Five years and two days ago, I wrote about what I’m doing to keep the rosacea demon at bay. Five years and two days later, my skin is half a decade older, but in my humble opinion, looks no worse for the wear.
Here’s my current “Look at me! I’m 43!” rosacea beauty regime:
Ditching the wash cloth and towels – I only use my fingertips or those throw away face tissues to clean my face, and then a microfiber towel to pat it dry. Yup, no lie, my tests have proven that my rosacea gets worse when I even carefully pat with soft terry cloth, but of course, your mileage may vary. My towel is actually the same towel they recommend that girls with curly hair use to dry their hair. You can also just use an old cotton t-shirt to pat your face dry. Everyone’s got an old t-shirt lying around, right? Hack it up into a towel shape so that it doesn’t look like you’ve forgotten laundry in the bathroom and you’re ready to roll.
Micellar water: I still use this, but hold the phone! I’ve been using Caudalie cleansing water (which I wrote about in the last Bix Beauty Blow By Blow) but it’s Simple now makes micellar water at a fraction of the price! This is the entire reason I wrote this blog post! I haven’t actually tried this version yet, but as soon as my Caudalie is gone, I’m loading up with this bad boy. If you have shied away from Micellar water due to the price points, give it a try. It’s pretty eye-opening to use it on a clean face and see how much gunk ends up on your cotton ball after you swipe. This is what I use nightly before moisturizing on days when I didn’t wear makeup (which is most days).
Clarisonic with Sensitive Head: I can’t use this every day because my rosacea would seek revenge, but once a week, I hit it up Clarisonic style, particularly around my T-zone. Clarisonics are expensive and I only have one because they sent me one for free when they first came out (yup, I loved writing for a beauty blog seven years ago) so I wouldn’t run out and buy one of these – there are cheaper versions on the market now that do the same thing. I typically keep Philosophy Purity liquid cleanser around to use with this.
Trader Joe’s Organic Jojoba Oil and Vitamin E Oil: On days when I wear makeup or if I’ve been out in the winter elements, this is my nightly face wash. I use my fingertips only with this and a very lukewarm-to-cool splash to rinse. When I clean with oil, I don’t moisturize afterwards. Which brings me to…
Aveda All Sensitive Moisturizer: I’m still using this, even though five years ago I mentioned that I suspect I was mildly allergic to it. I think the itchiness I was getting was related to something else I was using or something in my diet, though, because I haven’t noticed any related itchiness in some time. Maybe I just powered through it and my skin gave up? This stuff is kind of spendy ($25) but it lasts a really REALLY long time. Five tiny pumps covers your whole face and your neck. I use this twice daily OR I use:
Simple Replenishing Rich Moisture: Simple has two kinds of face moisturizer – the stuff with sunscreen in it and this stuff. I use the one without the sunscreen in it, because I’m allergic to chemical sunscreen, plus I feel like the other one is oddly sticky for an hour after application, which I loathe. I switch out between this one and the Aveda. It’s slightly less moisturizing than the Aveda, so it’s good for summer or when you’ve got some pore clogging going on, plus it’s only ten bucks and goes on sale frequently at Target and Walgreens. Don’t be surprised if your gentleman caller steals this for his bathroom too.
Simple Soothing Eye Balm: Light, never clogs those little pores by your eyes (if you have tiny bumps by your eyes, whatever you’re using is clogging those tiny pores, so stop it) and it’s cheap as sin. It’s not quite as awesome as my gold standard eye cream, Kinerase Advanced Eye Cream, but it gets you almost there and at a 1/10th of the price? Almost there works for me. As far as I can tell, they don’t make this anymore, which is a TRAVESTY OF BEAUTY because it was awesome. The green Revitalizing Roll On is NOT THE SAME. You can still find it on eBay and Amazon. I like this stuff but now that it’s harder to find, I’ll probably rely more on:
Boots Expert Sensitive Hydrating Eye Cream: This is almost better than the Simple Soothing Eye Balm stuff but it does sting my eyes the tiniest bit (and other reviewers said it makes them feel like they’re going blind) while the Simple stuff doesn’t sting at all. However, the Boot’s stuff is also slightly more emollient than the Simple version, plus they still make it. Another cheapie, this one is usually around $7. Look for the one with the picture of the big brown eye on it – the other Boots stuff is more expensive and stings like hell if you rub some into your eye by accident. I alternate between these two and treat myself with:
Kinerase Advanced Eye Cream: This is so so so expensive but you know what? I don’t even care. I stretch it out by only buying one tube at a time and alternating between this and the cheaper stuff above. This is the gold standard in eye cream, almost on par with La Mer The Eye Concentrate (which is amazing, but holy shit, even I’m not going to spend $200 on eye cream) and the jaw-droppingly even-more-expensive AmorePacific Time Response Eye Renewal Creme. (Yes, looking at those prices does make me feel positively frugal for opting for the $50 Kinerase).
