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.