Rosacea Awareness Month & My Sensitive Skin Top Ten
Oh, I know, it's sooo long since I wrote a blog post, and I really wanted to get into a habit and make it an integral part of the website, so...
April is Rosacea Awareness Month, and it's only in the last few years I've become aware of this nasty little skin condition as I developed it myself when pregnant with my second child. I've always had fair, sensitive, freckly skin, so am used to being careful what products I use, but rosacea has made things just a little bit more tricky. I used to be a bit of a beauty junkie to be honest, but I now have a very restricted number of products to choose from and it's very much trial and error what will make my skin happy or make it scream.
So, a little bit about rosacea first. This is purely from my perspective and how it has affected me. If you want to know more about it generally then check out the British Skin Foundation. It started for me with my nose becoming redder and swelling up (just before my wedding, so that was great...) It was also very sore and I found it more difficult to breathe through my nose, but nothing to indicate that this was a 'proper' condition or that I should be concerned about it. Then I had a baby and my funny face took a back seat. After a few months though it was still sore and swollen and I'd got some little lesions/bumps there that just weren't going away. My cheeks were now also very red and I was much more spotty than I'd ever been so I went to the GP who diagnosed rosacea and she gave me some cream to reduce the redness.
Rosacea doesn't just go away though. You can do things to ease the symptoms, but the condition remains and I've got used to having a rosy face now. When I have a flare (burning, bright red, lots of spots, facial swelling) it's miserable and I tend to hide away, but it's normally brought on by stress so I can manage it to a certain extent by stress management stuff (which is a whole other blog post). Certain foods, alcohol, ambient temperature, etc are also triggers.
There are, as with every condition, a million different creams, potions, and snake oils promising relief and the skin of a baby's bottom. Obviously, beauty addict as I am, I tried them all, but most of them did absolutely nothing, and the key (for me) to reducing flare-ups has been to totally overhaul and minimise my skincare regime. Other than the redness, I think I have pretty good skin for my age (51-eek!) So, here are my top 10 tips/products for managing MY rosacea and general sensitive skin issues.
Minimise! I barely own any products anymore. I wash my face just with cool water and a flannel or hemp sponge (available in my shop, dear reader) most of the time. I don't use any specialist rosacea products. Less is more.
If I have a flare-up I'll use sulphur soap to wash my face. It's brilliant on just generally spotty skin too, and cheap! I use this one from Harrogate Sulphur.
If I've been wearing makeup (very rare these days!) there is no better cleanser in my opinion than The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter. It's so gentle, barely fragranced, works brilliantly and comes in a recyclable metal tin.
I'm currently using White Rabbit Rosehip and Camellia Day Cream for moisturiser, and it is absolutely beautiful. I really can't cope with strong smelling cosmetics, but this smells divine and lingers all day. My skin adores it. It is spendy, but everything else I use is cheap as chips, so using this feels like a luxurious treat.
Simple Moisturiser - the cheapest one without any fancy additives or special functions - is my budget choice. I know lots of people with rosacea have found Child's Farm moisturiser to be really good at reducing redness, but I struggled with the fragrance. *They've now released a fragrance-free version - hurrah!
Rosehip oil is amazing for skin anyway, and I've been using it for the past decade of so, but it's also great as a special skin treat for rosacea too. Rose oil also has anti-redness properties and is really soothing. I use that on bad days. I normally buy these from TKMaxx, whichever brands they have in at the time. BTW, rosehip seed oil smells awful. I liken it to mackerel which has been left in a glove compartment for a long trip. You may like it, but I take pains to check that my rosehip oil is not the seed variety!
If I want to tone down the red patches, I use Bourjois 123 Colour Correcting CC Cream. Now, as is my luck, not long after I discovered the miracle properties of said product, they stopped selling it in the UK. However, you can still buy it online at all the big beauty retailers. I find a little goes a long way with this. It doesn't cover up, merely tones down the redness, so your skin still looks like your skin, just not so much like a tomato's skin.
I was prescribed Vitamin D last year when I was quite poorly. I believe that taking Vitamin D has helped with a few issues, but certainly my skin has improved a lot recently. Although still generally rosy, I have far fewer spotty breakouts and swelling. Obviously going out in the sunshine would help too, but I'm happier indoors, so supplements it is!
Aloe Vera. Before I had rosacea, I would always choose products with aloe in because it is such a soothing ingredient which never caused any reaction. I would still recommend it to anyone with sensitive skin. You can just buy an aloe vera plant and use the gel as it comes, or mix it with oils to make your own cosmetics. Personally, I'd avoid the many MLMs (multi-level marketing companies) which hawk their aloe-based products.
My last tip is for people who don't have rosacea/rosacea awareness. To avoid a wallop in the chops, please don't tell me I've caught the sun!