Rosacea on Spring Break: Will We Ever Look Tanned Again?

Rosy JulieBC Rosacea Sun Protection Skin Care

Rosy JulieBC Rosacea Sun Protection Skin CareSpring Break is nearly here and for a lot of us, that means we either want to spend some time in the sun or look as though we have.  For those of us with rosacea, both possibilities can pose a rather significant challenge.

Tanning is a relatively controversial topic both in terms of achieving the look from sun exposure or through sunless methods.  UV rays (from both the sun and tanning beds) and certain chemicals in self-tanning products have been directly linked with an increased risk of skin cancer and premature aging.  However, that won’t be the topic of this post.  There are tons of articles online from some fantastic sources, and I recommend checking them out if you want to learn more about that (important) topic.

Here are two from ConsumerSafety.org that I find particularly helpful:

The Trouble with Traditional and Sunless Tanning with Rosacea

When you have rosacea, you need to keep those aforementioned issues in mind above and beyond the fact that the sun is the top rosacea trigger, according to the National Rosacea Society.  Their figures show that 81% of us are triggered by sunlight. That’s more than 4 out of every 5 rosacea sufferers!

Rosy JulieBC - spring break sun protection with rosaceaAnother 41% of us are triggered by certain skin care products – nearly 1 in 2 rosacea sufferers.  That means that regardless of whether we’re into traditional or sunless tanning, rosacea can present a considerable barrier to achieving that sun-kissed look on Spring Break.

Since there are a lot of us facing this challenge at the moment, ConsumerSafety.org has asked me to share my thoughts on the topic.  They also provided me with a handy list of general tips we can follow to take care of the rest of our skin to avoid “sun shock,” skin cancer and other sun damage.  Click here to download that list for free.

Please note that this is not a sponsored blog post.  ConsumerSafety.org asked me to discuss Spring Break and skincare for fun in the sun with my own spin. It’s such a great and relevant topic that I was more than happy to comply.

Tanning in the Sun with Rosacea

If you’ve been reading my blog or watching my Rosy JulieBC YouTube channel for a while, then you know that I fall into that group of people whose rosacea symptoms are triggered by sunlight.  This means that for me, tanning my face is out of the question.

Rosy JulieBC - broad brimmed hat sun protectionFor one thing, I don’t tan, I burn.  For another thing, it causes my cheeks to turn dark purply-red and I break out in papules and pustules that look like acne (though they’re not).  After even a short time in the sun, my skin feels tight, hot and will sometimes sting or feel itchy.

This is even worse at a time like Spring Break, when I’ve spent the last few months thoroughly covered up during the winter and have had limited time for natural sun exposure, anyway.

How to Enjoy Spring Break in the Sun with Rosacea

This doesn’t mean that I can’t go to a place that is sunny and warm.  It just means that some extra precautions are necessary.

Rosy JulieBC - sunscreen for rosaceaI’ve accepted the fact that I will not be lying out in the sun with my face in the direct sunlight.  Still, it doesn’t mean I need to find the nearest dark cave and hide in it while everyone else is out and having fun.

Here’s what’s in my rosacea sun exposure toolkit:

  • Moisturizer – thoroughly moisturized skin fares far better against the sun than dry skin. My skin is naturally as hydrated as the Sahara Desert, so I stick to a rigid moisturizing routine on a regular basis, but particularly when I’ll be in the sun as well. Some top favourite products for this include:
    • SBT Seabuckthorn’s Chokecherry Oil
    • SBT Seabuckthorn’s Tea Cream
    • Face Addiction’s Soft Cream
    • Celtic Complection’s Creme
  • Sunscreen – of all the skincare products I use, a good sunscreen is the hardest for me to find. The reason is that most sunscreens contain ingredients that cause my skin to flare up.  There are a few that I’ve found that don’t cause a rosacea flare-up.
    I apply the products a half hour before heading out to give them the chance to absorb and start working at their fullest. I’ll then reapply every 2 hours or more frequently if I’ve been swimming or sweating a lot. Each have their benefits and drawbacks, but my favourites include the following:

