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Tidbits – Rosacea

When I was at the Guerlain & Champagne event at Neiman Marcus, one of the lovely MUAs there was looking at my face and said I may have the start of rosacea, so I should see a dermatologist. I immediately called to make an appointment to get in as soon possible. Well, as soon as possible was Monday. Ray was kind and went with me to the dermatologist. I got there 15 minutes before my appointment, as instructed, to fill out the paperwork. Before I was finished with the paperwork, I was ushered into a room to wait for the doctor.

After speaking with the doctor, she examined my skin. I had thoughtfully just cleansed and moisturized, as well as brought some of my skincare products with me since I figured she would want to know what I use. I’m pleased to say she liked what she saw! She was also relieved that I came sans makeup. Apparently a lot of patients come wearing makeup, which makes it hard for her to examine their skin unless they wash it off.

The Skincare products that I brought:

  • LaVanila The Healthy Sun Screen SPF 40 Face Cream
  • Supergoop! Antioxidant – Infused Sunscreen Day Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 50+
  • Paula’s Choice RESIST Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum
  • Paula’s Choice RESIST Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator
  • Paula’s choice Earth Sourced Perfectly Natural Cleansing Gel


The dark areas within the circle are the areas of rosacea on my face. They’re the dark spots that bug me. the skin texture is different on my face on those areas. The rosacea is not the entire area of skin, just the dark spots in it. And yes, I’m wearing foundation in that pic.

I do blush easily, and you can see that I have a strong pink overtone on my cheeks, but I only have small areas of skin with a different texture.

What is Rosacea?
It’s a common skin disease that begins as tendency to blush easily. As it progresses, people often develop red in the center of their face. It gradually spreads to their nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. It mostly affects fair-skinned individuals, and more women than men are affected. About 14 million Americans have rosacea.

The Dermatologist said several things:

  1. I have rosacea.
  2. I’ve prevented damage by using moisturizer with SPF and avoiding the sun.
  3. My face is inflamed.

She said it is likely that I’ve had rosacea for a while. I did mention that every time I wash my face, my face is red afterwards and I assumed that was sensitive skin. She said it is both a sign of sensitive skin and rosacea. She said that my break outs could be brought on by rosacea. She said rosacea is exacerbated by anxiety and stress. It’s a life-long condition that doesn’t tend to reverse itself.

She commended me on the fact that I’m using good products, and that I apply moisturizer with sunscreen daily to my face, neck, hands and chest. She said so many don’t use sunscreen often enough, so more damage can be done. So she wants to get my face to a non-inflamed state. She wrote me scripts for two prescriptions:

  1. Aczone 5% gel (morning use)
  2. Metrogel 1% gel (evening use)

She said that I could continue using my skincare products for now. She said it could take up to 2 months to see an improvement in my skin. I have an appointment for 3 months from now to get a full body check done and an evaluation on my face.

I’m supposed to keep a log any time I have a flare up, including breaking out from zits. She believes they’re caused by rosacea.

Things to do if you have rosacea:

  • Practice good sun protection. My dermatologist is confident that I already do this.
  • Avoid spicy foods, some alcoholic beverages, hot drinks and caffeine, which can be triggers.
  • Protect my skin from extreme hot and cold temperatures, which can exacerbate rosacea.
  • Exercise in a cool environment and do not overheat.
  • Protect your face from the cold with a scarf.
  • Avoid rubbing, massaging or scrubbing the face.
  • Avoid cosmetics and skincare products that contain alcohol or witch hazel.

Now, not everything will trigger a flare up in someone with rosacea, which is why it’s important to keep a log.

I don’t often see rosacea discussed on beauty blogs, so I wanted to share my experience. I’ll continue to share. I’m kind of relieved that I’ve always thought I had sensitive skin, so I’ve been treating my skin the way it should be treated. I’m curious to see if the medications help.

Do you have rosacea? Do you know anyone who has it?

Products purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

  • From our partners
    • http://projectswatch.blogspot.com Emi at Project Swatch

      I don’t have rosacea (as far as I know, at least) – but this is an incredibly helpful & informative post.

      It’s also a really good reminder to be careful about sun protection – good suncare is just so essential. And I’m glad to hear that your good habits have really helped your skin!

      Thanks so much for posting this!

