About six years ago, I woke up one morning with red cheeks and zits. I had recently decided that I needed to be taking better care of my skin, and so I had been faithfully washing it, using those towelettes that have cleanser already in them. So my skin should have benefited from the attention, right? Wrong! My husband took one look at me and said, “You have rosacea, don’t you?” Yep. I had rosacea.
Dictionary.com defines rosacea as “a chronic form of acne affecting the nose, forehead, and cheeks, characterized by red pustular lesions.” To you and me, that translates to “zits.” But they aren’t zits in the regular sense. These breakouts don’t have anything to do with oily skin or dirt. They have everything to do with inflammation. So my little pre-soaped towelettes were actually aggravating the inflammation. They were not helping my skin at all.
That was about six years ago. I’ve done a lot of research and experimenting, and I’ve finally hit on the treatment that keeps my skin clear:
1. No foaming cleansers. Not any brand. The chemicals that are used to create the foam are too harsh, and they further inflame irritated skin. Dove makes a cream cleanser, as do Olay, Philosophy, and most major skin care lines. Cetaphil is another perfectly acceptable cream cleanser. Just check the label carefully to make sure the cleanser you select is non-foaming.
2. No toners of any kind. Doesn’t matter if they are alcohol-free. Do not use them. They are not for you.
3. Do not think that you need to use cleanser on your face every day. Most days, I just rinse off with water and use makeup remover. I only use cleanser about once a week. Remember, rosacea has nothing to do with dirt. If you can leave your face alone, you are better off!
4. I take one Omega 3-6-9 capsule daily. This is a pretty good anti-inflammatory. (Omega 3, by itself, doesn’t cut it. It needs to be the 3-6-9.) If I am a little broken out, I will also take L-lysine. You can get both of these at any pharmacy or most grocery stores. And if I’m a little broken out and have an event coming up, I’ll take an Alleve in the mornings for a couple of days. That, however is VERY occasional.
5. And here’s the Bam! I learned this from the People’s Pharmacy website. I use Milk of Magnesia on my face twice a day. Yes, you read that right. Just get the original MoM, shake it up and put a few drops on a cotton ball or pad, and pat it over the affected area. Leave it on until it dries. (This only takes a minute or two.) It will leave a white residue. Then put your regular moisturizer on top of the MoM. The residue will disappear under the moisturizer.
I got a small squirt bottle and transferred the MoM into that, because the mouth of the MoM bottle is pretty wide, and using a squirt bottle gives me better control. Also, make sure, when you shake that original bottle, that the lid is on tight. Otherwise, you will have MoM all over your bathroom!
The second morning after I started applying the MoM, I said to my mirror, “You have got to be kidding me.” I couldn’t believe something so simple and so cheap would work so well. But it does. I am 55 years old, and people regularly compliment me about my skin. The magnesium apparently has anti-inflammatory properties. The People’s Pharmacy site says it also works for acne, eczema and poison ivy. I will probably be trying that last one this summer. Sigh! But that’s another blog.
Here’s a link to my new book trailer: http://youtu.be/-kOpmGv217k