    • The Matter Company’s Substance
    • Celtic Complexion’s Organic Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
    • Celtic Complexion’s Tinted Moisturizer SPF 31
    • La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Mineral Tinted Ultra-Light Fluid Lotion
  • A Wide-Brimmed Hat – I don’t mean a baseball cap. I mean a hat with a big brim that goes all the way around to shade my face from sun in all directions.  Some hats actually come with an SPF, which I appreciate.  Otherwise, I just look for one that provides actual shade and that doesn’t have lots of holes (for example in a loose weave) that would let the light through.
  • A Parasol – I’ve started to love using bright and pretty parasols. I save the black umbrella for rain protection. For the sun, I use a brightly patterned, summery umbrella or a Chinese-style parasol.  I’ve collected several options over the years so I can match them to my outfit or my mood.
  • Water – staying hydrated gives skin an extra boost of protection. The healthier skin is, the better it can protect itself from the sun and the less likely it is to experience rosacea symptoms. Getting a great refillable bottle helps to encourage me to drink from it more – and to bring it in the first place!

Those are the tips I use for my face.  For the rest of my body, I follow the tips mentioned in the ConsumerSafety.org list I mentioned earlier.  These help to avoid sun shock and keep skin healthy and comfortable while reducing the risk of sunburn.

Sunless Tanning with Rosacea

Rosy JulieBC - sunless tannerThere are two main categories of sunless tanning: tanning beds and topical products.  I’m not going to talk about tanning beds as an option for several reasons: I’ve never tried them, I think they’re dangerous to a person’s health, and they are a fast route to a rosacea flare-up so I don’t feel that they apply for our needs.

So that leaves us with the second category: topical products.  These come in the form of sprays, lotions, creams, serums, oils and several others.  I’ve tried a few of these over the years but, to be honest, I started phasing them out when I began taking my rosacea seriously.

The reason is that I couldn’t find a single topical self-tanner that didn’t irritate my rosacea.  Since I didn’t want to have a tan-looking body and a white-and-red face, I gave up on trying to look tan at all.  That said, it isn’t impossible to look sun kissed just because you have rosacea.  The key is to choose your products carefully, apply them with a light hand and understand the ingredients.

How to Achieve a Spring Break Sun Kissed Look with Rosacea

Ideally, you can try to find a self tanner that you can use on your body and a matching tinted moisturizer or mineral makeup bronzer that will allow you to make it look as though your face and your body were in the same sunshine over spring break.

Rosy JulieBC - Bronzer for rosaceaTo do this realistically, don’t apply a ton of product to either your face or body.  Your goal shouldn’t be to look as though you baked in the sun for hours every single day.  That will only give you an orange or otherwise fake skin colour.  People won’t think you had a great time in the sun if you do that.  They’ll think you don’t know what you’re doing with self-tanner or that you made a concerted effort to bring out your inner oompa-loompa.

Instead, make your goal to have a bit of a healthy “glow.” Embrace your natural skin colour but enhance it with a very slightly darker golden shade that makes it look like you were able to step out into the light after having been inside all winter long. A little bit can go a long way for giving you a healthy look that shows you had a great time on Spring Break.

To make sure you’re using self-tanner properly and safely, consider checking out the Skin Cancer Foundation’s information about these products.  It provides some very handy insight about DHA (a major ingredient in nearly all self tanners) and in what ways it can be safely used as well as how it should be used in order to avoid risks to your health.

In terms of mineral makeup that can help you to bronze your face to match without causing a rosacea flare-up, here are some of my favourite options:

  • Cheeky Cosmetics Bronzing Powder
  • The All Natural Face Vegan Bronzer
  • Physician’s Formula Argan Wear Ultra-Nourishing Argan Oil Bronzer
  • Physician’s Formula Nude Wear Touch of Glow Palette
  • Everyday Minerals Bronzer

Rosacea After the Sun

This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s actually quite straightforward.  A little bit of preparation in advance will mean that you’ll be ready to work these tips into your Spring Break trip very conveniently.

