At one point, I am assured by old family photos, I had lovely porcelain skin. That flawless epidermis was soon splashed with freckles, which were replaced with pimples in adolescence. I started suffering from acne when I was 11 or 12.
To both combat and conceal the blemishes, my mom shuffled me straight to the Clinque counter, hoping that excellent skin care would fix the problem and that quality makeup could boost my sagging self-esteem in the meantime.
But no dice. It was another nearly ten years of dermatology appointments, antibiotics, birth control, topical creams, infomercial products, homeopathic treatments and lots and lots of tears before the acne subsided.
At the same time, I had weird patches of dry skin. Itchy, too. I remember in the afternoons I walked home from school, I would rub flakes from my forehead or nose with the ribbed fabric of my black hoodie. I’d pull the wrist of the hoodie over my hand and rub like crazy. I felt like I could rub my skin forever and never see an end to the flakes. They were tinted beige, thanks to the gobs of foundation I used.
When the acne started to fade away (never completely, but good enough), I had a few moment of actually feeling like I had pretty skin. Ah, bliss. Those were those days.
Soon, though I was struggling with those dry patches. I had never been diagnosed with seborrheic dermatitis, and I had never even heard of it. I only though of my skin as “dry and sensitive.”
Once, my husband and I were about to head out on a trip to New York City. It was a dream vacation for me, until I woke up with red, dry, itchy, flaky, splotchy skin! Even after exfoliating gently, applying cold compresses and carefully applying makeup, my skin still sucked. I was crying, wishing I could just cancel the whole trip. With minutes to spare, I raced to a local health food store and bought a product that claimed to treat Rosacea. I washed my face again and reapplied my makeup on the way to the airport. The product buuuurned my skin, but improved the appearance slightly.
As soon as we returned, I booked an appointment with a dermatologist. She looked at me for about twenty seconds, cocked her head and proclaimed, “Seborrheic dermatitis . . . Maybe a touch of Rosacea.” She wrote a script and was out the door in under a minute.
Once I started using the sulphur wash and Elidel, my skin improved dramatically. But when I got pregnant, my doc told me to stop using the Elidel for the Reston my pregnancy and while nursing. Since I planned to breastfeed for a year or longer, I felt a sense of panic at what would happen to my skin!
I think topical prescription creams can really save the day when your skin is at its worst, but I realized that I wanted to find a lifestyle treatment so I wouldn’t have to depend on these prescriptions, even if the risks are low. Since then, I have been trying to figure out the right skin care for my skin and scalp. I have been frantically reading everything online and trying different options.
No, it’s not the end of the world to have a little dandruff or red, flaky skin. But it can be physically painful, or at the very least aggravating. And we all want to look our best. I am still searching for the magical cure for sebhorreic dermatitis. There is actually a huge void of information online, in my opinion. I’m going to gather and post as much as I can on this website. Kiss your flakes goodbye!