When I was little, I had rosy cheeks. I remember everyone always commenting on my rosy cheeks like it was a beautiful, lovely thing. My grandfather would say, “She’s the picture of health.” So I grew up loving my rosy cheeks.
Around middle school, I noticed that my face would flush bright red if I got embarrassed. I could feel it coming, nothing I could do to stop it. To say I would “blush” would be an understatement. Even my ears would turn bright red.
During gym, too, and softball practice, my face would turn bright red, and it would take hours to settle back down. That was me. I thought it was normal.
When I was about 20 years old, I met my Dad for the first time that I remember. He had rosy
cheeks, too. When he came in from mowing the lawn, his cheeks were bright red, just like mine after gym class. That’s where I got it. Turns out, my grandfather was the same. I got the “Williams cheeks.”
As an adult, my cheeks were always rosy to one degree or another, but I never thought it was a bad thing until I was a workshop where two esthiticians were present, and I heard one of them whisper to the other after looking at my skin, “rosacea.” That’s the first time I ever heard the word and I dismissed it immediately.
Some years later, I was working with Julie, a long time colleague, and she mentioned she had rosacea and what a terrible thing it was for her. So, since this is what I do, I said, “maybe red light would help.” And I sent a red light up to her in Canada. And it worked for her – it stopped the constant burning, itching and tightness that she had been suffering with for years.
During that same time, and for the first time, my own face started to burn. It felt like a chemical burn. But I don’t wear makeup or use any products on my skin. Maybe it was a sunburn, I thought. But it was winter. I remembered the things Julie had written about rosacea, and I read the symptoms again, and that was the first time in my life – in my 40s, that I realized that I had rosacea. Then I really took a look at my skin in the mirror.
My face didn’t just flush red anymore, it was red all the time. My forehead is a normal “skin” color (for my race), but my cheeks, chin and nose are all red. Around my eyes are also a normal color.
I have broken capillaries on my cheeks in a couple of spots. There are some raised, rough spots on my cheeks where it is a little more red than the rest. That seems to get worse in the winter.
The weird thing is, the skin near my nose and under my eyes feels thicker than the skin on the rest of my face. I don’t remember my skin feeling that way before. So I have rosacea, and I’ve had it all of my life, it seems. It has gotten slowly but progressively worse as I’m aging. Even my eyes show symptoms of rosacea. But it wasn’t until the burning that was forced to pay attention to it.
When my face started burning I couldn’t think of anything else. I couldn’t focus on my work. All I could do was be aware that my face was on fire and wonder why it was happening and how to stop it. I knew Julie was using the red light, so I gave that a try. Within 20 minutes after using the light, I found myself busy working on something. I had forgotten about my face. It had quit burning. The light worked for me, too.
After that experience, I started taking light therapy for rosacea seriously. If people’s faces were burning like this and light therapy can stop it, then I needed to do something about that.
With Julie’s experience and my newfound appreciation for the severity of rosacea symptoms, I created the Dual Care, which is a combination of red and amber LED light.
Thinking back now, my grandfather had rosy cheeks all of his life. Even in his old age, his skin was still beautiful. He never developed rosacea.
My father is now 70 and his skin is still beautiful, too. He still has rosy cheeks all the time, but his skin is healthy looking. If he gets too hot, his face will still get bright red. But he never developed permanent redness and his skin is not visibly damaged like mine already is at 48.
Is rosacea genetic? I don’t know. My skin type is obviously genetic, but my father and grandfather never did develop what I would call rosacea like I have.
So, my rosy cheeks and red face turned out to be rosacea. I hope yours does not.
If it does, though, please find a functional medical practitioner or an experienced naturopathic physician. Those types of doctors will work to find the cause of the symptoms and help you cure it.
Light therapy is not the cure. However, for many people light therapy can:
- stop your face from burning, itching and feeling tight
- reduce the severity and duration of a flush
- reduce those raised patches, bumps and pimples
- reduce redness over time
- help prevent permanent damage until you can find and eliminate the cause of your rosacea