Rosy JulieBC - parasolYou’ll be able to achieve the look you want – both there and when you come home – while keeping your skin healthy, protected and nourished, and saving yourself from a vacation filled with rosacea symptoms.

That said, nobody’s perfect.  If you do end up getting more sun than you meant, be sure to have a plan of action to get things under control very quickly.  Nourish your skin with after-sun products like La-Roche Posay’s Posthelios After Solar Repair, or my personal favourites: pure aloe vera gel and SBT Seabuckthorn’s After Sun Cream.

If you’ve had a sunburn, pure aloe vera gel and SBT Seabuckthorn’s Sunburn Soothing Salve (rich in coconut oil and other important oils that cool, hydrate and encourage healing in sunburned skin) can rapidly become your best friends.  These are worth having on hand for quick damage control, just in case.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun!

Rosy JulieBC - beach rosaceaNo matter what you’re doing over Spring Break, I hope you have a wonderful time and come home with calm skin, no rosacea symptoms and a huge journal of great memories.

 

I’d like to thank ConsumerSafety.org for inspiring me to write this post.

 

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Celtic Complexion Review: 8 Luxury Artisan Skincare Products Tested on Rosacea (Part 2)

Celtic Complexion Natural Skin Care for Rosacea

click to go back Rosy JulieBCContinued from Celtic Complexion Review: 8 Luxury Artisan Skincare Products Tested on Rosacea (Part 1)

Celtic Complexion Eye Elixir Hydrating Serum

Celtic Complexion Eye ElixirOf all the products I tested, the Celtic Complexion Eye Elixir seemed to feel the most luxurious to me.  I’m not exactly sure why that was.  Everything I tried was beautiful in its own way.  This one just seemed to have that extra something special.

Every feature of this product from the dainty roller-ball bottle to the gorgeous product it contained felt like I was treating myself.  It had that “spa treatment” sensation.

Typical of me, I read the instructions which said to use this product very sparingly and then I went ahead and used too much on my first application.  When the instructions tell you that one little sweep under the eyes is enough, they really mean it! I used this product every night for nearly a month before the teensy little container finally ran out.

It made my skin feel soft and smooth and when I woke up I didn’t have giant blue bags under my eyes. I’d also like to point out that I liked the feeling of the stainless steel ball of the applicator.  It was very cooling under the eye.

Ingredients: Argan oil, squalene oil, avocado oil, rosehip seed oil, carrot seed oil, sea buckthorn oil, evening primrose oil, borage seed oil, essential oils of ylang ylang, lavender, myrrh , rosewood, tangerine, bergamot.

Celtic Complexion Tinted Moisturizer

Celtic Complexion Tinted MoisturizerCeltic Complexion Tinted Moisturizer is a hydrating, natural sunscreen-and-foundation in one.

It comes in two shades: Light and Medium.

Mine said that it provides SPF 22 on it, but the website says it has an SPF 31.  I’m assuming that the formula has upgraded its protection since I tried it last summer.

As much as this can be used as a foundation or a moisturizer with a hint of coverage, I used it as a sunscreen under makeup.  If I was going somewhere that I wanted to look nice but where I’d need to be outside, this became my go-to base layer between my skin and my makeup.  It sat well under makeup and didn’t irritate my skin at all.

The sunscreen was a fantastic bonus. Unlike other sunscreens I’ve tried, this is neither drying nor greasy. This was a fantastic product to have last summer.

Ingredients: 25% zinc oxide, artesian spring water, cert. organic organic jojoba oil, cert organic extra virgin olive oil, organic shea butter, vegetable glycerin, vegetable emulsifying wax, vegetable vitamin e, iron oxide.

