Living with Rosacea: Basics & Skincare Part I

Just about 3 years ago on a whim, I decided it was time to start seeing a dermatologist, at the time for precautionary reasons. I am very fair skinned, and I have an abundance of moles, so it was in my best interest to start annual appointments to monitor them. After a terrifying cancer scare, it was the beginning of a health & wellness lifestyle change for me as well.

The first dermatologist I visited was in and out of the room in 5 minutes, including the time it took to do a full body exam, having diagnosed me with rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis, and handed me 3 prescriptions. I literally sat there in the paper-towel sized gown in tears. What just happened? She also gave me a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy of best practices for rosacea, but didn't explain anything to me. So I switched doctors, and between what she explained to me and what I researched for myself, I am more knowledgeable today, specifically on what works and doesn't work for me.

*disclaimer* Remember, I am not a doctor- do not take what I say for word, if you have concerns, please see a doctor. What I am about to talk to you about is what I have found to work for me, after years of trial and error, and it may not work for you.

I plan to continue a vein of content regarding rosacea here on my blog as it's a big part of my life, and as I find new and better products I'd love to share them with you. Honestly, I have found the best of my products through bloggers, specifically Lex from Talonted Lex, adjusting a few of her recommendations along the way due to US/UK availability. I am starting with a novel of an introduction post, with just the basics I use to survive everyday pertaining to skincare. I thought about speaking here on products I have tried with lots of hype that do not work, but I decided a post separately will call for that.

Rosacea is a chronic skin diseases, that waxes and wanes, basically gets stronger and weaker, oftentimes inconsistently. It is most common in women aged 30-50, but can occur at any time, and is characterized by a reddening of the skin causing blushing of the cheeks, nose, and forehead. Common symptoms include burning and stinging of the skin, acne-like bumps on the skin, thickening skin, bumps on the eyelids called styes, and sensations like there is sand in your eye. The most common symptom of course is the "flush & blush," reddening in a butterfly like shape across cheeks and nose, which is usually the first sign you may have rosacea. Prevalence rates vary, but the average rate I found was affecting 30%+ of the population.

Rosacea is very often diagnosed from what I have read, oftentimes misdiagnosed as acne. Along with the redness, there are postules (pimples) and papules (raised red bumps) that can resemble acne, hence the misdiagnosis. The problem with this is acne and rosacea are completely different, and if you are misdiagnosed, acne medications can actually make your rosacea worse due to harsh treatments and medications.

Ready for the worst part? There is no cure for rosacea. There are treatment options, but it is a chronic skin disease and can worsen over time. Lovely. The good news is you can learn to live with it- you will learn what your triggers are, you will learn what products to avoid, and you will survive, I promise. I have. There are both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic (prescription & nonprescription) treatments as well as small things you can do to help.

Remember I said to just take what I say with a grain of salt? Well that applies now when I say I was NOT happy with the pharmacologic options I was provided with. My current dermatologist is amazing in that she explains things to me, is highly knowledgeable, and provides me with samples to save me from costly prescriptions. In an effort to not taint you from an option that could work for you, I will refrain from naming the prescriptions I tried, but rather just tell you my experiences.

There are prescription creams to help with the painful burning, but guess what? They can make it worse. Yep, absolute rubbish in my opinion too.  My dermatologist didn't tell me this upfront when she gave me the sample, but in a way I am glad so I could experience myself.  Basically it's good if you're going to a wedding or a party where triggers like alcohol or spicy foods will be, but when it wears off after a few hours, your "flush & blush" comes back worse. I was hesitant to mention this to my dermatologist worrying she would think it was in my head, but apparently it's the number one side effect!

So where to go from here? Again, I have had 3 years or so to play around with products, find my triggers (alcohol, stress, and spicy foods) and create my own treatment plan. I have come to learn a lot which I will share including changes in diet, skincare, makeup products and techniques, and best practices, which I will link below once they're written.

If you've made it this far, I would like to share a few products that are my ride or die products, all pretty reasonably priced, and easy to access.

Favorite products: daily moisturizer, makeup removing wipes, night moisturizer

This was recommended to me on the photocopy from the original doctor, and I cannot recommend this enough. This is a drugstore brand and can be bought pretty much anywhere. Everything I have used from the ultra-calming line has been excellent, primarily the daily moisturizer, the makeup removing wipes, and the night moisturizer.

At the end of the day, after all the expensive skincare I have invested in, Aveeno has been the best product for my rosacea. Bar none.

Favorite products: sunscreen, thermal spring water spray, day moisturizer (it's green which counterbalances redness)

This is another excellent brand for rosacea and sensitive skin, the brand of my holy grail product, the spray. I found this through Lex, and have been slowly trying new products from the line.

La- Roche Posay
favorite products: sunscreen and moiturizer

This is another like Avéne on the premium end of products, but an excellent product for sensitive skin.

favorite product: micellaire water for removing makeup

I use the wipes from Aveeno to remove the majority of my makeup, but use this daily for eye makeup and the inevitable mascara fall down in the morning. As you can see my bottle is well loved, I am almost done it and have dropped it multiple times.

favorite products: overnight peel, cleansing balm, nourishing line, rosewater mist

I have used a few BeautyCounter products over the years, the cleansing balm, the rose water mist, and the nourishing line, but recently began using their makeup line as well. I will have more rosacea friendly makeup posts in the future, but both the Dew Skin and the Hydrating Foundation are excellent for sensitive skin.

At this point, this post is out of control, my apologies. It's a start though, and like I said I would like to continue with rosacea points and products, etc. in an effort to share what I have learned.

Remember to talk to your doctor, but if you ever have questions, feel free to ask me. I have learned a lot over the years through trial and error, and feel passionately about skincare and beauty products!