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 my ears.
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 visible.
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 wouldn’t fix.
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 discovery…
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 Rosacea
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 became vegetarian.
Note: It’s not recommended to change your diet drastically without first seeking medical advice.
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 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 prescription cream.
My experience with azelaic acid
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 worse!
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 vegetarian diet
- 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 acid cream.
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.