Celtic Complexion Organic Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin

Celtic Complexion Organic Sunscreen for Sensitive SkinIf you’ve read some of my other blog posts or if you’ve seen some of my YouTube rants, you’ll know that sunscreen is among the types of product I find most challenging to find for my rosacea-prone skin. All but one of the chemical-based sunscreen products I’ve tried have caused my skin to flare up.

On the natural side of the spectrum, most sunscreens usually leave my skin looking chalky white. However, this is not the case with the Celtic Complexion Organic Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin.

This product provides SPF 32 and is chemical free, cruelty free, fragrance free, and is even reef safe.

This product gives my face a very slight whitening effect, but nothing dramatic.  I can see it if I look at myself very closely in the mirror but not from a “normal” distance.

I absolutely loved this sunscreen for the protection it gives from the sun and for not causing flare-ups.  I like that I need to use only a very small amount, that it doesn’t leave my skin feeling as though it has been buttered and it doesn’t make me feel like I’m melting when I start sweating a bit from being outside in the summer.

I felt like it lasted a long time, so I didn’t need to reapply it every few minutes, which was also quite nice. It didn’t have any fragrance or perfumed scent, which I also appreciated because the last thing I want in the summertime is to be even more appealing to mosquitoes than I already am!

As was the case when I tried the Exfoliant, I re-ordered this one very quickly after having tried it.

Ingredients: 25% zinc oxide, Eldorado Springs Artesian Water, certified organic extra virgin olive oil, certified organic jojoba oil, vegetable glycerin, certified organic shea butter, vegetable emulsifying wax, vegetable vitamin e.

Celtic Complexion Youth Infusion 7 High Potency Serum

Celtic Complexion Youth Infusion 7 High Potency SerumOf all the products I tried from this brand, the Celtic Complexion Youth Infusion 7 Serum was likely the one that left the least impression on me. This isn’t at all to say that it wasn’t a lovely product.  It’s only that I couldn’t quite measure any difference that it made in my skin.

I used it twice per week as a part of my “extra effort” skin care days.  I spread a few drops over my face and neck. The product is certainly luxurious and my skin was definitely moisturized and responded well.  That said, I didn’t notice any difference between when I used this on top of the full skin care cleansing and moisturizing routine and when I didn’t.

Perhaps it was just one step too many for my unique skin type, maybe I had no idea what I was looking for or perhaps this is something that works over time in a protective/rejuvenating way and I didn’t use it long enough or should have photographed my progress to see a difference.

It may also be that I’m not quite far along enough in the anti-aging skin care demographic to truly see the difference this product can make.  To be honest, I’m far more focused on my rosacea than my fine lines.  I may have quite the opposite opinion in five years from now, but at the moment, my main goal is to get the redness under control and keep it that way.

While I feel this is a stunning product, it’s the one I’d be least likely to replace at this point…ask me again in five years!

Ingredients: Fractionated coconut oil, carrot seed oil, Indian rose oil, Indian sandalwood oil, frankincense oil, borage seed oil, evening primrose oil, Bulgarian rose oil.

Two Celtic Complexion Products I Haven’t Tried Yet

There are two more products I have but that I haven’t yet tried.  I’m looking forward to testing both of them once I’m finished the current skincare trial I’m undergoing.

The products are the Celtic Complexion the Celtic de Savon Facial Cleansing Bar and the Vida de Fleur Liquid Moisturizer.Celtic Complexion Celtic de Savon Facial Cleansing BarCeltic Complexion Vida de Fleur

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facial Cleansing Bar ingredients: Saponofied oils of olive, palm, shea butter, argan, jojoba, avocado, camellia, goat milk and oatmeal.

Vida de Fleur ingredients: Squalane oil (derived from vegetarian sources), evening primrose oil, jasmine grandiflorum, jasmine sambac.

I’m hoping to test these out in February so watch for my review soon afterward!

Another Celtic Complexion Product I’d Love to Try

At the start of the holiday season, Celtic Complexion had two fantastic sales and during that time, I checked out the Winter Skin Kit, which contains two products I already have (the Vida de Fleur and the Creme) but it also drew the Winter Skin Balm Bar to my attention.

