I placed this blog post under the Rosacea section but it’s not totally about rosacea per se! It is related since it is all about this mama’s journey to improved health for herself. From autoimmune inflammatory markers to rosacea to carpal tunnel, inflammation is at the core of it all.
I wanted to share how an appointment this morning caused me to feel God’s presence. I hope it encourages you as well to see that God will lead you where He wants you to go and He is protecting you. About a month ago, I made an appointment with a neurologist to have an upper limb EMG to confirm whether or not the pins and needles and pain in my hands and arms is caused by carpal tunnel. Using my health insurance website, I found a doctor in my network and made an appointment. I did not know anything about this doctor; however, I vaguely remember that the name sounded like a name from my past days as a caregiver for my daughter who has EDS. If you’ve read my book, you know that we have quite a lot of experiences with many doctors, some are amazing, and some I would like to forget, if only I could. I was nervous, but I just needed an EMG so I kept the appointment.
Sure enough, this doctor was somewhat of a connection to a time for me that had been very difficult. To his credit, he was very professional and gave me the results to my test and I was thankful for an opportunity to practice humility and gratefulness and to feel God’s presence with me. He referred me to a hand surgeon, another doctor I did not personally know. Several weeks passed before I showed up in this man’s office at 7:15 this morning. I had almost cancelled it to get in with someone else weeks ago.
He was a small, elderly doctor wearing a white coat who had practiced medicine for a very long time. He asked me some questions and began to form a picture of my overall condition. We discussed doctors I see and it comforted me that he highly recommended my new rheumatologist who I am still assessing! Fairly quickly, I could see I was in the presence of a compassionate doctor who truly understood the depth of this painful hand condition and wanted to help me. I’ve encountered doctors of this caliber only a handful of times in my life. I felt God taking care of me at the core of it and I felt safe and peaceful. He explained that my symptoms all point to inflammation. Ya, I know Doc! I described what I had been doing to try to decrease that including doctor appointments, medications, my diet and supplements, all to not much avail apparently. After three cortisone shots in my hands, some laughs, and even a bit of grandparenting advice which I gladly received, he urged me to call his functional medicine doctor contact to work on decreasing inflammation. (Bonus: he is two hours away and very close to my expectant daughter and her husband! Thank you, Jesus.)
It’s a bit strange since I raised my children under the care of naturopathy and homeopathy, reluctantly ended up in the care of modern medicine, and find myself re-visiting alternative care at this time of my life. As you know, it’s rarely covered under insurance, but then hand surgery is costly, too! Mama, be certain that God will get you where He wants you to be! You might not understand why He takes you to specific places or people, but He will always work it out for your best. I’m excited to see how God will use this next step of functional medicine, but all my hope is truly in Him alone. I’ve seen how he uses illness to take me to people I never would have met and I’m praying about how I can be an ambassador for Him. Feeling better will just be the icing on the cake.
Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/qimono-1962238/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=1884787">Arek Socha</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=1884787">Pixabay</a>
My eyes have been very challenging lately and it appears I have some active autoimmune activity, so it is really hard to tell how much is rosacea and how much is autoimmune. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my eyes are just going to be red and irritated. I manage the best I can with lubricant eye drops and, overall, I’m working on managing stress, exercising, and eating well. I also started back on a good quality fish oil since there is some data that this might help with dry eyes. I’m just a little sick of this eye business, so today I wanted to focus on something a little more fun and “sunny!”
I’ve had lots of time to try seven different sunscreens. I have very oily skin along with sensitivity and rosacea. Here is a list of what worked and didn’t work for me:
1. Elta md UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46: While this niacinamide containing sunscreen with zinc oxide and octinoxate did not irritate me at all, left no white cast, and absorbed nicely, it left a shine and my skin seemed to look oily very fast. I’ll be using this up on my neck and backs of hands.
