As I mentioned in a previous post, I consulted with a functional medicine or integrative medicine doctor as a means to improve widespread inflammation, including my rosacea. This process has been really eye-opening for me, and I wanted to share an update. Let me reiterate that you should consult with your doctor before starting any diet on your own.
What I appreciated most about this doctor was that it was scientifically based. He utilized lots of lab work in order to devise an individualized plan. It took some time to get all the results in so that I could begin this program. What surprised me and at the same time, did not, was that all of the healthy foods I had been regularly consuming I had become sensitized to and were causing inflammation. Hard to believe that broccoli, spinach, ginger, and blueberries were a problem! I’ve always known I did not tolerate wheat and dairy, even since infancy, however I was shocked that I also had an egg allergy among many other things. Because I have a dairy intolerance, I had been using coconut milk and almond milk products, but this testing revealed I was now sensitive to these as well. Thankfully, macadamia milk and oat milk are not off limits for me. This doctor put me on a very restrictive rotation diet. The foods I was not reacting to were allowed, but I had to rotate them every four days so that I would not become sensitized to those. In addition, I was placed on supplements to heal my leaky gut. Unfortunately, none of this was covered under my insurance so it can mean a lot of out of pocket cost. I guess when you compare it to the cost of poor health, there is no comparison!
What was the result? After a couple months, I noticed many of my symptoms were improving including anxiety and swollen hands. I had been unable to wear any rings for almost nine months prior and had even had my wedding ring resized so that I could wear it. I very quickly lost ten pounds and now my resized wedding ring was too big!
The downside to this rotation diet is that it did not fix all of my problems. My rosacea has improved over time, but I’m not sure how much is just related to using sunscreen and other topical treatments. It has also become increasingly difficult to stick to the diet. Currently I’m travelling quite a bit and it is really challenging to plan and pack all my food while still working. Since I’ve been slacking off some on the diet, I have noticed more headaches, body aches, and malaise setting in. After four to six months, I am supposed to try reintroducing problem foods to see if I can tolerate them. I will likely always avoid dairy and wheat. It doesn’t mean I won’t ever cheat but I just do not feel well when I do. I miss eating foods I love, so I am hoping as I reintroduce foods that if I keep them on a rotation, I will be able to tolerate them. My evening snack used to always be coconut milk yogurt and blueberries, but I’ve learned people like me who become sensitized to their food cannot eat the same things every day.
One benefit to this experience is that it helped me to open up to all new foods. It has been fun to grocery shop just for me and it was a way to nurture myself which I had neglected for so long. Be encouraged, mamas, that God will lead you when you seek Him! We live in a fallen world, so perfect health is likely not attainable, but God is our healer! More than physical health, spiritual health should be our focus. I Timothy 4:8 tells us “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
For the longest time I used CeraVe’s Foaming Facial Cleanser with having oily skin. I still love that cleanser but wanted to try a couple of LaRoche Posay cleansers. Their Tolerian Purifying Foaming Cleanser is probably my favorite, even more than the CeraVe cleanser I had been using. This cleanser has ceramides and niacinamide in it. It does not burn my skin at all. It leaves my skin feeling cleansed and soft, not stripped. I like that it foams up and feels like it is cleansing my oily skin. I still use Hada Labo Cleansing oil as a first cleanse at the end of the day to remove sunscreen and mascara.
Most recently I ordered the LaRoche Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser since it was supposed to be formulated for intolerant skin, hello, yes! I thought I would love this; however, I do find it stings a little. It is a creamy formula similar to Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser. It does not remove my mascara nor does it feel like it fully removes sunscreen, so I’m using this one up in the morning, but only occasionally since it does sting a bit.
Keeping my skincare simple is key for rosacea, so I will likely continue to purchase the LaRoche Posay Tolerian Purifying Foaming Cleanser. Why keep trying new products when you find something that works? It’s also a reasonable price and you get a big bottle.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using DRMTLGY’s Universal Tinted Sunscreen for a while now. It’s been really hydrating through the winter for my sensitive skin. With the steamy days of summer here, I’ve been seeking out matte sunscreens since I can be very oily, especially on hot days. I have enjoyed the Replenix matte sunscreen in the past, but it has not been available for a while now. I believe they may be reformulating it and it is supposed to be available sometime this summer.
Recently I purchased two sunscreens from MD SolarSciences. One is their Mineral Crème SPF 50 and the second is Mineral Tinted Crème SPF 30. With rosacea the tint in sunscreens have been giving a really nice finish to my skin. I do not wear any make up over my sunscreen so these tend to do the job.
