this thing's incredible

I Owe My Rosacea-Free Face to a Goat Named Admiral Frodo

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

I never thought my most revered skin-care product would involve goats, but when I developed rosacea almost overnight during my junior year of college, I was willing to try anything — no matter how weird or animal-derived — to calm my skin. For the fortunate and unaware, rosacea is a common skin condition that causes your face to look like you’ve been out in debilitating cold for hours — bright redness, weird lumpy texture, visible blood vessels and all. It commonly affects peoples’ cheeks and T-zones. If you’re thinking it sounds like a sweet perma-blush … it’s not. And while it’s far from the least pleasant thing that can happen to your skin, rosacea can get worse over time, and it’s exacerbated by things like alcohol, spicy foods, and stress. Those happen to be three things I can’t live without.

Antibiotics are a common treatment, but I was intimidated and uninterested. So for a year, I tried prescription topical drugs from the dermatologist (made it worse), and even attempted to cut back on alcohol and spicy foods (made me miserable). Laying out in the sun gave me my even, glowing skin back, but that solution was only temporary. Once winter returned, so did the redness.

As I was struggling with my red skin — worried I’d have to deal with this forever — my mom was researching like a professional journalist. She read about the benefits of goat’s milk soap online and headed to Penny & Cooper, a store in our town that sells unique body products, to find one. The co-owner of the shop was a big fan of Serenity Acres Farm’s goat’s milk soap for its calming effects and strongly recommended it, so my mom crossed her fingers and bought me a bar for Christmas.

Since every cleanser I’d tried previously had irritated my skin, I wasn’t optimistic when I unwrapped the soap, but, desperate as I was, I was willing to try. Immediately after I rinsed the soap off my face, my skin felt moisturized, supple, and … chilled out. The goat rumors were true. I ran downstairs to thank my mom.

It’s been four years since I first tried this stuff, and it’s quite literally changed my skin. You can barely tell I have rosacea now. The acne I experienced in college is gone, as is the extreme redness in my cheeks and T-zone. The best part? Unlike a lot of other face-saving products, this soap is cheap. And it comes in several scents. (I always get the unscented, but there’s nearly a dozen alternatives including Almond Oatmeal, Rosewood Citrus, and cucumber melon mint.) On each set of packaging, you can even read about the Serenity goat who produced your soap. I just wish I could send Admiral Frodo, the goat that’s pictured on the unscented packaging (which feels a little attention seeking, since he obviously didn’t produce the milk himself) , a little extra hay or grass or whatever it is he eats. He and his herd deserve a special thank you.

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I Owe My Rosacea-Free Face to a Goat Named Admiral Frodo