Have you ever kicked yourself for not jumping on the opportunity to try out something great?  Yup, that was me.  It’s also available to purchase on its own in the full-size version.  It looks incredible as it can even be applied on top of makeup to restore hydration during the day.  I can barely wrap my brain around that. Won’t be difficult to guess what I’ll be adding to my next order!

In case you’re curious, the ingredients for the Winter Skin Balm Bar are: Shea butter, jojoba oil, raw organic coconut oil, squalane oil (from vegetarian sources), borage seed oil, evening primrose oil, apricot kernel oil, backhousia citriodora.

Coupon Code Reminder: 30% off your whole order with “roseyjulie

The “fine print”. Using this coupon code during checkout will take 30% off your entire Celtic Complexion order. This coupon code is valid from today until January 20, 2017.  It can be used for every product on the site except the Celtic Jewel.  It can be used to discount your entire order but is not valid with any other offer or coupon.

Please note that this coupon code was offered to me from Celtic Complexion to give you the chance to save money if you want to try the products I have tested. I am not affiliated with Celtic Complexion, I have not been paid to do this review or this blog post and I will not make any money from any purchases through Celtic Complexion or through the use of the coupon code.

About Celtic Complexion

Celtic Complexion is a company founded by Master Esthetician, Jennifer Devlin Waller.  Like me, Jennifer has had rosacea since she was in her 20s.  In fact, it motivated her to become a professional makeup artist as she wanted to be able to effectively cover the redness.

Jennifer worked in the retail cosmetics industry for a decade and, despite the fact that she could try out some of the most expensive luxury skin care lines, she was unable to control and reduce her rosacea symptoms.  In fact, she frequently found that they worsened.

It wasn’t until she spoke with a holistic esthetician that she saw a meaningful difference. She altered her own skin care and lifestyle in favour of a natural, gentle and nourishing one and was astounded by her results.

This led her to launch her own skincare line, which had been her dream since she was in high school.  Now, she formulates and creates each product while she and her husband Steve (Mr. Celtic Complexion) run the company together.

Other Cool Stuff from Celtic Complexion

In my conversation with Jennifer Devlin Waller, she shared some of her exciting upcoming plans with me.  In her own words, here’s what she said:

In 2017, I am venturing beyond great skincare because that’s only one piece of the larger puzzle of how we can slow down aging. I created Anti-Aging University to educate women about how to age naturally and  organically using alternative wisdom that has been used safely for centuries. You will discover mind/body/spirit principles as well as cutting edge diet/tools/supplements/exercises to look your best no matter what your age.

If you’d like to learn more, click here.

Have you tried Celtic Complexion or do you plan to?  Let me know in the comments.  I’d love to hear about it 🙂

As an update, I’m still working on my cookbook.  I’m in the final stretch now.  I’ll let you know when there’s more news! See you soon!

Product Review: Alon Labs Rewind Facial Serum for Redness & Rosacea

Hi everyone!  I hope you’ve had a great holiday season and 2016 is off with a great start for you.  I hadn’t intended to take quite this much of a break from this blog but I’m back with lots of new things to talk about, so I should be posting much more regularly for the next while, simply because I have things to say!

Rewind by Alon LabsTo start, I’ll share my review of a rosacea product called Rewind by Alon Labs.  It’s a facial serum I was sent for free about a month and a half ago in exchange for an honest review of my experience in using it (I first told you about this in my post called I’m a Rosacea Skin Care Product Guinea Pig).

As per usual, this is not a sponsored review. I am not affiliated with Alon Labs in any way and I am not being paid to talk about the product or give the review.  The company sent me the product after having seen me on Twitter (I’m @treat_rosacea and they are @AlonLabsLLC), when they asked me to take part in a social media campaign they were running to help to show people with facial redness that there is hope and they don’t have to be miserable with their skin condition.  I inquired into who they were and they asked if I’d like to try their product.  I agreed and told them that I’d be happy to give an honest review of my experience (I offered the review, they didn’t ask for it).