The MD SolarSciences Mineral Tinted Crème SPF 30 may be my favorite sunscreen yet. My skin is medium in tone with pink/red undertones. The tint in this product is just the right shade for me. My daughter is very pale and counted this a success also for color. The product goes on silky smooth and leaves a matte, but dewy finish. It did settle in lines a bit when I used around my eyes. For younger ones, this might not be an issue! My little tip is to use the DRMTLGY Universal Tinted Sunscreen all around my eyes because it does not settle into lines at all because it is a combination sunscreen. I love the MD SolarSciencesTinted sunscreen on my neck also since it hides some redness I have there. It does settle into some deep neck wrinkles for me, so lately I've been using the DRMTLGY sunscreen all over my neck and using the MD SolarSciences Tinted on the sides of my neck to camouflage redness. I have found that with consistent sunscreen use, my neck seems less red overall.
The non-tinted mineral MD SolarSciences SPF 50 sunscreen had the same beautiful texture I love as an oily individual. It melted right in and left a nice dewy, yet matte finish. However, this did leave too much of a white cast on my redness prone skin. It wasn’t terrible, but enough to make me not totally happy with the product. I actually tried to return it because I don’t like to keep things I don’t love. I was a bit disappointed to hear they would not send me a prepaid label for the return. For the cost of return postage, I decided to keep it, use it up and not reorder. This product settles into the lines of my neck and leaves visible white, horizontal lines which bothers me. I am using this up on my face on the weekend or for days at the beach. I like that it is SPF 50, but my tip is to use Cetaphil’s tinted sunscreen which is SPF 20 in areas on my face where I want a little bit of color – forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin. If you’ve ever used this Cetaphil product, you know it is quite colored which I like to use almost as make up in specific areas.
I will definitely reorder the MD SolarSciences Mineral Tinted Crème SPF 30, but before I do, I’d like to venture into some Colorescience sunscreens first. Watch for a review on those before the summer is out. More than anything, make sure you use sunscreen! Any kind that you use is working to protect and improve your skin. This is the number one thing that I feel has greatly improved my sensitive, rosacea skin.
I’ve always had very oily skin. People with oily skin have larger oil glands and oil can be caused by several factors, but genetics plays a major role. My mother always had oily skin and I remember her saying, “Hopefully it will help me look young in my old age!” In the meantime, it can be very annoying.
I had heard niacinamide can reduce oiliness over time. The first product I tried for about two months was The Ordinary Niacinamide. This product stung my face every time I applied it and I did not notice any difference using it. The second product I tried and am currently still using is Purito Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence which contains 5% Niacinamide and 92% Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, which is actually a nutrient dense yeast. Immediately, it felt so soothing to my face, and guess what? No sting! Fairly quickly, it seemed that my face was not getting as oily as fast in the day and even by the end of the day oiliness was reduced. I truly think this product is helping the most with oil production. I’m not sure if it is the niacinamide in the product or the galactomyces ferment, but I also think my skin looks brighter since I started using this. I’m debating when it’s gone if I should stick with this or try another brand just for fun.
Once a week, I’ve recently introduced Cetaphil Pro Dermacontrol Purifying Clay Mask. It’s a white clay mask but it does not dry like many clay masks. It stays sort of moist on the skin and I feel like it draws out oil, but leaves my skin baby soft at the same time.
Lastly, I have slowly been working up from Tretinoin .025% Cream to Tretinoin .05% Cream. The use of a retinoid has also helped to reduce oil and refine my pores. When I use the stronger .05% cream at night, I feel a slight burning sensation the next morning when applying products, however I learned a little tip on YouTube of applying a nighttime moisturizer first and applying the retinoid on top of that which does seem to reduce irritation. Tretinoin has helped tremendously with the acne portion of rosacea for me. While using the .025% cream, I noticed I was still getting some small pustules and blackheads which seem to respond well to the stronger cream.
Those are some little tips that have helped reduce oil for me. It's a fine, balancing act to do so and not cause further irritation with rosacea. What have you tried that has helped you?
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.
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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.
Most people know rosacea is a condition of the skin, but did you know it can affect the eyes as well? My rosacea actually started as a rash around my eyes. Over time, it spread to the rest of my face and even to my ears and down my neck. Eventually, my eyelids started to swell and I would awaken in the morning with crusted over eyes. The eyeballs themselves were looking more and more red, bloodshot, and felt constantly irritated, dry, and scratchy. By mid-afternoon, I was having blurry vision. I’ve always had auto-immune related dry eyes, so I was used to some of these symptoms, but after my first rosacea flare, it felt like my eye issues just ramped up in severity. This was more than my typical dry eye.