    • Corviddreams

      I was also just diagnosed with Rosacea. The blistery bumps that I get from bismuth oxychloride are a rosacea flare up. Apparently it is a trigger for a lot of people with rosacea. Unfortunately, once I get them, it takes months to get rid of them. =\ I have been using Finacea gel because I also have acne, and apparently that will work for rosacea too, and I am taking an oral antibiotic.

    • Angela

      Thanks so much for posting this information; it’s good to know what to look out for. Hope the treatment works :)

    • Roxanne

      Thanks so much for the information! Ive suspected for a long time that I have rosacea, but I’ve never really known what to do about it. Here in Canada, the system is a little different and i have to get a referral to see a dermatologist, which cOuld take months…

      Unfortunately we’re in the middle of a heat wave here and with no air conditioning and it not cooling down at night (combined with the very, very low humidity) my skin is suffering!

    • Corviddreams

      I took my Silk Naturals products in for my dermatologist to look at and she was pretty impressed. According to her, they have a short ingredient list, which is good, and that what was there was effective. She also said that the Super Serum was especially good for me to use because niacin can be beneficial for those with rosacea.

      • http://www.whimsybeading.com WhimsicalKelly

        I love Silk Naturals, but the Super Serum ate my face alive, and I’m thinking it was the Niacin. Some people react strongly to it, and I guess I’m one of them.

        I had much better luck with the Awesome Sauce serum and I love the Firming Moisturizer. The Aloe gel base feels so good on my skin, especially during a rosacea flare up.

    • T

      Thank you for posting this, especially with the pictures of the rosacea spots. Really great for reference and to think about if I actually need to go to the dermatologist for it.

    • Sarsie

      Great post! It’s great that you caught it early.

      I have what my dermatologist termed “mild” rosacea. What triggered me to get the referral was the difference in skin texture in the areas of my face that have rosacea. I realized that it was more than just occasional breakouts. My skin is incredibly sensitive, and products like Cetaphil (which many dermatologists recommend) are still too harsh for me. I used MetroLotion for a number of years, but within the past year I’ve been able to stop using it due to the skin care and makeup products I’ve been using. I still get the occasional flare-up, but it’s not too bad. I just have to pay attention to the triggers and be gentle with my skin.

    • http://www.whimsybeading.com Whimsical Kelly

      I have rosacea too. It can be very painful during a breakout. I’ve found that the Yes to Cucumbers facial mask is a godsend for when things are very bad. It cools and soothes. Another great thing is rosewater and glycerin (NOT the Burt’s Bees toner of the same name, which has alcohol). I keep rosewater and glycerin in a metal spray bottle in my bathroom vanity. The rosewater helps the redness and inflammation, it cools your skin, and the glycerin helps your skin retain moisture. I usually spray it on the last thing at night before I go to bed.

      • Corviddreams

        I keep spray bottles filled with rose water in my bathroom, my purse, and my fridge. I especially like the refrigerated one during the hot summer months.

        • http://www.whimsybeading.com WhimsicalKelly

          Isn’t it the best? One of my doctors has rosacea and loves to garden. She can’t stop thanking me for introducing her to rosewater spray.

          I keep a bottle in my fridge too. A few weeks ago when it was over 100 every day, it was the first thing I’d reach for when I got home.

    • Jean

      Ok, that’s it. This very post has convinced me to buy and wear sunscreen EVERY DAY. Just ordered some after reading this. I’ve been horribly lax about it (really good about all other skincare, but not sunscreen) and I’m in my 30s – must be taking care of my skin! So thank you for this final push; I needed it.

      • Sarsie

        Yay for wearing sunscreen! :) If it helps at all, my dermatologist said that people don’t necessarily need to wear both a sunscreen and a moisturizer. She said that most facial sunscreens are moisturizing, and conversely, if you buy a moisturizer with a good SPF, you don’t need to put on an additional sunscreen.

        In 10 years, you’ll be very happy for the sunscreen. I’ve worn it for most of my adult life and I also try to stay out of the sun when possible, and I don’t have any wrinkles or sun damage (I’m 44).

