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You would never guess Cynthia Nixon, star of Sex and the City, was a rosacea sufferer. With symptoms aggressive enough to make her self-conscious and stressed her whole life, she was the perfect candidate to be spokesperson for the National Rosacea Society.
Cynthia conquered her rosacea by simplifying her beauty regimen and, most importantly, cutting out harsh cleansers and exfoliators.
“Having a simple, gentle regimen has changed my life around,” she said in 2013. “I never use anything that stings, and consistency is very important. So, for example, I always wash my face at night rather than morning”.
Her quest for simplicity also extends to makeup. “A lot of heavy foundation makes you look older.”
As an aging rosacea sufferer, I can relate to all of this. I’ve found that switching to gentle cleansers have been the single most important step that has allowed me to keep my rosacea under control. I’m very careful about makeup and wear very little, sticking to natural light cover up and concealers.
Here are some suggestions for a simple beauty regimen that won’t make you see red (perhaps we should call it the Cynthia Suite):
Cleanser: For a gentle cleanser, I prefer non-foaming with ingredients that are as natural as possible, avoiding AHAs or other exfoliants. Innarah Treatment Cleanser Daily Cleanser ($65) is a light but creamy cleanser that doesn’t dry out or inflame the skin. With Hydraheal water, coconut oil, snow algae and white tea extract, the cleanser hydrates the skin with anti-inflammatory ingredients. TIA member Maureen uses it as her go-to daily cleanser.
Anti-redness treatment: A daily dab of Medik8 Red Alert Solution ($60 in the shop) has become routine for me before applying my anti-aging serum. The super simple formula is deceptive because it is based on a leading edge ingredient called teprenone, which supposedly stabilizes telomeres, essential to cell life. As well as being a potentially effective anti-aging active, it's also said to mend broken veins and calm rosacea. It certainly does for me.
Anti-aging serum: One of the most rosacea-friendly serums I have come across is E'shee Clinical Esthetic Cellular Repair Serum ($179 in the shop). Indeed, I would go so far as to say it reduces rosacea. A little of this serum with growth factors goes a long way. The ingredient that I believe to be responsible for treating the redness and broken veins is the horse chestnut. The seeds contain a saponin called escin, which is supposed to strengthen veins and capillaries.
Sunscreen: Nothing can cause a rosacea flare up like a chemical sunscreen, and so I am on a perpetual quest to find an alternative to harmful chemical sunscreens and chalky minerals. Prana Natural Defense SPF 25 ($39 in the shop) is gentle and effective. And even better? It smells just like caramel!