Yes, this is a picture of my very own eye. Not pretty. When my eye problems continued even after initial rosacea treatment, I made an appointment with my ophthalmologist. He agreed this was rosacea involvement and after examining my eyes, he told me I had a condition called blepharitis as well. Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids and it goes along with rosacea. Even now, I can’t really tell how much is dry eye and how much is rosacea. The doctor assures me it doesn’t really matter anyway because it’s all connected.
Treatment for me included oral antibiotics (which was already prescribed from the dermatologist), antibiotic eye drops for a week, continued use of gel lubricating drops which I had been using prior to my appointment, and a morning and evening routine of ten-minute hot compresses to the eyes followed by eye scrubs with an over the counter product. (From ophthalmologist instruction in the past, I had learned to thoroughly wash my eyes along with my entire face and then to use a washcloth with additional gentle cleanser to the eyes. I’ve also used hot compresses in the past for my dry eye condition.)
After sticking to this routine for two weeks, I did see some improvement. At first, the eye scrub product felt very abrasive to my eyelids, but I stuck with it and let the product do its work without applying too much pressure. I have noticed some breakage of the eyelashes and even some eyelashes which have fallen out. (This will be a follow up discussion with the eye doctor.) I get up very early to go to work, so sticking to the ten-minute soaks in the morning was the most difficult part of the routine. (Lately I’ve slacked off of this in the morning just due to the time constraint and I definitely have noticed some regression in my eyes.) I am really enjoying the soaks at night. It has become part of my routine to unwind at the end of the day and it does feel so soothing to my eyes. I’ve made it a little more fun by using the time to listen to my favorite YouTube dermatologist videos during this time. In the mornings, I was using the time to prepare for the day by listening to praise and worship songs. I’m definitely getting back to this.
At a follow up visit with the ophthalmologist, a steroid eye drop was added into my routine, twice a day for a week and then down to once a day as needed. Overall, I am glad I went to the ophthalmologist. There was not any one thing that was a miracle worker, but all these things together have given a bit more improvement in my eyes. The whites of my eyes are still quite red. I asked the doctor about Lumify eye drops which I had seen in stores. Unfortunately for me, although they whitened my eyes pretty immediately, the result did not last more than about an hour. They’re expensive also. I do believe the steroid eye drop has helped a bit with the discomfort during the day. I’ve noticed I’m not thinking quite as often about how uncomfortable they feel.
If you are in a rosacea flare and you think your eyes are possibly affected, I would encourage you to seek out an ophthalmologist. Be prepared for some work on your part, but with some diligence which you can begin to view as self-care (you might actually enjoy it!), your eyes can improve! This eye stuff has caused me to think a lot about eyes. As a believer in Christ, it reminds me of Psalm 17:8, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” To be the apple of someone’s eye is to be completely cherished! I’ve also heard it explained before that this expression of being the apple of someone’s eye comes from the tiny reflection we can see of ourselves when we look in someone’s eye who is also looking at us. So, when we ask God to keep us as the apple of His eye, we are yearning for God to keep his close eye on us! It may seem like you are super focused on what you are going through right now, but take some time to think of the big picture and put things in perspective. We are never outside of God’s eye and we are cherished by Him more than we can even comprehend.
This rosacea journey has prompted the question of “what is true beauty?” As women and for even very young ladies, we are taught through the world that our beauty is what others decide. People might say it is beautiful unblemished skin, perfect facial features, long, lustrous hair, and a toned body. And when that doesn’t fit into our world, we feel ugly, unaccepted, and it even causes us to hide from others. Why have we allowed society to determine our definition of beauty?
Why do we try to hide our not-so-perfect features? Why can’t we see beauty in the midst of acne, rosacea, hair loss, bodies that don’t function like they do for others, bodies that we wish were different? Being forced to go without makeup during rosacea challenges, helped me to find my true beauty. Beauty can be found in the things we don’t like so much about ourselves. It’s in the imperfection that beauty shines through. We are hard on ourselves, but if we were to ask others, they would say it’s our unique features that are so beautiful. When we look at other women and think, “I wish I looked like her”, she might be thinking the same thing about the very thing in you that you don’t like so much!