    • http://justmeleah.blogspot.co.uk Leah

      I believe I have rosacea. I’ve always had a problem with flushing when going from a cold environment to a warm one, but have noticed in the last few years after having a shower, exercising or going swimming I get really red, hot and painful skin which really burns. It’s on either side of my nose on my cheeks and can stay flushed for upwards of an hour. After your post I’ve resolved to see my doctor about it and also switch to a foundation or tinted moisturiser with high SPF. Thanks for this post.

    • http://www.tinyskillet.com Lyndsey

      This has been very imformative post. I don’t have rosacea, but it is interesting to know what can trigger it and that it can be brought on later down the road. I have been using sunscreen in my moisturizers for a long time now. My daughter is lucky she has been using it all her life…and she does get complimented on her looks. :)

    • NoorInNJ

      I, too have rosacea and another tip that is really useful is….avoid stress! I know that is easier said than done, but I know that if I get stressed out my skin literally builds up into a huge blush/flush. The more you can get your get your stress under control, the less you will trigger the mechanism that will cause your skin to flush. I try to avoid it as much as possible because when I’m flushed, it can literally take hours to fade away. So keep calm and carry on, everyone! :)

    • http://cinseven13.blogspot.com/ cinseven13

      Great post! I agree that it’s not something that’s commonly discussed even though so many people have it. This is good inspiration for me to finish my post on rosacea!!

    • http://www.lillianfunnyface.blogspot.com Lillian

      I’m not sure but I think I might have very mild rosacea. My cheeks down to my jaw are always bright red. Though it could be something to do with blood vessels I guess.

      • http://www.lillianfunnyface.blogspot.com Lillian

        Also when I blush or get hot I go bright, bright red, like a lobster. Great post!

    • http://pearlsquirrel.blogspot.com Pearl Squirrel

      I’m glad you wrote about this!

      I think I have rosacea too. I at least have couperose, but they often go hand in hand, and I have some similar dark spots. I have senstive skin and a lot of tiny broken capilaries, and my nose/cheecks are always red.

      I have problems with my capilaries and veins in general, they are quite weak and I tend to get varicose veins on my legs too.. I think there’s not much I can do about it. I stopped using agressive cleaners and scrubs, and I avoid temperature changes if I can. And I never skip my suncreen anymore…

      I hope the treatment helps!

    • Corviddreams

      One last thing- I HIGHLY recommend this bar for cleaning the face: http://www.vitacost.com/natures-plus-natural-beauty-cleansing-bar. The ingredients are allantoin and vitamin E. It is the gentlest method for cleaning my face that I have found, and it rinses away very easily. A downside is that it is a soap that melts easily, so keep it as dry as possible. I have so many skin allergies that I use this as a body bar too. The other downside is that it is sometimes hard to find. I order mine online.

    • http://glamourandghouls.blogspot.com/ Spooki

      I’ve had it since I was 7, it’s patchy and really obvious unless I layer on the makeup. Temp extremes or quick changes make me flush but it’s not bothered by much else.

      I really don’t care about it much any more, I just wish people wouldn’t feel the need to constantly ask me what is wrong with my face in the LOUDEST voice possible in public places. I had someone stop me at work yesterday and say “your face is really red, I think you have a rash, honey”… seriously.

      • NoorInNJ

        People can be tactless, can’t they? Sorry you have to endure this. :(

    • Taryn

      My dad has it, but he hasn’t ever really been consistent in using a regimen to control it and although my mom makes him use sunscreen now, he wasn’t careful about it before and the damage was done. He is an extremely fair redhead and his face is pink, but to me, the flush is kind of nice-looking on him. Maybe it sounds odd, but it gives him a healthier glow than just a really white face like I have.

      Your skin is beautiful, Phyrra, and I never would have guessed you had rosacea.

      I am super fair and have broken out in little bumps on and off for years now. It always coincides with my cycle and has been classified as moderate acne. I hope I don’t develop rosacea on top of that because products with some alcohol are what work best in keeping my skin less bumpy.

    • http://perilouslypale.com Perilously Pale

      I have rosacea as well. It MAKES ME CRAZY. It is not severe or anything but it is a constant annoyance. Especially with the drinking. I would just like to have a drink and not look like a tomato for once in my life! Rant over.
      Sorry you’re struggling with it. You would never know it. Hopefully you can keep it well controlled. (((hugs)))

    • gothchiq

      Humm, not that I know of. I have adult acne and a bit of sun damage from burns in youth. Haven’t been to an actual dermatologist in a long time because I’m not *as* zitful as I used to be, ’cause I’m menopausing. I pretty much don’t blush. What I do is I sweat profusely during exercise, more on the face and head than other locations, but other locations get pretty soggy too.

