Bringing Back the Parasol for Summer Fashion and Sun Protection

parasol fashion sun protection

I recently read a passage from my book Love at First Plight, in which my main character, Irys Godeleva, said the following:

“…the sun came out from behind a fluffy white cloud. It felt warm and natural on my skin, and the threat of a looming freckle drew me from the enchantment of the pages.”

Sun protection parasol RosaceaWhat was her next move? She reached for her parasol! I wrote that passage 14 years ago. A year after I was first diagnosed with rosacea symptoms. For 14 years, I have read, reread, edited, and proofed that chapter and never once did I realize that Irys was trying to tell me about a practical and pretty way to protect my skin from the sun.

Somehow, I managed to write a character who is smarter than I am! It’s no wonder her nickname is “Clever One”. If only I was worthy of such a name. I’ll just have to keep trying.

I may not be as clever as she is, but at least I am smart enough to take action when I finally learn a lesson. This summer, I’ve started making use of my very pretty parasol which, embarrassingly enough, I’ve owned for a decade and have never used for anything other than room décor. Oh, the shame!

Parasols are very practical sun protection and can help with rosacea symptoms.

At first, I thought that carrying a parasol would be a pain in the behind and that it would make me feel like a weirdo. I have certain anxiety issues that make it difficult for me to do anything that will have me stand out in public (it’s a long story that I won’t get into, here), so the last thing that I want to do is make a spectacle of myself. But when I actually gave it a whirl, I found that the experience was far better than I’d expected.

First of all, I felt pretty. I bought my parasol in Chinatown in Toronto. It’s a lavender purple with little flowers along one side, with light blue “spokes” and a bamboo handle. It’s not just a rain umbrella (which can be quite pretty, though I don’t happen to own a nice one). It’s a fashion accessory!

Using the parasol meant that I could walk to a friend’s house instead of driving, while still being shaded from the sun. I didn’t have to wear sunscreen, a large brimmed hat, or protective clothing. That was all important to me because it was very hot and humid outside and I was going to attend a dinner for which I didn’t feel like having hat-head or that gunky sunscreen feeling on my skin.

The only downside that I could see to using the parasol would have been if it were windy. Fortunately, it was not. There was a bit of a breeze, but nothing that would yank the parasol out of my hands or cause it to flip inside out.

The parasol is a great fashion accessory!

parasol fashion sun protectionNow that I’ve started using my parasol, I’ve found myself browsing for new ones on eBay and other online shops. I want options!  The good news is that there are lots of them. There are ones that are meant to be very pretty and there are others that have a black interior that are meant to provide you with much fuller coverage from the sun. It feels like shopping for a new handbag – so many options, styles and functions!

I’ve decided not to overdo it, but I’m happy to have a couple of pretty one for a short walk down the street, and one that is larger and designed more specifically for UV protection, for extra UV blocking to make my sunscreen more effective if I head to a patio party or a beach where I’ll be sitting outside for a while.

I never thought that my rosacea symptoms would lead me to want to start a new fashion trend, but that’s certainly what seems to be happening! I think that everyone can benefit from this one, too. Not just rosacea sufferers.

After all, it gives us another great summer accessory beyond handbags and sunglasses, and it’s good for preventing premature aging, skin cancer, sun damage and spots, and a whole spectrum of different skin conditions.

Not bad for something that is essentially a decorative umbrella! Thanks Irys, I owe you one.

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Week 7: It’s Rosacea, Not Acne! They’re Not the Same!

natural rosacea treatment blog

If I were to tell you that I have a skin condition on my face that looks like redness and little pimples, the odds are that you would tell me that I haveacne.  In fact, for years, that’s what I thought I had.  Unfortunately, because of that belief, I treated my skin with acne products…bad ones, too.

It wasn’t completely my fault!  Let me explain!