Rosacea actually gave me confidence to not feel like I have to cover up every blemish. Why does society look at acne, for example, differently than it looks at any other medical condition? Why must one feel like she must cover visible imperfections to feel accepted? It’s actually really freeing to run to the store and not really even care what someone might think of that big cyst on your forehead! By not constantly covering every single skin condition, we force society to think about its reaction to visible health conditions, and perhaps we might even change what society considers true beauty.
And yet, it isn’t Rosacea that tells me I’m beautiful. It’s God, Himself! He just used this journey to be a teaching moment for me. He tells me in I Peter 3:3-4 that “your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” This encourages me to dig into His Word so my heart can be changed by God and others can see that inner beauty shine outward. He made you and me in HIS Image, too! Celebrate today how God made you, ladies! He does not make mistakes, and in Psalm 139, He tells us we are fearfully and wonderfully made! I challenge you today to love how God made you, full of blemish and full of beauty all at the same time. There is no one else like you, so embrace those attributes you have that are yours alone. It defines your true beauty!
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After some initial treatment, I started to feel hopeful that Rosacea could possibly be managed and I wouldn’t suffer with this awful rash forever. About one and a half months into my treatment, I went in for a scheduled major surgery and as a result, suffered a mild lupus flare along with an exacerbation of my rosacea including redness and small pustules. I had suffered with cystic acne as a teenager and young adult and large cysts were starting to pop up after my surgery, which I had not had in a long time.
During my recovery, I was plagued with digestive issues and the surgeon recommended I stop the Doxycycline which I was taking for rosacea. (I see now that my digestive problems were not from the Doxycycline, but from the surgery itself. More healing time helped me.) Stopping the antibiotic contributed further to my rosacea setback. I noticed the biggest change in my eyes. They were looking puffy again, even the eyelid margins felt swollen, and they were feeling very scratchy, irritated, and were much redder than before my surgery.
A follow up appointment with the dermatologist confirmed that the anesthesia and drugs used during the surgery as well as the physical stress of the whole ordeal caused my rosacea to flare. She put me back on a form of Doxycycline which is timed released and a lower dosage than my initial treatment. She wanted to keep me on the lowest dose to keep my condition managed. I also discussed my desire to use Tretinoin to see if it would help the acne portion of the rosacea and the fact that it also helps with anti-aging was a plus for me at fifty! She said I could start the cream very slowly, once a week at first, but cautioned that it could worsen rosacea.
This combination along with the basic skincare I was using (see my earlier post) and the continued use of topical Soolantra began to settle my skin. The Tretinoin seemed to help with the acne portion. My eyes felt only slightly improved, and shortly after this, I consulted with an ophthalmologist (a future post coming soon!) I do not like being on an antibiotic for any length of time. An antibiotic kills off your good bacteria as well, so I’ve started taking a probiotic. The dermatologist explained that there is not much treatment available for the eyes afflicted with rosacea and oral antibiotics is the targeted treatment for this.
Tretinoin caused peeling of my skin, so for the first week, I only used it one night. (Do not exfoliate this peeling skin, but rather use a good moisturizer and it will resolve.) Then the second week, I increased to twice a week, and so on until I had worked up to every night. At that point, I noticed that when I had to wear a mask in public due to Covid, my face felt like it was burning under the mask. I decided to cut my Tretinoin use back. When I returned to my dermatologist, her preference was to put me on Azelaic acid instead. She said intermittent use of the Tretinoin would not give me the benefit of a nightly use of Azelaic acid. My skin immediately loved the Azelaic acid, however, I began to notice some mild acne. I’ve only recently started back on the Tretinoin once a week because I like how it makes my skin look. Remember, I have oily skin, so dryer skin types with Rosacea may not tolerate Tretinoin.
As you can see, it takes working with your doctor to manage a stubborn condition such as this. Life events can trigger Rosacea. There will be backwards steps, but just as I learned as an EDS Mama, Hope Always! And if you are right at the beginning of a Rosacea journey, know that you will get improvement with proper management.
The very first thing one should do when faced with a skin condition is consult with their dermatologist. You cannot self-diagnose because what you see could be a million different things. Even my dermatologist took some time to reach a diagnosis for me. In my case, when my skin did not respond to the initial treatment of what the doctor thought was dermatitis, I underwent a skin biopsy which gave definitive answers. I have no scar from the procedure at all and a diagnosis allowed me to get treatment right away for rosacea, so I would do it all over again.
Immediately having a diagnosis, I stopped all my natural, botanical skincare products I was using. This was hard for me because I always thought that natural was better, but as I learned about my condition, I realized even natural products could be exacerbating my condition. I learned that essential oils and botanicals can irritate my sensitive skin.
