Week 4: Light Therapy Progress and the Rosacea Sleep Mystery

The rosacea symptoms benefits and drawbacks of a great night sleep.

I have to apologize for being absent for another span of time.  I have an excuse!  I was sick for about a week and a half.  That said, I still made sure to do my red light therapy for my rosacea symptoms every day.  It does sound like dedication, but when you consider that it only takes 6 minutes of sitting still with your eyes closed, that’s not too much to demand from yourself when you have a sore throat and then a cold.

That said, I’m back and I’m healthy and the virus I had didn’t seem to stop my skin from healing with the help of the red light therapy.  In fact, I think that the light therapy actually helped to heal up my nose a lot faster than it usually would.  By the end of my cold, my nose and upper lip (and that spot in between) were red and chapped with those little dried skin bits (ewww) but two days later, you couldn’t even tell!  I feel like that was my reward for sticking with it 🙂

Overall, my progress is doing very well.  The bumps are completely gone from my cheeks.  I’m still pink cheeked, but I’m not red cheeked anymore, so there is still progress happening there, too.  The changes haven’t been as fast as they were over the first week or two of the treatments, but it’s steady, so I’m still very happy with it.  I haven’t had a flare-up of my rosacea symptoms in about two weeks and my skin isn’t overly dry, itchy, or hot.

I keep telling people that if I didn’t have a mirror, I wouldn’t know that I had any rosacea symptoms at all, anymore!

But here’s something I have learned over the last little while that I find rather interesting.

The way that you sleep can actually hold back the healing of your rosacea symptoms!

red light therapy rosacea symptoms and sleepI am someone who struggles with sleep.  I go through bouts of insomnia, mostly because I have an anxiety disorder.  I won’t go into that, here.  Once I get started talking about that, it takes me too long to stop.  You’re welcome 😉

The point is that I had always thought that my lack of quality sleep had been a contributor to my struggle with healthy skin.  After all, a major component of proper skin care is a good night of sleep.  Even people who don’t have a skin condition will tell you that hydration, a healthy diet, and a good night of sleep will keep your complexion clear and will help to prevent premature aging.

Still, every time I get a truly great night of sleep (they’re few and far between, but they do happen), my skin hasn’t healed as much as it seems to when I have a broken, short night of sleep.

For a while, I was starting to think that red light therapy works best for rosacea when you don’t sleep, or perhaps that rosacea, as a condition, is somehow worsened by sleep.  I knew those were silly, but that’s how it started to seem!  I consistently saw less progress from my rosacea treatments with the light therapy when I was able to get an unbroken 6 or 7 hours (that’s the most I get, so I consider that a “great” night).

Then I made a discovery.  The sleeping issue seemed to be affecting only one side of my face!  Aha!  It’s the side of my face that is ever-so delicately smushed into my pillow every night.  That meant that it was one of two things that could be causing the slowing of the rosacea treatment benefits:

  1. The constant pressure from the pillow worsens rosacea symptoms, or;
  2. The constant contact with whatever was on the pillow case worsens them (that is, the detergent, fabric softener, face moisturizer from the night before, or even hair or skin oils…it’s somewhat icky to think about your pillow case for too long).

I already change my pillow case twice per week, so I decided to be “scientific” about things.  I took 7 pillow cases out of my linen closet and washed them all in fragrance-free, dye-free, hypoallergenic detergent without fabric softener.  I then changed my pillow case every night for a week.  It made a difference!

The bad side was still not doing as well as the other side, but it certainly wasn’t healing as slowly as it had been.  My “scientific” conclusion is that both of the factors that I identified likely play a role in keeping the rosacea symptoms on that side of my face from healing as quickly as they could.

Since I struggle with sleep, I’m not about to try to change sleeping positions completely and end up causing myself to lose even more rest than I already do.  But I have begun to use a fresh, clean pillow case (washed in the most gentle detergent I have) every night to make sure that I’m not pressing my face against the products, oils, or other evils from the night before.

I love discovering these tiny little things that I can do to make a visible difference 🙂

Red light therapy is a fantastic rosacea treatment for me, but it is important to keep in mind that it’s not a silver bullet.  When it comes to this condition, nothing is.  All of your efforts have to work together.

What I have learned is that I am able to maintain my rosacea symptoms and stop them from getting worse by way of lifestyle habits (hydrating, gentle skin care, avoiding too much heat, avoiding trigger foods and, apparently, changing my pillow case every night, among other things), but the red light therapy is what actually heals the issues that have already built up over the last fifteen years.

Speaking of healing rosacea symptoms, here are my latest pictures:

Cheek 1 - rosacea symptoms July 7 2015  Cheek 2 - rosacea symptoms July 7 2015

(click here to see the pics I took on the first day of treatment – What a difference!)

I’ve had a couple of topic requests recently (thank you!) and I do plan to cover them in coming posts.  The first has to do with the skin care products that I use on a regular basis.  It will be a run-down of what I have tried and what I currently use.  I know I’ve mentioned some of them in the past, but this will put it all in one place.

I’ll also talk about what I do in terms of makeup for rosacea – both in choosing products that don’t irritate, and covering up the redness.  I’m not a makeup expert, but I feel like I’ve mastered covering up rosacea symptoms on my own face without making them worse at the same time.  I don’t need it as much, lately, but I still want to share what I know in case it helps someone!

If you have any requests for topics that you’d like covered in the future, please feel welcome to comment in the box,  below!

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