As a teen, I had pimples on my face.  At that time, all of the beauty/fashion magazines that I loved and the commercials in the shows that I watched taught me that the reason that I had pimples was because of bacteria (ewww bacteria!) and that clearing my face was just a matter of buying a product that would kill the bacteria.

So I did.  I bought Clearasil, Oxy, Noxema, and Clean & Clear. I bought scrubs, cleansers, medicated pads, toners, astringents, spot treatments, and medicated cover-ups.  I used clearing masks, peel-off masks, and oil absorbing masks. Then came the nose strips from Bioré – and soon from a number of other brands, too.  I used all of those and joined the millions of other people in their teens and early twenties who wondered at the disgusting miniature gunk forest that they tore out of their pores with ingredients on oddly-shaped strips that were strikingly similar to hairspray and that were very painful to remove.  But pain was beauty!

Yes, my skin felt tight and dry.  Yes, it looked irritated and inflamed.  Yes, I spent many Sunday nights with a Bioré nose strip-shaped red patch on my face.  But it was all in the name of clear skin.  I had to beat that bacteria.  I wasn’t going to give it a chance.  So why wasn’t my skin clear?

Because I had rosacea, and that is not acne!

natural rosacea treatment blogIndeed, I did have the occasional pimple that was your traditional acne-style zit, but over the years, my skin just got redder and redder and I just kept treating it with more and more acne products.

To be honest, I don’t think that the majority of the products on the “acne treatment” shelves are good for anybody’s skin, including acne sufferers, but that’s another story altogether and I’m not going to get into that, here.

But this does help to explain why I cannot stand the term “acne rosacea”.  I loathe that phrase.  Rosacea sufferers have a hard enough time getting a proper diagnosis on their skin, but when they do receive one, the last thing that they need is to have a term applied to them that will confuse both themselves and the people around them about what this condition really is.

Rosacea is not acne.  Acne rosacea is not acne.

For that reason, rosacea should not be treated with acne products, techniques, or therapies.

Even my doctor prescribed an acne cream to me for a while, when he thought that I had acne (to be fair to doctors and patients, the two conditions can look very similar, and I was in an age group that was far more likely to have acne than rosacea).  That cream left my skin painfully dry and itchy, and it started peeling off in thin sheets. Needless to say, I discontinued use.

If you must call it “acne rosacea”, know the difference!

The funny thing is that both of these skin conditions – acne and rosacea – are actually easier to control with a gentler and more natural approach, in many cases.  This does depend on the individual person and the cause of the condition, but I’m talking about the situation in general, not about every single person who has these skin disorders.

Both types of skin problem will show marked improvements when you treat them gently, when you limit the use of harsh chemicals (natural and artificial), when you eliminate the use of abrasive products such as scrubs and face cloths, when you keep your hands off your face, and when you wash your face no more than twice daily (once in the morning and once at night).

What I also found to be funny was that the red light therapy that I am using to treat my rosacea symptoms is also helpful to people who have acne.  It doesn’t stop them from getting the pimples in the first place, but it’s very effective for healing redness and scarring.  I think that blue light is what kills acne bacteria so that the pimples don’t appear in the first place.  I don’t know if blue light is used on rosacea, at all…but I am motivated to research that now!

Both skin conditions involve reactive, irritated, inflamed skin.  They should both be treated gently and neither should be stripped of natural oils.  They should be kept clean and moisturized and protected from the sun.  Still, they are not the same.

Did using acne treatments make my rosacea symptoms present themselves earlier in my life?

This is a question that I have asked myself for some time now.  Was all of the harsh treatment that I gave my skin a factor in the early development of rosacea symptoms?  Did all of those harsh products, combined with the chlorine from the swimming pool in which I spent hours every day for the first 19 summers of my life, and the 1-2 sunburns I received every year, create a concoction that resulted in early-onset rosacea?