With all that explained, I’ll move on to what this post is all about: the review!  Here is the video version of my review, with the more detailed written version, below:

What I liked about Alon Labs Rewind Facial Serum

  • It is very quick to apply.  There is a bit of a learning curve because it’s extremely watery, so trying to apply it exactly according to the directions causes a lot of product loss (at least it did in my case).  Once I got into the swing of it, it was a matter of using a bit at a time, instead of all at once, and it was as fast to apply as a moisturizer.
  • Alon Labs Rewind Rosacea skincare product 4 weeks
    Results after using Alon Labs Rewind Facial Serum for rosacea skin care for 31 days.

    It can be used with any other products. I appreciated that this wasn’t a part of a system or a line of products. While I understand that many rosacea skin care products work best when they were designed to be used together, I have yet to find a full series from which I like every single step.  This is especially true because my skin care needs change from winter to summer. So the fact that I could use this with whatever cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen I wanted was great.

  • It was unfragranced. It did have a bit of an odor and I have the nose of a bloodhound, so I could notice it even through my moisturizer for the first while that I was using Rewind, but I eventually got used to it. It wasn’t unpleasant as much as it was just “there”. That said, I would far rather use a product that has a bit of a mild smell due to its natural ingredients than have to tolerate the reaction fragrances cause on my face.
  • It is made from natural ingredients. I’m not the kind of person who uses only “natural” products. I also know that just because a product contains natural ingredients, it doesn’t mean that they’re any more safe or effective than chemical ingredients (there’s a great ASAP science video called “This is Not Natural” to explain this), since there are some great natural products out there just as there are great chemical products but both categories have their dangerous ingredients, as well.  That said, I do appreciate a product that does contain researched natural ingredients that are safe, gentle and effective.
  • It was formulated by a plastic surgeon. In fact, even better, the skin care expert behind Rewind created it for his wife.  Assuming he loves his wife, this was good news for the rest of us haha!
  • It came with great support. Any questions I had were quickly answered by the team at Alon Labs when I communicated with them through direct messages on Twitter.

What I didn’t like about Alon Labs Rewind Facial Serum

  • The price.  It’s currently US$74.85 on Amazon.com, which translates to about a bajillion Canadian dollars, plus shipping.  I know the exchange rate isn’t the fault of Alon Labs but today’s exchange rate (January 9, 2016) would mean that I’d have to spend CAD$106.07 plus shipping every thirty days.  I’m a writer and am neither J.K. Rowling nor Stephen King, which automatically means that I can’t afford to pay that amount every month.
  • The expiration rate. This product comes in two bottles which must be mixed together to create the active formula to use on your face.  Once you mix them together, you have 30 days before they expire and don’t work anymore.  While the FAQ on the official Alon Labs website said the average user uses the whole bottle within that time, I was following the sensitive skin schedule for the product which meant that I still had about a quarter of the bottle left by the time the product expired. If I hadn’t been sent the product for free, I would have been miffed about that.  The FAQ does say that you can put it in the fridge to buy yourself a few more days but since I didn’t know exactly how many days it meant, I refrigerated it but used it for only one extra day.  It would be cool if it were a “starter kit” or something like that, where you can mix smaller amounts to avoid that issue.
  • Alon Labs Rewind Acne Rosacea FlushThe initial breakout/flare-up. To be fair, the FAQ on the official site does clearly state that an acne breakout may occur during the first few days of use.  My face broke out with acne AND had a massive flare-up for two solid weeks.  My rosacea has never flared as much and as solidly and I’ve never had so many pimples all at once.  I was tempted to give up on it but decided to stick with it to be to with the company that was so Alon Labs Rewind Acne Rosacea Flush2generous to let me try the product for free.  Lo and behold on the 15th day, my face started to clear up and it cleared up very quickly and visibly.

