’t get stressed or embarrassed so much, and I feel cooler and calmer all round. The vicious circle of flush-stress-heat-flush has finally been broken.[quote]I was dreading, for the sake of my skin, the cocktail of roaring log fires, plenty of booze and rich food that comes with Christmas – things that I should usually look forward to. But now that I’ve found a way of dealing with my red skin, I’m convinced it’s going to be my merriest Christmas for years. Having a calm face this year will be the best Christmas present I could wish for adn it’s all thanks to KALME proudcts.”[/quote]