It all started in highschool...
It all started in high school... Back in the 2000s teen skincare was all about harsh scrubs, pore strips and foaming face washes... I was one of the lucky people who never had major acne, yet I used all the products I was "supposed" to use...
Over time, I noticed my skin would get red after washing it, but eventually... the redness would stick around and I'd look flushed all the time.
Instead of turning to skincare to fix the problem, I tried to hide my redness with makeup. It worked, until my redness turned in to more than that...
Fast forward to when I was 25 and getting married... My skin was an absolute wreck... Red, irritated, bumpy, sensitive, oily yet dry, an absolute mess and I was so self conscious. I couldn't leave the house without lots of color correcting makeup, but even with it, the texture of my skin was terrible (see unedited photo below from my wedding day).
It's easier to see the bumpy skin on my forehead in this photo, but I promise you that my cheeks were just as bad (if not worse). You also have to remember that I have LOTS of makeup on in this photo and the lighting was super flattering.
The summer after my wedding, I decided to go to the dermatologist and finally, after all these years I was diagnosed with rosacea!!! Finally, I had something to work with and research!
I got my rosacea diagnosis in summer of 2016,
And was told to wear sunscreen every day, use gentle skincare, and I started using a prescription for Soolantra. At this time, my moisture barrier was trashed from using too harsh of products and it was super sensitive. I also had quite a few rosacea papules that required removal at the dermatologist.
Finding gentle cleansers was impossible, because if it was too gentle it wouldn't get my makeup/sunscreen off, but if it was too strong it would perpetuate the dryness I felt in my skin.
Moisturizers were impossible to find too, because I'd have to slather products on for them to feel like they remotely helped my skin.
The top things that helped heal my skin:
Instead of telling you all that I tried and what failed, here's the GOOD things that stand out to me most in my rosacea journey (and approximate dates of when I started incorporating them):
Sunscreen was a big struggle for me because chemical sunscreens made my face sting and get even more red, but most mineral sunscreens in 2016 were very drying and not cosmetically elegant. They were thick, heavy and hard to wear. I never found one I really loved until trying All Good and I currently use the tinted version every day.
After my initial diagnosis, I was hooked on my prescription for Soolantra. It worked very well to diminish my papules and bumps, but after a few weeks or so my skin couldn't tolerate it because of how dry it would make my skin. I used it as often as I could tolerate to keep my papules in check, but I wanted something I could use daily that didn't damage my skin barrier.
When searching for non-toxic skincare, I came across the technique of oil cleansing, and when I finally started to use avocado oil instead of coconut, the redness of my skin really diminished! I still had some redness, but nothing like how it was when I used coconut oil. Using avocado oil and a glycerin + apple cider vinegar + distilled water spray was how I moisturized and started to heal my moisture barrier.
Continuing my non-toxic skincare research, I learned about essential oils and dabbled with tea tree and blue tansy. Tea tree does kill demodex mites (which was the problem I had) but that in conjunction with blue tansy was very helpful at reducing my inflammation, almost as good as my Soolantra prescription, but without the dryness. I should note that using these oils every day has not been as effective for me as using it every other day at most.
Any time I rubbed my face from cleansing, it would get red. Manual exfoliation with a scrub made it so much worse, so before I discovered chemical exfoliation I avoided exfoliating completely, which wasn't the best idea. I initially started using the exfoliating serum by Mad Hippie, but now use the overnight resurfacing peel by Beautycounter which has been way more effective at improving my skin texture.
Beautycounter Countermatch line
I eventually got tired of DIY-ing all my skincare and tried to find two things: a moisturizer that I didn't have to slather on to work and a cleanser that didn't strip my skin. Eventually, I tried some samples by Beautycounter and the two items from the Countermatch line that I cannot live without are the cleanser and lotion. These two things have helped my skin become way more resilient, to the point where I can exfoliate regularly and even use chemical sunscreen every so often without irritation. I still have some flare ups depending on what I eat/do, but I always fall back on the Countermatch line to get my skin back to normal within 24 hours.
What does my skin look like now?
My skin definitely isn't perfectly smooth and I still battle a much less severe version of my papules, but my redness is so much better that over the past couple years, the amount of correcting (green/yellow) makeup I need has diminished immensely. I attribute this to the resiliency my skin has gained from using Beautycounter products! Basically now my entire face isn't more pink, it's just tiny spots on my cheeks, chin and my nose. But as I said, it is nowhere near as bad as it used to be and I no longer feel like I need a full face of makeup to look "human".
Below is a photo of me now, without makeup:
And here's a photo of me with makeup, but one that shows the remaining texture I have on my cheeks and am still trying to fix (Azelaic Acid is what I am trying out now):
In case you'd like to follow along my current journey, please follow me on Instagram where I post about my favorite rosacea friendly skincare and makeup products!
My name is Laura and I help overly tired 20something women overhaul their lives, energy and confidence without overwhelm.
Although I am a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and write to the best of my knowledge on fitness, nutrition and lifestyle practices, I cannot be made liable to know all information on a particular subject. Knowledge gained through this blog is to be used at your own risk and all lifestyle changes should be discussed with a doctor before starting.
I am also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I do receive a small reimbursement for sales made through the links provided on my blog.