Two things turned my skin around quickly: Soolantra and antibiotics. My dermatologist prescribed Soolantra, which is an ivermectin lotion. People with rosacea have a higher than normal level of mites on the skin. They don’t know if this is a cause or effect of rosacea. Because my eyes were affected (they were swollen, red, and goopy in the mornings), my doctor prescribed two months of an antibiotic. Within days of starting this regimen, I started to see major improvement. (Stay tuned for another post on my eye involvement as I recently had to visit an ophthalmologist.) I’ve always hated sunscreen, but my doctor advised that I also needed to start using it as the sun was making my rosacea worse. I started watching YouTube videos by Dr. Dray, a dermatologist who is diligent about incorporating sunscreen into a daily beauty routine. I actually look forward to applying my sunscreen every morning; it has become a part of self-care for me.
These are the products I used for my own rosacea. I wash morning and night with Cerave foaming face wash for oily skin. I have oily skin along with rosacea and I was noticing that as my skin got oilier as the day went on, I would get more symptomatic with burning, itching, and redness. CeraVe has parabens in it, which I have always tried to avoid, but I’ve started to change my thinking on skincare products as I’ve had to adapt to what works for my skin. Things I avoid like the plague now include the sun, essential oils, fragrance, and botanicals. Now I see that as soon as I add in a product with essential oils or botanicals, my skin reacts. In the morning, after washing with the CeraVe foaming face wash, I apply my prescribed topical Soolantra. After that, I apply sunscreen. You can read down further for my initial sunscreen experience, but I am constantly trying new ones. Soon, I will post a review of many different brands. I have stopped using any make up on my skin especially with all the mask wearing. Because my eyes have been affected, the only make up I really use is mascara. On a very special occasion, I may use some eyeliner or eye shadow but I love how using no make-up makes it quick to get ready in the morning! I have little eyes with fair eyelashes, so I feel like I need the mascara. If I had big eyes with lush eyelashes, I would go sans mascara in a heartbeat!
At night time, currently I feel like I need an extra product to break down the sunscreen (although when I was first diagnosed, I did not use this product, just the CeraVe Foaming Face Wash.) Even though I have oily skin, I am loving using Habo Lado Cleansing Oil first. It breaks down the sunscreen and mascara and rinses cleanly away with plain water and it has no added fragrance. After that, I use the Cerave Foaming Face Wash and follow with Cerave moisturizing lotion applied to damp skin. The lotion says it is for Normal to Dry skin, but it just feels so soothing on my sensitive skin. I love it. I do not use any moisturizer in the morning because the Soolantra feels like it moisturizes well before my sunscreen application. I did try Neutrogena moisturizer for Sensitive skin and although I liked the lightweight feel of it, it burned my skin when I applied it and I quit using it. I also tried using Neutrogena Ultra Hydrating Gentle Cleanser in the morning and since it also stung my skin, I quit using it. Some people, including Dr. Dray, do not wash their face in the morning, but I find I am oily when I wake up, so I continue to wash twice a day.
Sunscreen has been a huge challenge for me with oily skin. I’ve always hated it. I do wish I had started using it earlier, however, because I have lots of sun damage on my neck which is photosensitive and the deep wrinkles remind me I have started too late. I am still trying to find a sunscreen I like. I first tried Cerave 50 SPF and it left me with a white cast, but did not seem to break me out. I do find the zinc oxide is calming to my skin and even helps with the acne that comes along with rosacea for me. Currently, I like LaRoche Posay Anthelios 50 sunscreen all over my face and neck as a base. It has a liquid, milky texture which I like. I learned from Dr. Dray to use tinted sunscreens as a makeup. Currently I seem to be liking Replenix UltiMATTE Perfection 50+ Tinted Sunscreen which I layer over top of the LaRoche Posay sunscreen on my cheeks, nose, and forehead. I am excited to try a Purito brand sunscreen soon which is supposed to be good for oily skin. I will keep you posted.
And that is it for starters! The biggest piece of advice is to keep it simple! Less is more! Cleanse, moisturize, and apply sunscreen along with any topicals your doctor prescribes. Take some time to test products. If you try too much at once, you will not know what works and what irritates your skin. Be realistic. Rosacea has no cure, so don't be surprised if it is not gone completely. I would say, for me at this point, it is simmering beneath the surface. And remember, I am no doctor so always, always, ask your doctor what is right for you.