By Estelle Erasmus
Before I was the editor-in-chief of five magazines, I was a beauty editor at Woman’s World magazine and co-author of the award-winning book Beautiful Skin: Every Woman’s Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age (Adams Media). I acquired the skin condition rosacea, as a result of testing the early version of glycolic acid products. I wrote about it for Yahoo! Beauty this week.
As the co-author of Beautiful Skin: Every Woman’s Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age, and a former beauty editor, having gorgeous skin is part of my job. I have reported on hundreds of beauty potions, lotions, and treatments, happily being the guinea pig. Try on a dozen tubes of lipstick and document how long lasting they were? I’m on it. Apply self-tanners on my legs to find the ones that best got me to (fake) sun-kissed perfection? Sign me up.
One week the assignment was to test glycolic acid skin products to see how well they worked. With my fair, sensitive, easily-flushed, dry skin, I should have been more cautious. The next day, I noticed that my skin had turned bright red. I tried moisturizing and applying cool compresses, and stopped using the glycolic acid cleanser, but the redness remained. Then I broke out in tiny pimples, mainly on my cheeks and nose. Between my scarlet face and newly bloodshot eyes, I looked like I had just come off a bender.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I had developed rosacea, a vascular skin condition, which according to the National Rosacea Society affects over 16 million Americans, although only a small percentage get treated for it. Rosacea is supposedly caused by inflammation, and the condition–which ranges from mild to severe—can be exacerbated by sun exposure—which dilates blood vessels and weakens collagen—plus a host of other factors like hot baths or showers, exercising, spicy foods and red wine.
I feel silly saying this but It didn’t cross my mind to see a dermatologist for two reasons: I didn’t think I had a “condition”, just pimples and redness, and I thought I had access to an arsenal of beauty tools to fix my face by myself. I started my self-treatment by applying a detoxifying mud mask, but the product made my already irritated skin even drier. Then to compensate, I slathered on rich moisturizer, which further clogged my pores, instead of calming my complexion. In an effort to camouflage the redness, I applied layers of foundation, which caked, making my skin look flakey. It hid nothing, and fooled nobody.
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