I have spent my whole life covering up my rosy cheeks – sure, I save a lot of money on blush, but I also am consistenty asked by people, ‘what is wrong with your face?’ or telling me that I have a rash on my face. When I was younger my rosacea was more noticeable, so naturally I spent years hopping around from dermatologist to dermatologist trying to find a fix for my bright red cheeks. Several facials, treatments, and creams later I still have my rosy cheeks. So I gave up for a while because it was all to exhausting and very expensive, but am BACK AT IT! It is time to kick these rosy cheeks to the curb (or at least tone it down a bit)! I spoke to Marie Veronique – skin guru and founder of her own skincare line Marie Veronique, to help me understand a bit more about Rosacea and how to manage it with her amazing line of non toxic skincare.
How does your skincare line help people with rosacea symptoms?
Rosacea symptoms arise due to a variety of different factors, present in ways that vary from individual to individual, and may or may not respond to generally recommended treatments as expected. In other words, it’s very complicated! Our skin care line helps by first of all recognizing rosacea complexities and the necessity for offering flexible treatment protocols. One size does not fit all, so within our line we offer options that increase the possibility of finding a solution that works for your particular case. For example, if your rosacea is due to barrier malfunction you will want to improve barrier integrity. If it’s microbial imbalances you will want to rebalance microbiomes, both skin and gut. On the other hand if it’s gradually acquired photosensitivity due to some medications or topical products you’ve been using you will want to remove the sensitizers and make sure sun protection is adequate. Specifically we are looking at Barrier Restore for case 1, Pre-Pro Mist + Redness Relief for case 2 and our essential oil free products for case 3. You should always ask your skin care company how they can help you, so this is a very good question to start out with.
I have heard several times at the dermatologist not to do anything that will worsen the symptons (hot showers, tea, spicy food, alcohol) – what are your thoughts on this?
Again, it’s based on the individual and how she/he responds to common triggers like alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods. Some people will respond with flare-ups, some people won’t. However, there are certain circumstances that do seem to aggravate rosacea symptoms for everyone—temperature extremes, either extreme heat or cold, or the two in rapid succession, heavy exercise or exertion, UV exposure. Wash your face with lukewarm or cool water, avoid saunas and/or Bikram Yoga (other forms of yoga are fine) and use a sunscreen containing zinc oxide only daily. Zinc oxide is anti-inflammatory and calms rosacea prone skin.
What are the most successful ways to be mindful and to combat autoimmune disease through natural products?
That is a question for your doctor. Autoimmune disorders can be very serious, and require knowledgeable medical management.
Do you suggest switching your routine all at once, or slowly?
Since an allergic reaction causing redness might be a part of the rosacea person’s profile, it is much better to switch a routine slowly. If a product that is supposed to help is making the problem worse, you’ll be able to identify the culprit much more readily if you’ve introduced changes one by one. I’d start by eliminating cleansers and using yoghurt instead. People tend to wash too much, which can predispose even normal skin towards displaying rosacea type symptoms such as dryness and redness.
How to incorporate products like retinol, eye cream and vitamin C into routine w/ rosacea? Do you have any recommendations as to the order of incorporating them into a routine?
Start by using Soothing B3 Serum in the morning, and after your skin texture has improved (where there is less redness) then you can incorporate Vitamin C+E+Ferulic Serum into the routine in the daytime. You can alternate Soothing B3 with Vitamin C+E+Ferulic with Soothing B3 or you can layer Vitamin C+E+Ferulic with the Soothing B3 Serum.
Order of application of serums and oils is usually serum first, then oils, and sunscreen is always last.
Gentle Retinol Night Serum is used only at night, and you can follow with Soothing B3 and/or other serums such as Barrier Restore. Oils come next. Gentle Retinol Night Serum has vitamin C in it so you don’t need to use the Vitamin C+E+Ferulic Serum at night.
Note: Vitamin C is one of your go-to products for rosacea, because there is a link between free radical damage and inflammation, and of course inflammation is at the root of all rosacea problems. Using Soothing B3 to strengthen rosacea-prone skin before you incorporate Vitamin C+E+Ferulic Serum into your routine is a good way to start, but as your skin adjusts it’s a good idea to use the Vitamin C serum at least every other morning, as the antioxidant Vitamin C will help prevent free radical damage from UV exposure. The vitamin C in the Gentle Retinol Night Serum at night will help build collagen, as it is the rate limiting step in collagen biosynthesis. So Vitamin C does double duty, and you get to benefit both ways.
After applying other products you can apply Eye Repair Serum either day or night or both. Just dab a little under the eyes and on the top lid. You do not need much!
What are no-no ingredients for patients w rosacea (in products, makeup etc.
Chemical sunscreens in particular are to be avoided. Zinc oxide only sunscreens are ideal.
Toners containing ingredients like witch hazel or ethyl or isopropyl alcohol.
Fragrances in products, particularly anything labeled artificial fragrances or “parfum.” Essential oils can also be a problem for fragrance sensitive people.
“green” preservatives like phenoxyethanol can be irritating to sensitive skin.
D&C colors in cosmetics are potential irritants.
Can rosacea be cured or just sent into ‘remission’?
Given that the etiology of rosacea is not well understood it’s generally considered something that, under the best of circumstances, can be brought under control. The ultimate cure for anything though is death, so don’t feel discouraged. The ultimate cure awaits us all.
Any advice to those suffering (or anything that can help during the winter months with dryer skin?)
Remember that the underlying cause of rosacea, however it manifests, is inflammation. Extreme temperatures, cold as well as hot, can exacerbate redness, and the worst is when you go from cold outdoors to overheated indoors. If it’s really cold out I recommend wearing a ski mask, not matter how it looks. Using parasols protects skin from too much sun, and we are finally beginning to see that they make sense, so maybe attractive winter masks are not that far off.
Keeping barrier function topnotch will help to keep skin from getting too dry, so Barrier Lipid Complex and Barrier Restore Serum will help. They can be applied as many times a day as needed, depending on climactic conditions.
What product lines do you recommend for those with rosacea (what brands do you feel comfortable with your patients using besides your own – if any?)
Grocery stores have a great line of products—yoghurt for cleansing, moisturizing and microbial balance, honey for moisturizing, green tea for antioxidant protection, oatmeal for soothing inflamed skin.
If your dermatologist has given you a prescription for a miticide because of Human demodex infestation don’t hesitate to take it. Stubborn cases of rosacea can clear up very quickly once the mites are under control.
How long does it take to see results; I’m sure its different for everyone but is there an approximation?
Much of it depends on how long-standing the condition you are dealing with is, so the trick is to find the underlying causes and address them. (Practical advice: work with a good dermatologist and physician) Once you are on the right track it shouldn’t take too long to see results. But a rule of thumb is at least one skin cell turnover cycle (approximately 30 days) to see some improvement, with the next turnover rate showing real signs of improvements. So, for most people the answer is going to be two months.