      I have allergies though, I loathe bismuth oxychloride because it feels like mosquitoes eating my face, and I easily get itchy from various annoyances, like plants, certain makeup, salty sweat, etc.

    • http://www.thoughtsofamidwesterngirliegirl.com Daanielle

      My mom has rosacea and I’m pasty white, blush easily and have sensitive skin, so it’s entirely likely I could get it, too. It sucks, but I try to use really gentle products and lots of sunscreen. Hopefully that will help.

    • Sandy

      I also have mild roseacea and my dermatologist has me on Metrogel 1%. I find it somewhat drying, so she suggested using every other night, and after it dries on my skin, I use a mild moisturizer, like Cetaphil or CeraVe PM over it. My roseacea is on my cheeks, but I haven’t broken out in years. I’m likely past that age.

      I would be very interested in how the Metrogel and Aczone (which I’ve never heard of) work for you. Just as an FYI, when my face feels particularly dry or irritated, I have been using Lumene SOS facial cream. My derm approves and I find it incredibly soothing and it does reduce some of the redness/irritation.

      I think my saving grace all these years has been using moisturizer with SPF since I was in my 20′s (a while ago, in the Dark Ages!) and avoiding the sun like the plague. Even when I was a little girl, my mom kept me out of the sun. I have very pale skin, like a redhead, which is the color I was born with.

      I think you were very wise to consult a dermatologist, Phyrra. I am sure you are good hands. Please, please keep us updated on your progress. ^^

    • http://judixo.blogspot.com Judi

      My great nephew has rosacea. He’s only 6mos old. Poor thing looks like a little Santa Clause

    • http://mimismanisandotherbeauty.blogspot.com/ Connie

      I was diagnosed by a derm several years ago but I had basically diagnosed myself before that by reading up and knowing the symptoms. The prescriptions didn’t really help me so I just found what works for me OTC and try to avoid flare ups. This was a very good informative post!

    • http://savvybeautyformoms.blogspot.com Erin

      This is very interesting. Looking at your bare face reminds me a lot of my own. I do flush very easily, nothing painful. My face does turn a bit red sometimes when I wash my face, depends on the cleanser. But my face is pink, whereas the rest of my body, pulls yellow, except for my chest. Can you get rosacea there as well?

      But the texture feels almost like clogged pores on my cheeks. My mom’s friend had rosacea growing up and her face was always flared up, red and bumpy. That’s what I thought it looked like. However, she moved to FL and when she came back to visit years later, her face was completely clear and no longer red. She completely overhauled her diet. I’m not sure what treatment she received either.

      I really need to make an appointment with a dermatologist.

    • Sandy

      I am so forgetful, I wanted to say a big THANK YOU for this post. Not only did you give us loads of terrific info on roseacea, but you showed us how it is affecting you personally. Thank you again, Phyrra, so much!

    • mel

      I’ve never been diagnosed, but pretty sure that’s what I’ve got. Mine also goes into my eyes – bright red inflamed waterline. When that starts I have to scrub my lashes daily with Johnson’s Baby Shampoo.

      Recently I bought a bottle of distilled aloe juice – just like water – and am spraying it on my face morning and evening. I’ve heard good things about using aloe for rosacea.

      • Sarsie

        I posted my comment below before I saw yours! I’m sorry it went to your eyes. :(

    • Sarsie

      I forgot to mention something in my original comment — you may already know this, but my dermatologist said to let my opthamologist know that I’d been diagnosed with rosacea. Apparently if you have it, it’s possible for it to spread to your eyes (I can’t remember now if it’s your actual eyes or the inside of your eyelids). I thought of it because you complained of watery eyes from allergies recently, and that can be one of the symptoms. So far, I don’t have ocular rosacea, but I have them check for it every year at my appointment, because I do have very dry eyes that are easily irritated (I actually have another condition called map-dot-fingerprint dystrophy, sigh).

