Rosacea is that annoying, broke friend that moved in without invitation and just won’t leave. Except that you were never really friends.
I have type 2 rosacea. According to Everyday Health, “the second type of rosacea is called papulopustular rosacea or inflammatory rosacea. Its key symptom is chronic redness of the face, as well as an outbreak of red bumps and pimples. These bumps, known as pustules and papules, are different from actual acne and require a different treatment.” This doesn’t mention the pain it causes, but I can tell you it doesn’t feel great. It’s itchy and uncomfortable, and often painful.
I was on the antibiotic doxycycline for awhile, and that seemed to clear up the redness and most of the pustules, but I was still having the occasional break out and a growing concern for the health of my gut and other internal systems. Because antibiotics, yuck. I was on them often as a child and I have always wondered if that’s why I’ve developed all these autoimmune issues. Multiple sclerosis is autoimmune, my hearing loss was determined to be autoimmune, and rosacea is also an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune disease basically translates to mean your body is attacking itself. My tagline is, if anyone can kick my butt, it’s me.
But back to the rosacea. I was tired of taking the antibiotics so I talked to the dermatologist about an alternative, one that might work as well or better than the doxycycline I was taking. He prescribed a sulfur cleanser and an ivermectin cream. This was late last year. The cleanser wasn’t covered by insurance, but they only charge me $35 for a ginormous bottle that lasts me a couple months. The cream was covered, and since I had already met my maximum out of pocket cost for the year through my insurance, I didn’t even have a copay. Fast forward to January – I sent my husband to the pharmacy to pick up a refill for the cream and they wanted $50. For a tiny little tube, they wanted $50. He came home without it and I got to work finding an alternative. This ivermectin cream, called Soolantra, I believed was working, so I headed to my Facebook support group to see if there was a generic version. What I found was astounding.
There is not (yet) a generic version for Soolantra. But the good news? I was not the first to encounter this dilemma. It’s a very expensive, yet effective, product. The active ingredient, as I mentioned, is ivermectin. Ivermectin is a common medicine given to horses for deworming purposes. And since it’s given to them orally, it’s apple flavored. It’s also sold on Amazon. For cheap, and without a prescription. Which sounds a little iffy, right? Maybe something you don’t want to risk? But y’all, there was an overwhelming number of people on this forum, as well as on Amazon, reviewing this stuff and saying it was a total game changer for type 2 rosacea. (As a topical treatment, not to be taken orally, as one Amazon reviewer made the mistake of doing. ) I was really frustrated with the state of my face, so I took a chance and bought it.
I have now added to my morning and evening routine of brushing my teeth – I wash with the sulfur cleanser and dab my face with ivermectin paste. Ivermectin! Not just for horses! I haven’t been consistent with it long, so I still have the occasional spots popping up, but from everything I’ve read about any successful rosacea treatment, it typically gets worse before it gets better. Because I guess the really effective stuff makes the microscopic gremlins run for the hills, so to speak. I can deal with a blemish here and there once in awhile, so I’m not worried about it. I’m just glad about how my face feels. I don’t have those burning and itching sensations anymore. It just feels, well, CALMER.
I should note that I have some colorblindness that came with the vision loss from my MS relapse in 2013, so I really can’t see the full effects of the rosacea, nor can I really see when it’s getting better. I can really only gauge my progress by how it feels and when people tell me they notice a difference. So if you see me around town, feel free to comment on how it’s looking. I’m really not offended. Unless you think I’m just downright ugly, then we may have to battle.