Life with rosacea

Lex Gillies is a 34 year old blogger from York. She has a condition called rosacea which leaves her face red when she has a flare up. Flare ups can be caused by a number of different triggers which differ from person to person, but can include alcohol, spicy food, temperature and sun exposure to name a few.

When she’s suffering from a flare up Lex explains, “It instantly affects my mood. Physically I feel uncomfortable and hot and my skin can feel itchy and sore; psychologically I feel like my face is a beacon, glowing bright red and attracting stares and judgements from others. I feel self-conscious and like my body is not my own, it’s often a very upsetting and disorientating experience.”

At first, Lex didn’t know how to handle her condition but over time she learned what her triggers are and how to manage them. She explains, “I soon realised that I have to constantly barter with my rosacea. I will give it a calm week where I am very well behaved and treat it very well, but then I have a night when I just want a block of cheese and a huge glass of wine and I just have to accept the consequences.”

Educating people about rosacea

Nowadays Lex wants to try and help educate others about rosacea to help improve acceptance from other people and inspire others with the disease.

“I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who said something about my rosacea maliciously, it’s always someone who thinks they’re being funny or it just curious. People ask if I’m sunburned, or drunk, if I’m blushing because I fancy someone or because I’m lying, if I’ve had an allergic reaction, or the evergreen ‘what’s wrong with your face?’

It immediately makes you feel self-conscious, it makes others around you turn to stare and analyse your face, it makes you feel exposed and vulnerable. I used to try to ignore the comments but now I try to educate people - rosacea is so misunderstood and under diagnosed in this country so the more I can do to raise awareness of what it is and what it looks like the better. Plus it might discourage that person from commenting on another person’s appearance unprompted in future!

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