Honestly, I feel that it might have.  Skin is an organ.  It’s the largest one on your body and it’s your primary barrier between you and your environment.  It is made up of millions of cells that are already facing sunlight, wind, heat, cold, bacteria, yeast, viruses, fungi, humidity, dryness, pressure, abrasion, and other factors that would kill you in an instant if you didn’t have one heck of a fantastic bio-shield to protect you (wow does that ever make it sound like we have weird super-powers!).

The fact that I abused mine as badly as I did for a solid decade or more, when I am already very pale, prone to sunburn, and prone to dryness didn’t give me much of a chance.

It’s true that the actual cause of rosacea is unknown, and while I may not have caused my rosacea through all of the terrible treatment that I gave my skin, what I feel is that I placed myself at far greater risk of developing it.  The chance was already there.  I have a number of risk factors including being pale and having it in my family genetics.  But lifestyle plays a vital role in virtually every health issue, and that is where I failed myself.

This explains why I choose a natural rosacea treatment.

I’m not all-natural with my rosacea treatment, yet.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be.  I’m not against all human-made ingredients, and I’m not for all natural ingredients (after all, there are a lot of natural ingredients that can be harmful to rosacea, including witch hazel, peppermint, and many others).

What I do know is that I’m aiming to use my rosacea treatment to enhance the natural function of my skin.  I’m treating my skin gently, with as few products and ingredients as possible, to help it to figure itself out.

I’m using a very gentle cleanser to take away dirt, product, and excess oils, but not all oils. Oil is good for all skin types.  The key is in its balance. I’m protecting my skin from the sun with a very good quality sunscreen.  I’m moisturizing with a product that is very high quality and that is meant for my skin type. I’m not wearing makeup unless I “have” to. I’m also working on proper hydration and eating a healthful diet while eliminating rosacea triggers and choosing more ingredients that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.  I’m using red light to give the cells the energy they need to heal and to naturally reduce their inflammation.

After everything I’ve put my skin through, I’m now honouring my skin. In return, it has rewarded me by looking the best that it has been in fifteen years.  Not a bad agreement!

Week 6: How to Use Non-Laser LED Red Light Therapy as a Natural Rosacea Treatment (with video)

non-laser LED red light therapy natural rosacea treatment

I’d just like to start this week’s blog with a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has been reading, sending me comments, watching my videos, and following me/commenting on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube.

I started this blog with the goal of helping other people to speed up their own ability to treat their rosacea by learning what I’ve discovered over the last 15 years of trial-and-error with the condition, but for some reason, it never occurred to me that I’d get this much attention.  Still, after only 6 weeks, this blog already has more than 950 followers!  Holy macaroni!

There is No Rosacea Cure.

The number of followers on this blog really shows how many people are struggling with the same battles in overcoming rosacea symptoms.  There are far too many websites and products out there that claim that they have a “cure”, when that just doesn’t exist.  Yes, you can heal your symptoms and prevent them from coming back, so it can feel like you don’t have a skin condition anymore, but it never actually goes away.

If you’ve been batting with your rosacea treatment for a while, then you know this, deep down, no matter how much you might want to believe that a rosacea cure exists.  Sorry.  If it’s out there, it hasn’t been discovered, yet.

But when you learn about the right kinds of rosacea treatment for your own unique case of this condition, it can be very helpful in keeping it under control.

For me, it has been a matter of:

  • keeping out of heat and humidity as much as possible,
  • reducing the temperature of showers that I take,
  • waiting for my food to cool down a bit before I eat it,
  • avoiding caffeine and alcohol (sort-of 😉 ),
  • finding the right gentle skin care products (an ongoing mission),
  • keeping out of direct sunlight,
  • and avoiding trigger foods such as spicy ones and ones containing histamine (I’ll do a blog on that in the future).

For you, it might not be the same as me, but I hope that you’ll learn from what I have tried so that you can decide whether or not it is worth it for you to try it, too.