It’s a shame that the first two weeks were wasted with a flare-up and break-out because it meant that I had only 2 weeks to see what the product could actually do for my face.  I’m under the impression that Rewind would have continued to benefit and improve my skin redness if I’d been able to continue to use it for another 2 to 4 weeks.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to continue to test it despite the fact that I still had more product, as it had expired by that point.

Overall, I think this is a very promising product.  No single rosacea skin care product works for everyone but this one looked as though it would work for me if I were to keep using it.  If you have the means and are searching for an anti-redness product with all-natural ingredients, that was developed by a plastic surgeon and that offers great customer support online, then Alon Labs’ Rewind is certainly worth trying out. I’d recommend speaking to your doctor or dermatologist, first, just to be sure it is appropriate for you.

As for me, I’ve since moved on to the next product I’m testing, which is the Smarter Lights (formerly Light Therapy Options) prototype meant for people with rosacea and that combines red and amber light therapy.  Very exciting news coming very soon.  If you’re interested, please feel welcome to subscribe to this blog and to my YouTube channel, where I’ll keep you up to date!

See you again, soon!

Week 7: It’s Rosacea, Not Acne! They’re Not the Same!

natural rosacea treatment blog

If I were to tell you that I have a skin condition on my face that looks like redness and little pimples, the odds are that you would tell me that I haveacne.  In fact, for years, that’s what I thought I had.  Unfortunately, because of that belief, I treated my skin with acne products…bad ones, too.

It wasn’t completely my fault!  Let me explain!

As a teen, I had pimples on my face.  At that time, all of the beauty/fashion magazines that I loved and the commercials in the shows that I watched taught me that the reason that I had pimples was because of bacteria (ewww bacteria!) and that clearing my face was just a matter of buying a product that would kill the bacteria.

So I did.  I bought Clearasil, Oxy, Noxema, and Clean & Clear. I bought scrubs, cleansers, medicated pads, toners, astringents, spot treatments, and medicated cover-ups.  I used clearing masks, peel-off masks, and oil absorbing masks. Then came the nose strips from Bioré – and soon from a number of other brands, too.  I used all of those and joined the millions of other people in their teens and early twenties who wondered at the disgusting miniature gunk forest that they tore out of their pores with ingredients on oddly-shaped strips that were strikingly similar to hairspray and that were very painful to remove.  But pain was beauty!

Yes, my skin felt tight and dry.  Yes, it looked irritated and inflamed.  Yes, I spent many Sunday nights with a Bioré nose strip-shaped red patch on my face.  But it was all in the name of clear skin.  I had to beat that bacteria.  I wasn’t going to give it a chance.  So why wasn’t my skin clear?

Because I had rosacea, and that is not acne!

natural rosacea treatment blogIndeed, I did have the occasional pimple that was your traditional acne-style zit, but over the years, my skin just got redder and redder and I just kept treating it with more and more acne products.

To be honest, I don’t think that the majority of the products on the “acne treatment” shelves are good for anybody’s skin, including acne sufferers, but that’s another story altogether and I’m not going to get into that, here.

But this does help to explain why I cannot stand the term “acne rosacea”.  I loathe that phrase.  Rosacea sufferers have a hard enough time getting a proper diagnosis on their skin, but when they do receive one, the last thing that they need is to have a term applied to them that will confuse both themselves and the people around them about what this condition really is.

Rosacea is not acne.  Acne rosacea is not acne.

For that reason, rosacea should not be treated with acne products, techniques, or therapies.

Even my doctor prescribed an acne cream to me for a while, when he thought that I had acne (to be fair to doctors and patients, the two conditions can look very similar, and I was in an age group that was far more likely to have acne than rosacea).  That cream left my skin painfully dry and itchy, and it started peeling off in thin sheets. Needless to say, I discontinued use.

If you must call it “acne rosacea”, know the difference!