      Here’s an article that mentions ocular rosacea: http://www.rosacea.org/press/archive/20040301.php

      • Corviddreams

        I have had eye problems for over a decade. I am fairly sure that they are related to the rosacea. I have dry, gritty, itchy, photosensitive eyes. I have complained to so many eye doctors, only to get told that I just need moisturizing eye drops. Now that I have been diagnosed with rosacea, I am going back and asking what else can be done for my eyes. They drive me NUTS.

        • Phyrra

          @Sarsie @Corviddreams I’ve actually got to speak to my eye doctor because of the problems I’ve been having that I’ve chalked up to my allergies.

        • Sarsie

          Corviddreams, it’s really frustrating when medical professionals aren’t able to figure out what is going on. I was convinced I had ocular rosacea because I had some of the symptoms, but it turns out that I was diagnosed with something else (map dot fingerprint dystrophy). And that diagnosis only came when I switched to a different eye doctor. My original doctor told me the same thing they told you (dry eyes). Some of my symptoms are the same as yours (dry, gritty, photosensitive) with the additional symptom of my corneas actually hurting me, particularly in the morning when I first awake. As it turns out, there’s no cure, and the treatment is…eye drops (eye lubricant at night). You may want to have them check for *both* the ocular rosacea and the mdf dystrophy just to be sure.

          Phyrra, it can’t hurt to have it checked out! Even if it’s “just” to confirm it’s allergies (which can be bad enough).

          • Phyrra

            I called and spoke to my eye dr today. he said if I had ocular rosacea, he would have noticed. I’m going to mention tmy allergy symptoms to him again and see what he says when i next see him.

    • Jennifer

      Hmmm…I feel like I should make an appointment as well. Just like you, my skin gets red every time I wash my face. It doesn’t matter what kind of cleanser (though some are worse than others). About a year ago, I noticed increased redness on my chin and some other areas. I thought it was acne, but it has never gone away.

    • http://gorgeois.blogspot.com Veronica, the Gorgeois Pig

      I’m surprised she didn’t advise you to lay off the retinol serum while the skin is inflamed. Or maybe she did? Either way, that’s also a good idea.. Anything that can increase inflammation should be avoided, and retinol definitely falls into that category. You seem to be on top of things though, which is awesome!

    • Lisa Brown

      I have rosacea and wear sunscreen, and have to use minimal products on my skin. Most skin care with actives, irritates so it’s bland skin care for me. Your skin looks good.

    • http://marijonails.blogspot.com MariJo

      Thanks for sharing this info. I’m glad you were able to get a diagnosis and now know what to do.

    • http://brightlycoloredperson.wordpress.com/ Daena

      I have Rosacea as well — inherited from my father’s side of the family. Unfortunately the derm I saw was not helpful and I should see a different one. I did try the Metrogel so I am eager to see if it helps you! I had no luck with it. What has helped for me is to simplify my skin care as much as possible and only use sunscreen with physical sunblocks. I also steer clear of AHAs (though BHAs can help). It’s really annoying and even with my efforts I can see some broken capillaries that I want to get taken care of before they get way worse. I’ve also found using coconut oil topically has helped a lot, as well as using my Clarisonic.

    • Abi

      Great post – I think I may have rosacea, which I always assumed to be sensitivity or acne. Members of my family have skin with a lot of redness as well. I think I’ll schedule a dermatologist appt. asap! :) I’m already using Paula’s Choice products as well as coconut oil to moisturize and I can see improvement, but maybe it’s time to take it to the next level.
      thanks for posting about this topic!

    • http://www.stepfordwitch.com voodoogirl @ The Stepford Witch

      I was diagnosed with rosacea a few years ago, my mother has it too. i experience breakouts as well as redness and have to be careful with all skincare products i use – i was told to stay away from certain products. its also a hassle because the center of my face is so red that i can’t cover it properly with foundation – green primer doesn’t help much either. :(

      • http://www.whimsybeading.com Whimsical Kelly

        I have never had any luck with the redness reducing green primers. I’m on the darker side of the pale color spectrum, and they always made me look rather ill.

    • BeckBeck

      This is a great post, Phyrra – thanks for, as always, presenting a nice calm breakdown of the facts!

