I used my new sunscreen today and my skin feels great! I can’t tell you how relieved I am to say that.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you will know about my sunscreen disaster which set back all of my progress with my red light therapy (if you’d like to read it, it’s here: Day 5: Disaster! Bad Rosacea Flush from Sunscreen!).
However, I have since found a new sunscreen and I am thrilled to say that it is definitely working (more about that product here: Day 6: The Red Light Therapy is Clearing My Rosacea Symptoms Again).
Now that I’m in full recovery mode from the massive rosacea flush that brought out all of my symptoms in full force, I’d like to take the time to talk about some of the things that I do aside from red light rosacea treatments to overcome a flare-up.
Rosacea flushes need to be treated very delicately
When you have a rosacea flush, some of the things that you would instinctively do are exactly the opposite of what you should do. It’s like Mother Nature gave us all of the wrong natural instructions to follow for this condition. I guess there are times when she can be as clueless about things as the rest of us!
Based on my own experience (and please remember that I am not a doctor) the first thing that I recommend is to treat your skin as though it is extremely delicate.
When I have a flush, my rosacea symptoms are as follows:
- bumps – sometimes just red, other times tiny whitehead-like spots
- burning sensation on the skin
- sometimes an ultra dry, roughness around my jawline/temples
So here is what my instincts tell me to do. Do NOT do what my instincts tell me to do. Treat your skin delicately:
- I want to treat redness by covering it up with foundation makeup/powders. Unless you absolutely must use makeup because you have a presentation or a wedding, for example, try to keep your skin cleansed and moisturized with nothing else on it. When your skin is having a flare-up, it is hyper sensitized and even water can make it worse. As long as you can stand it, don’t use makeup on flushing skin.
- I usually leave the regular little bumps alone. They’re just red bumps. But when the little whitehead-like dealies show up, all I want to do is scratch them off. Yes it’s a gross inclination, but I’m trying to be honest with you. Remember, though, that these are not pimples (which shouldn’t be scratched off/popped anyway, btw). These ones will go away on their own and the more you treat them well, the faster they will heal. Do not use acne medication or spot treatments on them, this will worsen your already irritated skin. Mine will often be gone within a few hours of appearing if I leave them alone and keep up with my healthiest rosacea skin care routine. Red light therapy has virtually eliminated the worst of this symptom.
- When my skin is burning, I want to splash cold water on it. That said, both extreme temperatures and tap water can be hard on rosacea symptoms. Instead, drink lots of water, try to stay in a cool room out of direct sunlight, and occasionally mist with thermal water (I’ll talk about thermal water more some other time. This blog is already getting long) and after a few seconds, lightly dab it off with a clean microfiber cloth (not a paper towel or regular hand towel).
- When a flare-up is itchy, all I want to do is scratch it. Resisting can be maddening. Keeping my skin cool can be helpful but red light therapy is the only thing that has made it go away for more than a few minutes at a time. It has made a huge difference in that symptom.
- When my skin is tight and dry I want to use cream hydration masks and thick/heavy moisturizers. The best thing, though, is to stick to your usual cleansing and moisturizing routine as long as it usually works. Consistency is important and the dryness will often pass as the flush eases. If it doesn’t, consider a slightly heavier moisturizer, but only if you think you’ll need it for several weeks, straight. The red light therapy has also helped with this symptom, for me.
- When I have ultra dry rough patches of skin on my jawline and up near my temples, all I want to do is use a facial scrub or at least use a washcloth to “exfoliate”. That’s about the worst thing that can be done for rosacea symptoms. It invites infection and encourages redness and irritation. It also slows the healing process of your other symptoms.
Nothing more abrasive than the pads of your fingertips should ever come in contact with your face. Even then, you should make sure that you are using clean hands and you should barely put any pressure on your skin. If you can see it stretching, you’re pushing too hard. Very gently use circular motions for about 30 seconds per area and that’s all you should need with a skin cleanser for reactive, sensitive skin. That will clean your skin without damaging it or pushing bacteria back into your pores, and it will encourage circulation to the area so that it will be recharged with oxygen and nutrients from your blood.
I have tried a few different kinds of products and home remedies for rosacea flare-ups and flushes, and a few have worked while others have been disastrous. I’ll be sure to write about that in a future post. If I forget, please remind me in the comments below. We’re in this together, after all 😉
Back to my red light rosacea treatment progress
One cool thing that I noticed, today, was that I was out walking in the warm weather and despite the heat and humidity (and the new sunscreen), I didn’t suffer a flush! My face looked the same before I went out as it did when I arrived home. 🙂
Here are my pictures of today’s progress. I’m really considering taking the pictures before the treatments instead of after, so that my skin looks its actual colour instead of redder than usual. I wash my face before every red light therapy session (because it works best on clean skin), and my skin tends to be redder than usual for a while after I wash it. Still, there is visible progress. Yay!
More tomorrow! 🙂
Other factors to be considered:
- The temperature high today was 26ºC (79ºF)
- The temperature low overnight was 14ºC (57ºF)
- No alcohol or spicy foods
- I spent two periods of 30 minutes in direct sunlight, today and I wore sunscreen.