Last year a mysterious red rash popped up — on my nose!
At first I thought it might be a bug bite or allergic reaction to makeup. Then, it lingered. After a few days of itchiness with tiny red blisters, I decided it was time to visit my dermatologist.
I explained that the redness was spreading wider and the little blisters were popping and becoming mini craters. It was painful.
Taking a Skin Sample
She said we needed to do a punch biopsy to diagnose the situation. A biopsy is simply a small sampling of tissue. Of course, there was a lingering concern it might be skin cancer, so doing a biopsy would give us information about several layers of skin on a cellular level.
After sanitizing my skin, she numbed my nose with a shot that reminded me of Novocain at the dentist’s office. In mere seconds, I could feel pressure from her touching my nose, but no pain.
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Then she used a slender tool with a cutting tip to take a small plug out of my irritated skin. The sample was put in a container and sent to a lab for testing.
Finally, my dermatologist used one stitch to close the wound on my nose. Then, she put cloth butterfly stitches over the top to help hold the skin even closer together to reduce the scarring.
Quick and Simple Test
It was a fast, 15-minute procedure with no pain. Of course later when the numbing medicine wore off, my nose was sore but a few OTC painkillers made it very manageable. I was more upset that I couldn’t go swimming for several weeks while the area healed than with the discomfort of the procedure itself.
The biopsy revealed that I had rosacea, a common skin condition for women ages 30-50. Rosacea tends to be genetic and maybe be related to an over-reacting immune system, an H pylori infection or skin mites, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Caring for Rosacea
To manage this skin condition I have a facial steroid cream and SPF-infused facial moisturizer to keep the redness and irritation to a minimum. I also find that staying hydrated, reducing stress and not eating too much sugar helps manage this condition.
If your doctor recommends a skin biopsy to help diagnose possible rosacea, go for it. It really didn’t hurt and wasn’t too difficult to care for afterward, especially after the stitch was removed. Since this experience was a year and a half ago, I can also say the biopsy site has filled in pretty well. The skin indent is much less pronounced and only visible if you look close. Plus, I can cover it with makeup!
Here’s a recent picture of me, and my healthy nose, at the beach in Massachusetts this summer!
If you’re noticing any changes in your skin, including an uncommon redness or blistering, please visit your doctor ASAP.
Until next time,
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