This post is sponsored by Galderma and SHE Media. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of Galderma.
There’s avocado on my face right now.
It’s an avocado ginseng face mask, a specialty product that came in a precious bright-green package and has promised me that it can send super moisture into my skin and fix every flaw and insecurity I’ve ever had.
Like most women, I grew up inundated with skin care tips. Drink water. Wear sunscreen. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. The shelves are lined with products to help every skin ailment I could possibly ever have: slug jelly for wrinkles, bee venom for dark spots, jellyfish poop for dried out skin. If there’s a problem, there’s sixteen-hundred Google pages, three aisles of products, and an avocado activated charcoal jade roller fad to help me. I have an entire drawer of these things; products of the self-care age, where skin care is prized above all else and marketed as an Instagram indulgence.
But there’s a fatal flaw in this climate, one that has nothing to do with late-stage capitalism. It’s the assumption that when there is something wrong with your skin — acne, red spots, bumps, lumps, etc. — instead of seeing a specialist, we now reach out to the internet. The days of searching through WebMD are over. We’ve entered the age of DIY dermatology, where we assume that with the right collection of specialty products from Amazon and eight glasses of water daily, we can treat our skin ailments ourselves.
Dermatological problems run in my family. I have pale, ruddy skin that hisses in the sunlight, a wool allergy, sensitivities, and melanoma on both sides. But I mostly escaped childhood acne, funnily enough, which allowed me to craft a shield around myself and carry the idea that my skin was fine. I had no acne scars or cysts, and so I assumed there wasn’t anything that couldn’t be fixed by an expensive rose cream and sunscreen. I thought skin issues were cosmetic, not medical. A dermatologist, in my mind, was only to be employed if you were scared of skin cancer. The last line of defense.
Shortly after my thirtieth birthday, my shields failed.
I developed what I thought was adult onset acne. I had dark spots on my upper thighs — places that had never seen sun — that I was ignoring for too long. My face was flushed all the time, and my specialty import rose cream couldn’t stop the bumps that seemed to constantly linger under my skin, never forming into proper acne, but just existing and ruining my makeup. It was time, however much I dreaded it, that I bite the bullet, skip the self-care options, and go to a proper dermatologist.
My dermatologist looked at my face for approximately two minutes and asked if my family had a history of rosacea. I had no idea as I didn’t really know what it was. It turns out, rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition, which often starts with facial redness and acne-like flare ups of bumps and blemishes.1,2 It comes in various types, can sometimes cause thickening or swelling skin around your nose and eyes, is persistent, and it flares up by triggers.1 It can get worse when left untreated, and the bumps and blemishes can very often be mistaken for acne.1
When you do a Google search on rosacea (which I now have, extensively), you get two results: flushed, blotchy skin, or pictures of men with noses that are swollen and red. You get advertisements for anti-redness creams sold by everyone from high-end retailers to local drug stores. You get websites telling you to fix it by avoiding alcohol — which can help manage rosacea flare-ups, but is only one possible trigger among many, which include spicy foods, hot or cold temperatures, stress, and even menopause.1
It seems to run in families, but isn’t definitively genetic.3 And, while there’s no specific cure for it, there are treatments. Rosacea — the kind that causes bumps and acne-like breakouts — can be treated. Products like ORACEA® (doxycycline, USP) Capsules 40 mg* can be used to treat the bumps and blemishes caused by rosacea.
I’m a person who is naturally hesitant to take antibiotics. I don’t like that every time I take them, I give bacteria an opportunity to become resistant to the treatment and multiply. Each time I get sick I weigh whether it’s bad enough that I should run the risk of taking something that might contribute to antibiotic resistance. So, I did my research, and found that ORACEA Capsules work differently. ORACEA Capsules is a non-antibiotic dose of doxycycline, and in a nine month clinical study, ORACEA Capsules did not show to contribute to antibiotic resistance.5,6 Instead, it delivers a low dose of anti-inflammatory properties to treat the bumps and blemishes of rosacea caused by inflammation, getting to the heart of the skin condition and not targeting bacteria.
Rosacea is frustrating because unlike a lot of chronic skin conditions. Estimates show up to 16 million Americans have rosacea, but many of them have no idea. Instead, they write it off as acne or sensitive skin and cope with the self-esteem issues and embarrassment that many people who suffer from skin issues feel.6 This isn’t necessary because there are treatments out there.
My acne flare ups ended up being just that: acne caused by hormonal changes and too much stress in my life. But those red bumps and my lifelong battle with redness was altogether something different. It turns out that not only does having pale skin run in my family, but so does rosacea. I was predisposed to rosacea and I never would have known if I hadn’t taken the time to talk to a professional. It was an eye-opening experience and since then I’ve become a lot more educated and aware of my skin issues. I’m a lot more willing to admit that my own lack of knowledge could have had long term effects worse than the fleeting humiliation of a permanently red face.
We don’t have to throw away our avocado masks. But those of us espousing self-care via Google tips and lush products should all be more serious and consider working with a dermatologist to learn about treatment options like ORACEA Capsules.
For more information about rosacea triggers, skincare tips, treatment options and how to find a dermatologist near you, visit ORACEA.com.
Important Safety Information
Indication: ORACEA® (doxycycline, USP) 40 mg* Capsules are indicated for the treatment of only inflammatory lesions (papules and pustules) of rosacea in adult patients. ORACEA Capsules do not lessen the facial redness caused by rosacea. Adverse Events: In controlled clinical studies, the most commonly reported adverse events (>2%) in patients treated with ORACEA Capsules were nasopharyngitis, sinusitis, diarrhea, hypertension and aspartate aminotransferase increase. Warnings/Precautions: ORACEA Capsules should not be used to treat or prevent infections. ORACEA Capsules should not be taken by patients who have a known hypersensitivity to doxycycline or other tetracyclines. ORACEA Capsules should not be taken during pregnancy, by nursing mothers, or during tooth development (up to the age of 8 years). Although photosensitivity was not observed in clinical trials, ORACEA Capsules patients should minimize or avoid exposure to natural or artificial sunlight. The efficacy of ORACEA Capsules treatment beyond 16 weeks and safety beyond 9 months have not been established.
*30 mg immediate release & 10 mg delayed release beads
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit https://www.fda.gov/safety/medwatch-fda-safety-information-and-adverse-event-reporting-program or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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- 1 National Rosacea Society. All About Rosacea. https://www.rosacea.org/patients/allaboutrosacea.php. Accessed on March 14, 2018.
- 2 National Rosacea Society. What Is Rosacea? https://www.rosacea.org/. Accessed on March 14, 2018.
- 3 ORACEA.com. Face Facts https://www.oracea.com/about-rosacea. Accessed on October 23, 2019.
- 4 Science Daily. Antibiotic Resistance https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/antibiotic_resistance.htm. Accessed on October 23, 2019.
- 5 Oracea (doxycycline) capsules for oral use. Prescribing Information. 2014.
- 6 Valentín, Sheila, et al. Safety and efficacy of doxycycline in the treatment of rosacea. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology: CCID 2 (2009): 129.
- 7 National Rosacea Society. Coping With Rosacea. https://www.rosacea.org/patients/materials/coping/index.php. Accessed on March 27, 2018.
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