Just over a year ago, I developed what I thought was a raging rash all over my face. My skin itched like crazy, little white bumps appeared in small random patches, my chin, cheeks, and nose were bright red, and hot to the touch. I suspected I was having an allergic reaction (I’m no stranger to those), so I took some Benadryl, went to bed, and expected to wake up to clean, albeit sensitive, skin.
But the next morning, nothing had changed.
With Benadryl failing me, I made appointments at the dermatologist and the allergist.
The dermatologist wasn’t too alarmed by my appearance even though my face felt like it was on fire. She said it could either be an allergic reaction or rosacea, a facial skin disorder that presents sort of like acne but with extreme redness that can persist for days, months, or even years. She prescribed two different creams - one for the redness and one for the itching and bumps - and told me if the allergy tests came back negative, then rosacea was certainly the culprit.
At the allergist, I survived the needle pricks all over my back and arms to find out that not only am I not allergic to dairy anymore, but I’m also not really allergic to much of anything. With allergies ruled out, rosacea was the clear winner. The allergist, who also had rosacea, sent me home with a list of food and environmental triggers to avoid and Cerave cream to help calm and moisturize my skin.
But the Cerave BURNED. My Cetaphil wash BURNED. Everything BURNED. The creams from the dermatologist helped, but after reading the potential side effects and rethinking the idea of putting acid all over my face, I threw them away. Completely frustrated and wanting to cry every time I looked in the mirror, I turned to makeup to cover the red. I caked on concealer, foundation, and powder, but 20 minutes after application, my face itched even more.
Knowing deep down that I had to treat my skin, not simply cover it, I took to the Internet for answers.
I learned that rosacea is a common chronic disorder with no known cause.
Some doctors think it’s related to autoimmune issues, some think it has to do with weak blood vessels, and some even think it’s caused by Demodex mites. After hours poring over websites and support forums, it was clear I was experiencing a rosacea flare, but I refused to depend on the prescription creams everyone online was suggesting. So I Googled “how to treat rosacea naturally” and up popped a treasure trove of green beauty knowledge.
I read about the anti-inflammatory properties of green tea, the antibacterial properties of honey, and the soothing benefits of oatmeal, aloe, and rose oil. I soaked in the articles explaining the unregulated nature of the beauty and cosmetic industry, shocked at the number of chemicals I was slathering on my skin and appalled that cosmetic companies were putting lead in our lipsticks. “This is it,” I thought to myself. “If I want to save my skin, everything’s got to go.”
So for the last year, I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching green, organic, and/or natural beauty companies, testing innumerable combinations of cleansers, serums, moisturizers, and sunscreens.
Pro tip: Sunscreens that rely on physical sunblockers like zinc and titanium oxide are better for your skin and the environment, and zinc even has soothing properties that help treat redness.
Since I’ve changed my routine, I haven’t had a single rosacea flare.
Now my skincare ritual is sacred. I take the time every morning and evening to cleanse and nourish my skin with healthful products, and because I’m so confident in my skin, I wear even less makeup than I did before. As much as I hated my rosacea a year ago, my flare changed everything - and for that, I’m grateful.