My Experience with Red Light Therapy as a Rosacea Treatment

As you’ve been reading (if you’ve checked out my other posts), one of the central components of my natural rosacea treatment has been non-laser LED red light therapy.  I’ve been showing pictures of my progress as I use it. It is still clearing up the redness (my case has been a problem for 15 years, so it will take a while for me to clear all of the redness).  The bumps are gone, and all of the “discomfort” rosacea symptoms have been gone for weeks.

Many people who don’t have the condition don’t realize that a lot of the struggles with the symptoms aren’t just a matter of the redness and pimply-looking bumps.  This skin disorder has a lot of uncomfortable symptoms, too.  Itching, tightness, and burning are the ones I used to deal with, the most.  For me, those are gone.  I mean completely gone.

The only symptom that I have left is the redness.  It has been fading over the last six weeks, to the point that it now looks like I’ve had too much sun, but it no longer looks like I have a raging skin problem.

How to Use Light Therapy to Heal Rosacea Symptoms

The most common question that I’ve been getting from this blog and over Twitter has been exactly how I use the LED red light therapy as a part of my overall rosacea treatment.

I guess it’s true that I have talked about it a lot but I’ve never really demonstrated what I do to make it work.  I think the reason I’ve never really gone into it is that it is pretty simple and self-explanatory.  There are quite a few different devices out there, but after doing research I chose the Peak 630 LED Red Light Therapy kit from Light Therapy Options.

Here is a video that I’ve created to illustrate exactly what I do to use it:

The reason I chose that device is that while I was tempted to go for one of the cheaper “mask” style or tiny hand-held devices that I’ve seen in a few stores and on eBay, the Peak 630 had the following advantages:

  • Once you buy it, nothing ever needs to be replaced.  Even the bulb.  It essentially lasts a lifetime. So it’s a one-time purchase with nothing that needs to be replaced.  Other products, like the masks last about 1 month and then need to be replaced.  I’m not sure about the tiny handhelds other than the batteries that need to be replaced.  Devices that have replacement parts get expensive over time and are not eco-friendly. So I went for the Peak 630, instead.
  • It’s powerful enough to actually work. After looking into the cheaper little handhelds, I found out that they are way less powerful, which means that they aren’t as effective. They need to be held very close to the skin to do anything at all.  That leads to the next benefit of the one I chose.
  • It barely takes any time at all.  Since this device is powerful, it can be held 6-12 inches from the skin.  That means that the whole face can be done in 3 sessions (left, right, an centre).  Each session is 90-180 seconds long (depending on how long you want to do it and what is most effective for your skin and unique condition).  So it takes only 4.5 minutes for me to do my whole face if I do the minimum time, or 9 minutes if I do the maximum time.  As far as I can tell, the mask products take 15 minutes or more.  The little handhelds take a very long time because they cover a small area of your face so you have to do way more sessions.
    I don’t know if you’ve ever had to sit still for more than 5 minutes doing absolutely nothing with your eyes closed, but it’s BORING.  Also, I’m busy!  If it takes a long time and it’s boring, I’m not going to keep up with it every day.  I know myself.  I won’t follow through.  But a handful of minutes can be squished into even my busiest days, so the Peak 630 works for me.  I just do it directly after I shower and then move on with the rest of my getting-ready.
  • The company has great reviews/reputation. I read a lot of the reviews on this device, the other devices sold by Light Therapy Options, and on the company, itself.  It’s got a great reputation and it promised that if I didn’t like the product, it could be returned in 90 days for a full refund.  Considering that I saw my first early benefits within 24 hours and it has continued to work for 6 weeks, that’s really not going to be an issue!

Full disclosure – my above reasoning for choosing this product may sound kinda salesy, but I am NOT being paid to make those statements.  I am not using this blog to make any promises or to sell anything.  In fact, to make sure that we’re all on the same page about how I am not making money through this website, I have created a “Full Disclosure” page that you can check out what this is all about.

