I never thought I’d write anything on my personal battle with a skin condition. Throughout my childhood and teens (and most of my twenties) I would always get compliments on my clear complexion. I definitely got blessed with my mums skin which is amazing and she is also someone I took inspiration from with her daily skin routine (thanks mum!). I remember as a child going shopping to the Body Shop (in the UK) and getting my first skin care starter kit with a long explanation from my mum on the importance of daily cleansing, toning and moisturising.
It wasn’t until the last couple of years things really started to change. I had noticed my face become sensitive to certain products and even sunscreen, also I would get really hot in the cheeks but I never really pinpointed what it was. In fact, I was convinced I had a food allergy and went through various trials of cutting certain foods out, but it didn’t really change anything.
Eventually I decided to go and see a dermatologist who diagnosed me with Rosacea (aka adult acne, although VERY different to acne). She put me on a low dose of Roaccutane and suggested some skincare I could use (it had gotten so bad that I wasn’t able to moisturise my skin without having a reaction…..yes that meant no make-up either!). I went home and tried to look for answers online, my knowledge of this condition was slim to none and it was so disappointing to discover there is no real determinative advice as to what the causes are.
Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition which principally affects the face and is more common among fair skinned people usually from English, Welsh, Scandinavian or American descent, however its also becoming common in many parts of Asia now. There are many signs and symptoms associated with Rosacea such as: Flushing (blushing), facial skin hyper-reactivity, constant redness, spots and pimples, inflamed blood vessels and swelling. Unfortunately, experts are still unsure as to what the causes of Rosacea are, however some contributors may include: light skin colour, family history, abnormalities in facial blood vessels and many other triggers.
One of the triggers can be stress/anxiety and at the time I was in the final year of my Law degree (which was fairly stressful!) other factors could include sun exposure, coffee, wine, spicy foods, vigorous exercise, hot baths (all the things I love!) or just a combination of these things. I decided to stop drinking coffee which was so hard…I used to be drink around three cups a day so deciding to stop was quite a big deal but I noticed a BIG change with no coffee. Also I decided to really cut down on my wine intake….I know this sounds ridiculous but ‘good quality’ wine seems to be OK and if I can I’ll try and order or buy organic wine which doesn’t seem to make me react.
I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’ve been using on my face, however please bear in mind that my skin has improved dramatically since the diagnosis (almost 2 years ago) so if you are extremely sensitive please see your dermatologist first. I am no longer on medication and I consider these products my ‘recovery’ products!
Skincare is something I’m still testing the waters with. I seem to be ok with the Eau Thermale Avene ‘tolerance’ moisturiser and the Lotion micellaire cleanser and make-up remover (however, this is only a recent change as my skin couldn’t handle this range before). Eau Thermale also have an anti-redness cream which is specifically designed for Rosacea sufferers, I haven’t tried this yet!
A HUGE help for my skin when it was very sensitive was discovering Rosehip Oil, its actually the only thing I could use on my skin during its reactive stage. I got a sample in my Goodness Me Box and couldn’t believe I didn’t react. I posted my discovery on Instagram and the lovelies at Rosehip Plus sent me their range to try. I have had NO problem with their range at all and still go online to buy from them. I don’t want you to think this post is sponsored it’s NOT, I honestly would recommend trying this product if you are suffering from Rosacea, obviously everyone is different but it really helped me and my skin improved so much.
My skin still isn’t 100% and I’m hoping over time I’ll be able to go for facials and treatments to help repair the damaged skin, but for now I’m happy with the improvement (and I can wear make-up again, thank goodness!!)
The only foundation I found that I can use is the Clinique Super Moisture foundation. Clinique make-up is something I have been using for years and I find their eyeliner, mascara, lipsticks, lip liners and so on really nourishing and allergy free (I only used Clinique on my wedding day which was when my skin had started to become really sensitive). If you are particularly reactive I found that RMS Beauty was amazing as they only use raw, organic and natural products in their range that actually nourishes your skin. Using their line on my lips was particularly helpful as I had (and still have) particularly dry lips.
In my ‘recovery’ phase I have been using ByTerry concealer from Mecca Cosmetica which is AMAZING! Also I use Nars powders and eyeshadows and Kevyn Aucoin (anything I can get my hands on!) from Mecca which I also love, however I never really had a huge problem reacting to mascara, eyeliner and powders it was more the creams.
Chantecaille do a powder sunscreen SPF 30 which I still use and is so handy to carry around in your handbag! Shiseido also do a sunscreen powder foundation. I’m still too nervous to try cream sunscreens as that was something that gave me the worst reaction!
Mecca Cosmetica’s ‘clean slate’ make-up remover is something I use on heavy mascara/eyeliner and it works really well.
My biggest tip is take a hat with you everywhere and wear sunscreen (even if its powder)!! Here in Sydney the sun can get so strong and if I get caught out and burn on my face it will usually turn into a reaction and last for a few days. This makes my face more sensitive to products again so its not worth it as its so annoying! If you can identify the worst triggers for you then you might have to go without, I had to do this with my beloved coffee but the change in my skin has made it so worth it.
If you have Rosacea and its getting you down then please don’t feel like you’re on your own! This is such a common condition and for some reason no-one ever talks about it. It is common in women at around 30 years of age, however there are cases of younger people getting it so don’t feel like its something that only older generations tend to get either. If you have any personal tips that you want to share with me then I would love to hear from you and if I can be of any help with any more questions/answers please fell free to leave a comment below!
** all medical opinion has been endorsed by Dr. Trevor Tingate a practicing GP in Sydney. If you feel you may be suffering from Rosacea please seek expert advice from your GP or dermatologist first before taking any advice from this article.