One of my oldest friends asked me recently what she could do about a rosacea flare-up. She’s a lawyer who’s been working like mad to prepare for a trial and, like many a working mom these days, packed up her stress neatly in a box so she could attend to other things. Sadly, though, stress doesn’t seem to wait patiently in boxes, and it popped up on her face instead as if to brashly announce, “I’m heeeere! Where’s the punch bowl?”
Since we’ve gotten a lot of questions about rosacea, I thought I’d share what I suggested to her. While rosacea differs quite a bit from case to case (check out this interview with dermatologist Elizabeth Hale, MD to learn more about rosacea in general), these tips can apply to most everyone, and I’ve suggested them to a lot of people over the past few years. They’ve worked for me, too: rosacea first popped up on my own face after I had my first baby, but these products and practices have kept it at bay ever since.
The main thing to remember is that rosacea is an inflammatory condition, so addressing inflammation from the inside out as well as the outside in — through both products and lifestyle changes — will help alleviate flare-ups more quickly.
Outside in: products
There are endless permutations and combinations of products that could help with rosacea, but these three have risen to the top of our list at Ayla.
Luzern’s Recovery Serum is one I frequently suggest since it’s absolutely stellar and also works nicely into any routine: apply it to cleansed skin before moisturizing, and that’s that.
Pair Luzern Recovery Serum with the MyHavtorn Facial Oil as your moisturizer for extra protective power; our other rosacea-fighting superstar, this oil seems to be loathed by the mites that are thought to be a major rosacea trigger. (I know, no one wants to think about demodex mites. Just slather on the oil and you won’t have to think about them anymore. I’ve used it nearly every night for the past several years and am never going back.) The entire MyHavtorn lineup is fantastic for those with rosacea, but the Facial Oil is the real heroine.
The Barrier Restore Serum from Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique is a standout that many turn to for relief, especially when they’re not quite sure exactly what they’re dealing with (rosacea, dermatitis, allergies, or some mysterious combination of the three) — whatever ails you, it’ll soothe and calm marvelously.
These three products play well with others, too: the friend I mentioned earlier cited the MyHavtorn Facial Oil applied under a layer of Guldkorn Cream as the magic combination for her skin, given the cold winter in Boston.
Outside in: lifestyle adjustments
There are three tiny lifestyle changes you can make that are simple and relatively painless, yet can make a major difference.
1. Cleansing with lukewarm water is a good practice for anyone, but it’s a must if you have rosacea or any tendency towards redness. I know: it’s so nice to wash your face in a hot shower. (I used to love that, too. I don’t anymore, because Dr. Macrene Alexiades told me to stop — and Macrene is always right.)
2. Sleeping on a silk pillowcase can also be a game-changer: those mites I mentioned loathe silk in addition to sea buckthorn. It’s the perfect time of year to switch to silk because it really helps with dry skin, too.
3. If you’ve been sitting in a sauna or steam room recently, but you crave heat, switch to a hot bath so that the heat doesn’t have to touch your face.
Inside out: diet & supplements
It’s far easier to pop a supplement than it is to change what you’re eating. But in this case, I suggest doing both.
1. Dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD sent me this list of inflammatory foods and drinks to avoid, and it’s a good one. Well, it’s not good in that it’s pretty heartbreaking, but it really works. And if you consider that you may only need to make these changes for a brief period of time, it’s a lot more bearable.
2. Like many skin conditions, rosacea can be exacerbated by stress. And I’m telling you, this Stress Elixir is the stuff. (Or get a custom elixir: even better stuff.) You'll notice Dr. Jaliman included specific emotions on her list of inflammatory foods and drinks, too — moods really matter.