As of 2 weeks ago (four weeks into my own red light therapy), I was asked by that company to keep up their own new blog.  I was asked to do it because I am a writer and because I have personal experience with rosacea treatment and with their own red light therapy device.  That said, I am NOT being paid by them to write the blog.  I keep it up at my own pace to give general rosacea skin care information that is backed up by science and by reputable organizations like the National Rosacea Society, among others.

If you want to see what I have to say on their blog, I welcome you to visit their blog site, here: Light Therapy Options Rosacea Blog. Again, I am writing for that site on a voluntary basis and it won’t change the honest opinions that I share here on this site.

Plus, I’m still backing up everything that I say with pictures of my own skin!  No filters or alterations are ever made to these images (I wouldn’t know how to do that even if I wanted to!).  They’re taken with the same device (my tablet), in the same place in my home (guest room), in the same lighting (probably not great, but it’s the best I can do 😉 ).

Here are this week’s progress pictures:

cheek 1 - Non-Laser LED Red Light Therapy natural rosacea treatment - July 19 2015  cheek 2 - Non-Laser LED Red Light Therapy natural rosacea treatment - July 19 2015

I welcome you to compare them to my “before” pictures from The Beginning.  Big difference, wouldn’t you say?

That’s all for this week.

If you have any questions or comments about red light therapy and rosacea treatments, I welcome you to share them in the comments section, below.

Rosy JulieBC’s Rosacea Journey on Social Media

natural rosacea treatment options social media

Hi Everyone!

This is just a short post to share some updates.

natural rosacea treatment options social mediaI’ve started a few social media pages to make it easier to keep up with the latest in natural rosacea treatment techniques and information, to share some interesting information that I’ve found but that doesn’t really belong in this blog, and to make it easier for you to share your thoughts and comments on rosacea skin care, products, treatments, struggles, and other important topics.

I’ll be keeping up these blogs, of course, but you can also find more rosacea information at:

Twitter: @Treat_Rosacea

Facebook: Rosy JulieBC

Google+: Rosy JulieBC

YouTube: Rosy Julie BC

TalkHealth Rosacea Hub: Julie’s TalkHealth Rosacea Blog

There should be some very exciting blog posts coming up, too.  I’ve had a few topic requests that I intend to cover, and I’ve been asked to do a product review on a line of natural rosacea treatment products that I’ve been eying for a few weeks (since back when I was looking to switch my moisturizer at the change of the seasons).

More soon!

Week 5: How to Cover Rosacea with Makeup (with video)

Cover rosacea with makeup

Even though my red light therapy is progressing, there is still some redness on my skin that makes my complexion uneven and there are times when I would like to cover rosacea up so that I’m the only one who knows it’s there.

While I don’t really mind the remaining redness on a regular day, I’d rather have a more even look when I am attending a special occasion or when I’m a guest author at an event. If you have redness on your skin, regardless of whether or not it’s rosacea, you know that it can be challenging to achieve that “flawless” complexion when you’re seeing people live and don’t have Photoshop to help you out.

The first step when you want to cover rosacea to find the best makeup.

Cover rosacea with makeupThe best makeup for rosacea is not the same from one person to the next.  There area  few brands that focus on sensitive and reactive skin.  There are also some brands that focus on maximum coverage.  It can take a bit of tinkering before you find the one that will give you the best coverage without causing your rosacea symptoms to worsen in the process.

This is particularly important when you will be wearing makeup for rosacea every day.  As a writer, I’m fortunate enough to work from home, but most people don’t have the luxury of being able to look like they just fell out of bed when they’re sitting at their work desks.

How to find the best makeup for rosacea

Before April, I had been trying to find the best makeup for rosacea for a handful of years.  For the first decade that I had the condition, the usual drugstore brand foundations were enough to cover the extra pink in my cheeks.  But as the condition progressed, I started to need better coverage and that would do less damage to my skin while it was on.

Near the end of April, I had a large event that I needed to attend as a guest author and I desperately wanted to look my best.  I was already very nervous about having to do readings and answer questions in front of hundreds of people, so looking nice was an important part of building my confidence (yes, I’m vain. I can admit it!).

