Getting a Dermatology referral for Rosacea – my experience

Despite knowing I’ve had rosacea for around 5/6 years now. you might be surprised to hear that I’ve never actually seen a Dermatologist. Although I was seen initially by a GP with dermatology interests, shortly after I saw him, he moved away and I went back to my regular GP.

The start of this year has seen a change in my rosacea symptoms. I’ve written before about flare ups when products don’t agree with my skin, but in the last couple of months I have noticed quite a big drop in the condition of my skin; increased redness (likely to be to do with this cold weather) but also an increase in the amount of spots (papules and pustules) I suffer with. There hasn’t been any real change to my routine that I can think of.

It spurred me to go and see my new GP (I had to change after we moved in 2016), who coincidentally was my GP for many years before. As soon as I mentioned that I was finding the rosacea symptoms more difficult to cope with, she asked if I had ever seen a Dermatologist. She was actually a bit surprised when I said I hadn’t – she booked me an appointment through choose and book straight away and the appointment was this week. This was obviously a really great step and having her support made me feel good – but also a bit frustrated that no one had suggested it before! I’ve been in GP appointments in the past in tears over rosacea symptoms and had them tell me, essentially, nothing can be done.

When I went into the appointment the Doctor had already read through my notes and could see my history. For reference, the medical things I have tried in the past include: Metronidazole gel, Tetracycline, Erythromycin, Differin (post here), as well as combinations of that list together. I have also tried using no cosmetics at all, all of the cosmetics I can get my hands on, changing my diet, stopping drinking. None of it has worked for me at all. Most people with rosacea find that they have certain triggers, but I haven’t been able to find any triggers for the spots and the only trigger I can find for the flushing (apart from the obvious being outside in freezing cold wind), is ginger! Which I don’t particularly like anyway, so no drama there.

By the time the appointment came around my skin had decided to improve a bit, so I showed him some pictures I took a few weeks back. He asked me lots of questions about how it feels, how the symptoms manifest, about triggers etc. He had a close look at my skin and confirmed that I do have acne-rosacea, as I suspected. This is combination of redness across the cheeks and forehead, accompanied by acne (papules and pustules). Just hearing those words made me feel far more positive – If we 100% know what it is, we can look at treatment options again. Seeing a Dermatologist also means you are seeing someone with a specialism and they are therefore more likely to have experience in skin conditions and can also access treatments that GPs cannot.

For now, he has recommended a new, combined, treatment regime. This involves Lymecycline tablets, combined with Soolantra (Ivermectin) cream for 3 months. I already have an appointment booked to see him after the 3 months to check if there has been any improvement. If not, there are other options we can consider.

I’ll be blogging my progress updates with pictures and my experiences of the medication over the next 8-12 weeks. I’m not expecting a quick fix here and the antibiotics usually take 6/8 weeks to have any effect.. but I’m in this for the long haul and finally feeling positive. Fingers crossed!

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