Aveda Outer Peace Cooling Masque: I still use this about once a month, sometimes more if I have a thing where I don’t want to go all red faced when I drink wine. Last time I wrote: Kind of a “fooled ya!” moment though when you remove the masque because the pressure of washing it off (you have to use a soft cloth, as it’s tenacious) makes you MORE red temporarily. Kind of a ridiculous green treatment like the Eucerin Redness stuff in the Loser pile but used probably twice a month in combination with the All Sensitive Moisturizer, I definitely had a reduction in redness the next day after application. Not advised for every day use but a must the morning of a party to reduce the wine flushes.” I now remove this with Yes To Cucumbers daily face wash wipes instead of the soft cloth and it’s still a bastard to remove.
Sunblock: Yes, daily. Even in winter. All the time. I can only use physical sunblock because of my allergies to chemical sunscreen benzones, so that means zinc oxide usually but the newest physical sunscreens now go on invisible and don’t do that chalky white thing that the old school zincs used to do. Here’s the thing: if you’re only relying on chemical sunscreens, you’re one step above the people who are going skin cancer commando but why go through all that effort if you’re not getting the job done completely? Scientific studies have proven that physical sunscreens are the way to go. Bare Minerals has a natural sunscreen element in its foundation, but it’s barely enough to get by for daily “walking from the car” or “sitting outside under a tree” exposure – I need a minimum of 30 SPF. Dermalogica has a super sensitiv 30 SPF sunscreen that is pricy, but it’s great. CeraVe has a broad spectrum zinc-based sunscreen with 50 SPF that I plan to try this summer in the pool, since it’s water resistant and way cheaper than Dermalogica. I also like Alba Botanicals Very Emollient Mineral Protection Sunscreen for kids. Of course, I also use a gigantic ridiculous hat, bug eyed sunglasses and long-sleeve surfer rash guards in the pool too. Investigating titanium full-body covering for the near future.
Tweezerman Skin Care Tool: In our house, it’s the “skin thing” and we have four of them because one time I took the sole skin thing with me to California, unaware that another resident of the Bix Proper was reliant on said skin thing and I received a phone call. A phone call that did not end well when I revealed that I had taken the skin thing on a vacation. Be warned: This is the one element of my skin care regime that my beloved Svetlana did NOT cosign — in fact, she was adamantly against it, but you know what? It makes my nose look better and helps the general state of my pores. If you’re careful and don’t go in there like you’re digging for treasure, you can gently apply pressure near your pores and out pops the sebum and clogged grossness. If you’re making a little loop mark on your skin? Ease off, baby, this isn’t a race. I should also mention that when Svetlana did extractions, she used two cotton swabs and said that it was the ONLY thing people with sensitive or aging skin should use. So there you go, forewarned. I personally think the cotton swabs hurt more and use more pressure, but again, I’ve got an extremely light touch with the skin thing and only ever use the small end.
Bix Final Word:
Looking back at that blog post five years ago, it’s interesting to see how much has changed and also, how little has changed. Sadly, my beloved Svetlana has moved back to Russia and I haven’t had my monthly facials in over two years, so it has fallen to me to keep up on the upkeep. We also now know that rosacea is caused by tiny dead skin spiders (I’m not making that up) so my unscientific tests about the relationship between diet and rosacea flare-ups actually may have some merit.
Here’s the thing, and it’s one of my biggest tips: if you’re in your late 30s or beyond, you have to change your routine. What worked for you when you were 34 just isn’t going to work for the long haul. If you could never use moisturizers before because it made you break out, maybe that was your 24-year-old skin, but your 39-year-old skin has a different story. It’s time to get serious because if you’re 40 or beyond, your skin is going to start losing its elasticity (aka wrinkles) its luminance (aka you look grey) and its tone (aka wrinkles).
And no matter who you are and what your skin story is like, you should be using eye cream twice a day without exception. I’m not kidding. Twice a day. I keep tubes of eye goop next to my bed, at my desk, in the bathroom, in my travel kit and in my purse. This is how serious this is. Your aging starts around the eyes. Head it off at the pass.
Make this your mantra: Eye goop every 12 hours. Try it for three weeks. When you realize that the past 42 applications of eye goop have de-aged you five years, you can tip your wide-brimmed sun hat to Ms Bix, who always has your back.