I had already tested several products and had spoken to a number of cosmetics consultants, but I wasn’t having any luck.  My skin was flaring a lot – nearly constantly – and the bumps were rampant.  Before I explained the problem to the consultants, they often thought I had a bad sunburn or a severe case of acne.

The challenges were as follows:

  1. My skin was reacting to absolutely everything.  Even my previously-fine moisturizer was causing my symptoms to worsen.
  2. The colour of the redness was very deep red.  At times, it was nearly purple in places.  This required a heavy-duty level coverage.
  3. My skin is extremely fair.  Many foundation brands don’t sell shades that are light enough for my skin tone.  Unfortunately, the lighter the shade of foundation, the lower the coverage level will typically be.
  4. Green-tinted products often don’t work with very light foundations.  I tried several green-tinted primers beneath my foundation makeup, but the colour of the foundation wasn’t enough to block out the green, turning my makeup an odd muddy sewage colour. Ugh!

With those issues in front of me, and with only three days before the big event, I was lucky enough to meet Rich Halliday, a cosmetics consultant and brand ambassador who was at my local SD Beauty Boutique and was helping to prepare for a large pink ribbon event (BTW, by mentioning his name in this post, I am merely showing gratitude for all of his help, I’m not suggesting that he endorses any of the products/techniques that I use).  I explained my struggle to him and he took the time to help me to choose the right primer and foundation and he showed me how to apply them to my skin for the maximum coverage, minimum irritation to my skin, and best finished look.

The experience was incredible.  When one side of my face was being covered and the other one wasn’t yet done, a few of the customers in the store stopped to watch.  They were amazed at how the right makeup choices could cover rosacea and leave no sign of it behind; as was I!

I highly recommend speaking with someone who has expertise in cosmetics and in problem/reactive skin, if you are fortunate enough to have someone like that in your area.  If you can’t, try to focus on very good quality foundations that are meant for high coverage and sensitive skin at the same time.  For a severe rosacea symptoms, that might mean makeup that is meant for drama or covering tattoos.  That type can be tough on the skin, though, so it should be a last resort.

How I cover rosacea with makeup

To start, I wash my face and moisturize.  The next step is to use a very good quality primer.  The one that Rich Halliday showed me was called Shiseido Glow Enhancing Primer SPF 15. My skin absolutely loves this stuff.  It creates an effective barrier between my face and the foundation makeup, so that irritation won’t happen.

Next, I apply the foundation that Rich Halliday showed me.  It’s Shiseido Powdery Foundation (Natural Light Ivory #120). It is a very thick product, but it gives very good coverage and it is quite comfortable to wear.  I am extremely grateful to Rich for all of his help and advising.  I understand that when it comes to the best makeup for rosacea coverage, the idea is to spend on the primer and foundation. The rest of the products you choose are up to you, but when you want to cover rosacea, you need to get quality.  I personally wait for sales before I make any purchases because I have the luxury of not wearing that much makeup on the average day, but I know that this could be a cost prohibitive strategy for many people.

In this way, my next technique could actually be helpful to you to save money while still gaining the benefits that I learned from Rich.  I’d like to point out that all of the techniques after this point are mine.  Rich did not show me this money-saver or any of the techniques that I use in the video, below, so it’s not his fault that I use all the wrong tools and I may not do the rest of my makeup in the right order or using the right techniques 😉

Since the Shiseido foundation is needed only to cover rosacea symptoms, the rest of my face does very well with a regular drugstore product from Cover Girl (called “Clean Liquid Sensitive Skin” foundation in “Ivory”…which I just found out was discontinued and replaced by another product, argh!). I just blend it right over the Shiseido product.

I finish that off with a powder and then add a touch of blush that is the same shade as the rosacea.  I am very light handed with the blush.  It’s just enough to make any redness that shows through the makeup look as though it is supposed to be there because it is a natural colour and it is even.