      I do *not* have rosacea – I have acne that seems to be mediated primarily by hormones (my “big” breakouts were always cyclic, and I didn’t start having noticeable issues with acne until my mid-20s) and I have small patches of seborrheic dermatitis next to my nose. I’ve found the hardest thing about the acne and dermatitis is adjusting to the fact that my skin is not the same as it used to be, and almost “flying blind” when it comes to choosing products (I nearly lost my mind when my longtime HG cleanser was discontinued). I’m looking forward to hearing about your results!

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/macface2adore?feature=mhee Jennifer D.

      Thanks for the post. I have forwarded this to my Mom as she has always looking for the right foundation, using Clinique yellow powder, doing everything other than trying to take care of the problem. It is much better since she went through, well, menopause, but she is still on 57 and beautiful. Pinky face or not…she is gorgeous as well as yourself. I have been using a serum trying to rid myself of discoloration on my upper cheeks.Thank you for the post. I think my Mom will be helped by this. Take care.xx Jennifer

    • Claire

      Thank you for this post. I have been on the sensitive skin-rosacea fence for awhile now. I do not have any areas of my face with a different texture, but everything else sounds like me. My mother has rosacea, however, along with acne and just about everything else.

      I do have a question, though. If people with rosacea are supposed to avoid “..rubbing, massaging or scrubbing the face” then how am I supposed to use facial cleanser or apply moisturizer? I currently massage my face with a foaming cleanser until it starts to foam, and massage my moisturizer in until my face doesn’t feel lotion-y any more. If this gives me redness, flushing and so on, how should I apply skincare products instead?

      • Ice

        This is something I’ve actually picked up from my little East Asian cosmetics obsession — tapping. For instance, toner isn’t applied with a cotton pad, but you pour some of it in your palm, spread gently and tap a bit. Similar with lotions/cream. I usually put some on my fingers and then tap it gently over my face. They also recommend that you press your palms over your face and hold them there for a few seconds, that way forming a sort of occlusion, which makes the product absorb faster, but from my knowledge of occlusion, it takes hours, not seconds. But it’s worth a shot? Anyway, there’s an advertisement made by Hadalabo here where you can see what I’m yapping about. It always makes me giggle, it’s dumb but cute. :P

        They’re also big on cleansing oils first. You can’t really cause a lot of friction if you rub a cleansing oil over your face (which melts makeup) and then wash it off with water. When you use a regular, foaming cleanser after that, you don’t need to rub that much, because there’s simply not that much to get off your face in the first place. I currently own Missha’s cleansing oil, and that thing MELTS makeup off and doesn’t irritate me, but I’ve seen there are a lot of brands that actually have olive oil or wheat germ oil and alike based oil cleansers. I know Sephora makes a petroleum based one, and it’s… so-so in makeup removing. But now I’m yapping, sorry. :P

    • Danielle

      Hmm.this makes me wonder about the consistent redness I have on my nose. I use SPF every day, but I may start skipping using my Clarisonic on it. I just picked up the LaVanila sunscreen on your recommendation, and I’m looking forward to trying it!

    • http://makeupfancyblog.blogspot.com Emily

      I’m a little suspicious that I might have mild rosacea, if not now then perhaps in the future. My skin is sensitive and I have a lot of redness in my face. I’ve never been to a derm though, nor am I likely to in the near future. I’m just using as few products as I can on my face, as anything I do, even rinsing with water, seems to irritate my face. I’ll be interested to hear how you progress over the months now that you’ve been diagnosed.

    • http://manicuredlibrarian.blogspot.com Soos

      That’s a good reminder to go to the derm w/o makeup! And smart to take your products with you. I have friends who have rosacea who’ve told me they can’t afford to go to the derm or buy products to deal with it. When I remind them to wear sunscreen, I’m sure it sounds like nagging, but they’ve convinced themselves they don’t need it ” ’cause they can’t see the sun’ “.

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    • Hana

      I have Rosacea and my skin is sensitive/oily. I realy suffer finding the right products to match my skin problem. any suggestions or tips.

      Thank you

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    • http://fullofrivol.blogspot.com/ EmmyJean

      I also have rosacea (though I have not gone to a doctor yet) and almost everything is a trigger for me. I’d love to read more posts on this topic to see what is most helpful for you. It can be so difficult to deal with constant redness and the long-lasting red marks from previous break outs. Thank you for sharing your experience at the dermatologist office!