A guest blog from Robert Jackson on identifying and dealing with an allergy…
At the age of 35, I started to develop red blemishes on my
face. Mainly around my cheeks to start with, then my forehead and the backs of
The red patches came and went, but as time went on they came
for more time than they went, up to the point where it was consistently
It felt itchy, tender and was a bit flakey. Kind of like
sunburn, which many people thought it was.
If this sounds like something you have, and your doctor has
said that it could be Rosacea, this post could help you reduce the
redness and get your skin condition under control.
But before we get
into the solution…
I’d like to give you a bit of background to help you
identify if this could be something you are suffering from.
As a child I suffered from eczema and have had bouts of it
during different periods of my life, but nothing too serious that some creams
I also have ulcerative colitis, which affects my
intestines and ability to digest food properly. Fortunately, this is not too
severe either so is easily managed.
I’m not sure if these things are related, but I would
suggest that there is a link somewhere. The body is so complex that we barely
understand how it works fully.
I’m sure that in years to come we will be able to identify
patterns and help people better through understanding how different parts of
the body work together.
The journey of
It came to a point where the redness was so bad that I felt
embarrassed to go outside. I would only go to work and then home.
I had tried everything the doctors prescribed, from creams
to lotions. Nothing seemed to work. I was becoming more anxious that I would
not be able to resolve the problem and I’d be stuck with it for life.
A diet that helped my
I had also tried out a relaxed rice and potato diet where I
basically ate only a handful of ingredients, this included:
- White rice
- Olive oil
This diet seemed to work well. I did it for 10 days and the
Rosacea cleared up but it was way too hard to maintain. And not healthy either,
as it lacked a good enough range of vegetables, protein and vitamins.
The triggers which set Rosacea off
If you look online, you can find an unlimited number of
websites listing trigger foods. Every food is on one of the
lists it seems. And trust me, I have scoured all the lists!
Then there are other factors, like stress, anxiety, heat,
cold, etc. You name it, it’s on a list. Just reading them fills you with
anxiety and makes you think your life is over!
Note: One thing I am 100% sure triggers my Rosacea is sweating. When I exercise and sweat a lot, it stings and makes me come out with red blotches. Fortunately, I know how to calm it back down now, more on that later.
I decided to try out an allergy test. There are various opinions on
how valid they are, but I was desperate and wanted to try whatever I could to
help resolve my situation.
I went for the complete body test one as it seemed the most
complete test out there, including both allergy testing and intolerance tests.
I got my results back and found I had two main allergies.
One to pollen, which I already knew about, and one to meat. I used to eat a lot
of meat, perhaps 3 times a day.
On a path to recovery
The first thing I did was to remove meat from my diet, so I
Note: It’s not
recommended to change your diet drastically without first seeking medical
I noticed that things started to improve. I then changed up
the fruits and vegetables that I ate to reduce or remove the foods which were
had a positive reaction on my intolerance test.
Making both of these changes definitely helped me to feel better, less itchy and red-faced.
Taking it up a level
I then found out about a cream from The Ordinary which contains Azelaic Acid. The
word acid sounds bad but it’s actually a naturally occurring substance.
I couldn’t believe that no one had recommended this to me
before because it is known to help with Rosacea. You can even get it as a
My experience with
When I first put it on my skin it really stung for around 20
minutes. I was so worried it was causing a bad reaction and making things
Fortunately, there was no reaction on my skin and after some
time it settled down. Every time I put it on again, the same stinging would
happen but for less time.
I applied it morning and night and after around 5 days I had
no stinging and my redness had pretty much completely gone.
I’d highly recommend anyone with Rosacea try it out, but
remember to always seek professional advice before trying it out.
Keeping it at bay
I now have two ways to control my Rosacea:
- Make sure to eat mainly a
- Apply azelaic acid every
morning and night
Pro tip: If you
sweat, make sure to rinse your face when you can and then apply some azelaic
It took me around 1 year and lots of trial and error but
with help from the allergy testing and finding out about azelaic acid, I now
have my Rosacea under control.
Good luck to anyone else looking to find a solution, as I
know how hard it can be to deal with on both a physical and emotional level.
Robert Jackson is the owner of PT Pod, a personal training and massage studio and a personal trainer at Minimal FiT in Canary Wharf, London. He helps office workers with limited time to train get fitter, stronger and lose weight.
For more information on identifying an allergy, click here.