Here is a video I created to show how I cover rosacea with makeup:

Please forgive the deplorable videography.  Clearly, I haven’t found my groove yet.  I’m also far from being an expert in makeup application.  I don’t know anything about how I should actually be putting it on, how to contour, or anything else.  What I do know is how to apply foundation properly for maximum coverage of rosacea symptoms.

My goal in creating this video isn’t to show you how it should be done.  It’s to show you how I do it so that you can see that it can be done.

Even though my rosacea symptoms aren’t nearly as bad as they used to be, those same techniques worked just as effectively when they were at their very worst.  It’s worth it to request a sample of products from Shiseido or another good quality brand (both a primer and a powder foundation from the same brand) to give them a try.  That way, you can see how your skin reacts before you pay for the full sized product.

Now, back to the “usual”…

How is the red light therapy going after 5 Weeks?  Let me tell you!

As the progress with the red light therapy continues, the bumps that I used to have on my face are completely gone.  There are still little circles of pink that show where they used to be, but that’s all that is left. The pink is still continuing to fade.

Though I would be inclined to become impatient with the gradual fading of the redness (pinkness) of my skin, the fact that I don’t have flare-ups anymore, that my skin is soft and comfortable and never hot, tight, or itchy, and that it is still headed in a positive direction is keeping me extremely happy and satisfied with the Peak 630™ Red LED Light Therapy Set and I would recommend it for other rosacea sufferers to try as a part of their overall efforts to heal the symptoms.

I recently read an article in Prevention magazine that pointed out that a bad case of rosacea symptoms can take up to 2 years to fully clear.  It also stated that some redness may be permanent if it is left untreated too long.  I may very well discover that some of the redness will never go away since I’ve had it for about 15 years without ever successfully clearing it, but to be honest, even if this is as good as it gets, I will still continue to use the red light therapy forever, if that’s what needs to be done.

So far, of everything I’ve tried – from prescription medications to home remedies and everything in between – this is the most effective rosacea treatment.  I’m happy that when I have to cover rosacea redness with makeup now, I’m not facing half of the challenge that I did only a few weeks ago.

I didn’t take any pictures of my progress, today, but I will go back to doing that, next week.  This week, I worked on the video for your viewing pleasure 😉

Do you have tips or tricks that you use to cover rosacea with makeup?  Please feel welcome to share them in the comments, below!

Week 4: Light Therapy Progress and the Rosacea Sleep Mystery

The rosacea symptoms benefits and drawbacks of a great night sleep.

I have to apologize for being absent for another span of time.  I have an excuse!  I was sick for about a week and a half.  That said, I still made sure to do my red light therapy for my rosacea symptoms every day.  It does sound like dedication, but when you consider that it only takes 6 minutes of sitting still with your eyes closed, that’s not too much to demand from yourself when you have a sore throat and then a cold.

That said, I’m back and I’m healthy and the virus I had didn’t seem to stop my skin from healing with the help of the red light therapy.  In fact, I think that the light therapy actually helped to heal up my nose a lot faster than it usually would.  By the end of my cold, my nose and upper lip (and that spot in between) were red and chapped with those little dried skin bits (ewww) but two days later, you couldn’t even tell!  I feel like that was my reward for sticking with it 🙂

Overall, my progress is doing very well.  The bumps are completely gone from my cheeks.  I’m still pink cheeked, but I’m not red cheeked anymore, so there is still progress happening there, too.  The changes haven’t been as fast as they were over the first week or two of the treatments, but it’s steady, so I’m still very happy with it.  I haven’t had a flare-up of my rosacea symptoms in about two weeks and my skin isn’t overly dry, itchy, or hot.

I keep telling people that if I didn’t have a mirror, I wouldn’t know that I had any rosacea symptoms at all, anymore!

But here’s something I have learned over the last little while that I find rather interesting.