2. Laroche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Sunscreen: I love this sunscreen, especially for summer. It’s a thin, milky consistency. It has titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in it which I feel helps soothe the acne that comes along with my rosacea. It sort of dries out any pimples that I have. It does leave a bit of a white cast, but I use a tinted sunscreen like make up over top of it to give my skin some color, focusing on areas where the sun might hit my face naturally. I do still seem to get oily with this one, but not quite as badly as with some of the others on this list. This bottle is almost empty. That’s my clue that it has worked for me!
3. Replenix Ultimatte Perfection 50+ with zinc oxide: This is a terrific, matte, colored sunscreen that I like to use all over my face in the summer and as a second layer over base sunscreen to add color in the winter. I apply it just on my forehead, across my nose and cheeks, and a tiny bit on my chin. This keeps my oily skin fairly matte which I like. It’s almost time to order a new bottle of this.
4. Purito Centella Green Level Unscented Sun SPF 50+: This oil free sunscreen has no fragrance or essential oils which can be hard to tolerate with rosacea. It has no white cast whatsoever and absorbs readily into the skin. My skin seems to like it; however, I do still seem to get oily with it. For winter, I have been using this and layering some of the Replenix product to give color and oil control where I need it, mostly in the T-Zone. As far as plain sunscreens with no white cast, I like this Purito product better than the Elta md one. I bought this off of Yesstyle.com and actually ordered two along with some other products so I could get free shipping. I’ll likely use up both tubes. Update: So, I hear through YouTube that this product's sun protection is in question as some people have been sunburned while using it. The seller did not want to refund my money, so I'll be throwing this away. I cannot chance sun damage and exacerbating my rosacea. I've recently switched over to using the DRMTLGY product below in Number 5. My skin has been less oily lately and I'm really enjoying this tinted moisturizer now.
5. DRMTLGY Tinted Moisturizer SPF 46: I really want to love this zinc oxide and octinoxate product. It goes on beautifully, makes my skin look youthful and dewy, and the tint is just the right amount. However, I get very oily fast with this one. Ugh! I’ve been using this up on my neck which is really aged from photosensitivity and I also use this almost like a blush over other base sunscreens. It gives a little glow to my cheeks that’s not heavy. See Update above in Number 4.
6. Biore UV Oil Control Base: This is the newest one I’m trying. It smells like glue and I find if I use smaller amounts and rub it into a small area it blends better than if I apply larger amounts over a larger area. I really like how this dries matte and stays matte for the longest out of all these sunscreens. I am still shiny by the end of the day, but that’s just me. I wish this was a little darker tint for my medium skin tone, but it’s been working fine for winter. You might not like this one unless you are super oily like me. Update January 24, 2021: I've since quit using this product after a breakout after a few days of using this.
7. Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with Sunscreen: I really love the color of this tinted mineral sunscreen and it blends in really nicely and looks moisturizing. It feels very soothing on my skin. I am not happy that it only has an SPF of 20, nor am I pleased that I get very oily quickly with this product. I even feel like this made my skin break out some. I do like this on my neck, however, in the winter I try not to use tinted sunscreens on the neck area because it comes off on my black down coat which just looks gross. This will go in the drawer until summer again until it can be slathered on my neck.
Because I'm so oily, I do not moisturize my skin before applying sunscreen. The sunscreen seems to be moisturizing enough. After I wash my face in the morning, I've been applying a rice toner and then a prescription of azelaic acid. Then sunscreen is my next and final step. I’ve come to enjoy the routine of protecting my skin each morning and only wish I had started it decades ago. I resisted wearing sunscreen for many years because of oily skin and acne. Just because you have rosacea doesn’t mean you have to stick to a mineral sunscreen, although they do seem to be easily tolerated. I think there are enough products on the market now for people who have challenging skin like me. It just takes some trial and error to find the right one. Even though it’s winter, don’t forget your sunscreen! It’s imperative with rosacea, but not only that, it’s imperative for preventing age related sun damage and skin cancer.