The funny thing is that both of these skin conditions – acne and rosacea – are actually easier to control with a gentler and more natural approach, in many cases.  This does depend on the individual person and the cause of the condition, but I’m talking about the situation in general, not about every single person who has these skin disorders.

Both types of skin problem will show marked improvements when you treat them gently, when you limit the use of harsh chemicals (natural and artificial), when you eliminate the use of abrasive products such as scrubs and face cloths, when you keep your hands off your face, and when you wash your face no more than twice daily (once in the morning and once at night).

What I also found to be funny was that the red light therapy that I am using to treat my rosacea symptoms is also helpful to people who have acne.  It doesn’t stop them from getting the pimples in the first place, but it’s very effective for healing redness and scarring.  I think that blue light is what kills acne bacteria so that the pimples don’t appear in the first place.  I don’t know if blue light is used on rosacea, at all…but I am motivated to research that now!

Both skin conditions involve reactive, irritated, inflamed skin.  They should both be treated gently and neither should be stripped of natural oils.  They should be kept clean and moisturized and protected from the sun.  Still, they are not the same.

Did using acne treatments make my rosacea symptoms present themselves earlier in my life?

This is a question that I have asked myself for some time now.  Was all of the harsh treatment that I gave my skin a factor in the early development of rosacea symptoms?  Did all of those harsh products, combined with the chlorine from the swimming pool in which I spent hours every day for the first 19 summers of my life, and the 1-2 sunburns I received every year, create a concoction that resulted in early-onset rosacea?

Honestly, I feel that it might have.  Skin is an organ.  It’s the largest one on your body and it’s your primary barrier between you and your environment.  It is made up of millions of cells that are already facing sunlight, wind, heat, cold, bacteria, yeast, viruses, fungi, humidity, dryness, pressure, abrasion, and other factors that would kill you in an instant if you didn’t have one heck of a fantastic bio-shield to protect you (wow does that ever make it sound like we have weird super-powers!).

The fact that I abused mine as badly as I did for a solid decade or more, when I am already very pale, prone to sunburn, and prone to dryness didn’t give me much of a chance.

It’s true that the actual cause of rosacea is unknown, and while I may not have caused my rosacea through all of the terrible treatment that I gave my skin, what I feel is that I placed myself at far greater risk of developing it.  The chance was already there.  I have a number of risk factors including being pale and having it in my family genetics.  But lifestyle plays a vital role in virtually every health issue, and that is where I failed myself.

This explains why I choose a natural rosacea treatment.

I’m not all-natural with my rosacea treatment, yet.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be.  I’m not against all human-made ingredients, and I’m not for all natural ingredients (after all, there are a lot of natural ingredients that can be harmful to rosacea, including witch hazel, peppermint, and many others).

What I do know is that I’m aiming to use my rosacea treatment to enhance the natural function of my skin.  I’m treating my skin gently, with as few products and ingredients as possible, to help it to figure itself out.

I’m using a very gentle cleanser to take away dirt, product, and excess oils, but not all oils. Oil is good for all skin types.  The key is in its balance. I’m protecting my skin from the sun with a very good quality sunscreen.  I’m moisturizing with a product that is very high quality and that is meant for my skin type. I’m not wearing makeup unless I “have” to. I’m also working on proper hydration and eating a healthful diet while eliminating rosacea triggers and choosing more ingredients that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.  I’m using red light to give the cells the energy they need to heal and to naturally reduce their inflammation.

After everything I’ve put my skin through, I’m now honouring my skin. In return, it has rewarded me by looking the best that it has been in fifteen years.  Not a bad agreement!

Day 8: Loving my rosacea-friendly sunscreen

rosacea skincare skin care products

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:

  • redness
  • bumps – sometimes just red, other times tiny whitehead-like spots
  • burning sensation on the skin
  • itchiness
  • tight/dryness
  • 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!

Cheek 1 - June 4 - rosacea skincare  Cheek 2 - June 4 - rosacea skincare

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.