The way that you sleep can actually hold back the healing of your rosacea symptoms!

red light therapy rosacea symptoms and sleepI am someone who struggles with sleep.  I go through bouts of insomnia, mostly because I have an anxiety disorder.  I won’t go into that, here.  Once I get started talking about that, it takes me too long to stop.  You’re welcome 😉

The point is that I had always thought that my lack of quality sleep had been a contributor to my struggle with healthy skin.  After all, a major component of proper skin care is a good night of sleep.  Even people who don’t have a skin condition will tell you that hydration, a healthy diet, and a good night of sleep will keep your complexion clear and will help to prevent premature aging.

Still, every time I get a truly great night of sleep (they’re few and far between, but they do happen), my skin hasn’t healed as much as it seems to when I have a broken, short night of sleep.

For a while, I was starting to think that red light therapy works best for rosacea when you don’t sleep, or perhaps that rosacea, as a condition, is somehow worsened by sleep.  I knew those were silly, but that’s how it started to seem!  I consistently saw less progress from my rosacea treatments with the light therapy when I was able to get an unbroken 6 or 7 hours (that’s the most I get, so I consider that a “great” night).

Then I made a discovery.  The sleeping issue seemed to be affecting only one side of my face!  Aha!  It’s the side of my face that is ever-so delicately smushed into my pillow every night.  That meant that it was one of two things that could be causing the slowing of the rosacea treatment benefits:

  1. The constant pressure from the pillow worsens rosacea symptoms, or;
  2. The constant contact with whatever was on the pillow case worsens them (that is, the detergent, fabric softener, face moisturizer from the night before, or even hair or skin oils…it’s somewhat icky to think about your pillow case for too long).

I already change my pillow case twice per week, so I decided to be “scientific” about things.  I took 7 pillow cases out of my linen closet and washed them all in fragrance-free, dye-free, hypoallergenic detergent without fabric softener.  I then changed my pillow case every night for a week.  It made a difference!

The bad side was still not doing as well as the other side, but it certainly wasn’t healing as slowly as it had been.  My “scientific” conclusion is that both of the factors that I identified likely play a role in keeping the rosacea symptoms on that side of my face from healing as quickly as they could.

Since I struggle with sleep, I’m not about to try to change sleeping positions completely and end up causing myself to lose even more rest than I already do.  But I have begun to use a fresh, clean pillow case (washed in the most gentle detergent I have) every night to make sure that I’m not pressing my face against the products, oils, or other evils from the night before.

I love discovering these tiny little things that I can do to make a visible difference 🙂

Red light therapy is a fantastic rosacea treatment for me, but it is important to keep in mind that it’s not a silver bullet.  When it comes to this condition, nothing is.  All of your efforts have to work together.

What I have learned is that I am able to maintain my rosacea symptoms and stop them from getting worse by way of lifestyle habits (hydrating, gentle skin care, avoiding too much heat, avoiding trigger foods and, apparently, changing my pillow case every night, among other things), but the red light therapy is what actually heals the issues that have already built up over the last fifteen years.

Speaking of healing rosacea symptoms, here are my latest pictures:

Cheek 1 - rosacea symptoms July 7 2015  Cheek 2 - rosacea symptoms July 7 2015

(click here to see the pics I took on the first day of treatment – What a difference!)

I’ve had a couple of topic requests recently (thank you!) and I do plan to cover them in coming posts.  The first has to do with the skin care products that I use on a regular basis.  It will be a run-down of what I have tried and what I currently use.  I know I’ve mentioned some of them in the past, but this will put it all in one place.

I’ll also talk about what I do in terms of makeup for rosacea – both in choosing products that don’t irritate, and covering up the redness.  I’m not a makeup expert, but I feel like I’ve mastered covering up rosacea symptoms on my own face without making them worse at the same time.  I don’t need it as much, lately, but I still want to share what I know in case it helps someone!

If you have any requests for topics that you’d like covered in the future, please feel welcome to comment in the box,  below!