I first experienced rosacea at 14 weeks pregnant with my first daughter Mabel.
I was in Paris. And although I knew my clothes were not going to be as ooh la la as perhaps they would have been a few months prior, I didn’t expect to have bright red itchy cheeks to accessorise my expanding waistline.
At first I assumed I was suffering from an adverse reaction to one of the many pots of goop I had purchased at the French pharmacies. But this seemed different somehow, I could see the red spider veins under the skin and they had travelled up the side of my nose on both sides, making it a bit swollen and sore.
This turned out to be my first experience with rosacea, and before I go into it in any detail I wanted to confirm that although I am able to keep it under control, there is no miracle “cure”. My condition is mild compared to some people, and it is pregnancy that seems to be the main trigger of a more severe outbreak.
If you suspect you are suffering and are yet to visit your GP then do so, and endeavour to obtain a referral to a dermatologist who will be able to examine your epidermis in more detail and make suitable (potentially prescription only) recommendations of products that may assist in managing the condition. A medical professional should always be your first call, there are a million and one lotions on the cosmeceutical market that will promise the earth and under deliver. Don’t waste your hard earned cash until you have all the facts.
You can find out more information via the NHS website.
Key Triggers For Rosacea Outbreaks And What I Avoid
1. Alcohol. I know I know, how infuriating. Wine seems to have the worst effect on me in comparison to white spirits. A few glasses of Pinot and Im suitably red-faced. And not in a cute jolly way either.
2. Hot Or Cold temperatures. And I don’t mean below freezing or melty weather, even a cold ish wind and a minute amount of sweat can start the flushing. I nearly always wear my hood up and a scarf around my face from the Autumn and in summer I find a bottle of Avene Thermal Water Spray works well to cool down my moony face. As an aside I use this as a “toner” to remove cleanser residue and any weird chemicals in the tap water I use to rinse initially. Some might think what is essentially water in a spray can is gimmicky but I notice the difference if I run out. I always always wear a wide brimmed hat whilst on holiday.
3. Spicy Food. I’m not a huge fan anyway but I do love fajitas on a Friday…unfortunately they don’t love my skin.
4. Stress. Unavoidable at times but I do take more time off work than I ever used to – it’s important for your state of mind. And if the daily grind is overwhelming, I find putting some music on and exercising takes my mind off things.
During my second pregnancy my rosacea has reappeared with a vengeance, as well as extreme dryness, I also have small lumps in the areas that flush as well as obvious spider veins. I swear, give me a white beard and some red velour and I could easily pass as Father bloody Christmas. This time around I’ve been very careful with what I put on my skin product wise and after a few months of trial and error seem to be managing the condition fairly well.
Skincare That Treats and Assists With The Management of Rosacea
1. Gentle Cleanser. Seriously, don’t use anything with exfoliating acids or harsh abrasives to remove make-up and grime, you will probably just aggravate the situation. At the moment I am double cleansing with Boots Simply cleansing lotion. I use it on a cotton pad to remove make-up initially then do a second lot to remove with a warm (not hot) flannel. For heavier make-up days I second cleanse with either Superdrug Melting Gel Cleanser (which I can’t link to as they seem to have bloody well discontinued it) or Clinique Extra Mild Facial Soap.
2. No Nonsense Moisturiser. I’ve used Aveeno cream since a dermatologist recommended it to me over ten years ago. Admittedly I’m not sure if it would work for combination/oilier skin types (My sister isn’t a fan as she finds it too heavy) in which case I would highly recommend Avene’s Skin Recovery Cream. It’s non comedogenic and leaves a lovely matte finish – I’ve been trialling it in conjunction with Aveeno and I’m really impressed with the results.
3. Soothing Serum. As an extra step (and to combat the flakes which make the redness difficult to conceal) I’ve been having little to no success with a selection of serums allegedly with magical powers. The best one I’ve found is Hydraluron by Indeed Labs which is packed with hyaluronic acid that can hold up to 1000 x it’s weight in water and works as a powerful humectant. It’s early days but my skin definitely looks bouncier, dry patches are clearing up and certainly the skin at the sides of my nose and around my eyes where the spider veins seem to be the most obvious, is softer and less itchy. There are hundreds of positive reviews on the Boots website so others have clearly experienced positive results too.
My friend (and excellent beautician) Kelly has put aside some samples of Dermalogica Ultra Calming Serum Concentrate (currently 15% off with the code “BEAUTY” on Lookfantastic.com as I type) so I’ll let you know how I get on.
Concealing Rosacea Without Aggravating or Caking
As someone who doesn’t like to wear a lot of make-up on their skin, this has been a challenge and a half for me. ALL foundations just go patchy and weird, but that’s as much down to my extreme dehydration as it is my rosacea. Instead I’ve found gently patting on concealer to ruddy areas is more seamless and effective (I like Glossier Stretch for every day when I have the opportunity to touch up and Mac’s Pro Longwear Concealer for evenings/early starts and late finishes).
I then set everything with Estee Lauder Lucidity Translucent powder in 02 Light/Medium (it looks super natural but has a slight tint so doesn’t look flat).
When I am not suffering from a flare up the spider veins and redness all but disappear, however, I will be looking into laser treatment after this pregnancy should the veins in particular, persist.
Do you suffer from Rosacea? What triggers your breakouts and what products have you found that actually seem to treat the condition?
Any questions please do drop me a note in the comments section below.