As a kid, I always had rosy cheeks. Even as a baby, my cheeks had a pink flush — something I noticed when my mom sent me baby photos recently.
It was cute until about junior high, when I realized I blushed really easily. It wasn’t just when I was embarrassed. It was a reaction to any sort of emotion: happy, scared, nervous, or embarrassed. Even putting my hand up to say something in class caused my face to flush.
People would ask me, “Why are you so red?” But that only made it worse. Doing any sort of physical activity turned my naturally pink cheeks into a full-face tomato red. This redness would take up to an hour to fully subside. You can imagine how uncomfortable and inconvenient that can be in junior high!
By high school, I started researching my skin symptoms and came across a scary-sounding word: rosacea.
And once I had a name for my ailment, I became obsessed with looking for a cure.
As I started looking for a cure for rosacea, I very quickly realized that there isn’t one. There’s no one-stop solution to this chronic condition.
Sure, you can do things to manage the symptoms, but one thing became clear: I wasn’t going to get rid of it easily.
For a variety of reasons, it can be tricky to see a dermatologist in my area. I got on a waiting list but I was told that rosacea is classified as a “minor” condition, and it might be years before I could see a specialist.
Naturally, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
If you look up “managing rosacea symptoms” you’ll find numerous resources that discuss food and lifestyle tips for people living with rosacea. For example, tips include things like avoiding certain climates, avoiding spicy food and alcohol, limiting sun exposure — and the list goes on.
The good news is that rosacea triggers are different for everyone. That means what causes a flare-up in some people might be totally fine for you.
Through trial and error, I discovered that a glass of wine is usually fine. I’m also fine going to the beach, though I need to be diligent with my sunscreen. However, any sort of physical exertion in the heat will cause my skin to flush.
Unfortunately, even with these food and lifestyle tips, I found my skin very sensitive to other things like skincare products and makeup. One summer, I decided to dive into the world of skincare products to see if I could find a skincare routine that would calm my rosacea instead of making it worse.
For me, living with rosacea means that when it comes to skincare, less is always more. The less I touch my face, the better.
Fewer ingredients, fewer steps, and fewer products — keeping my skincare routine simple and gentle makes a big difference.
I’ve found that a mild gel cleanser and ultra-soft face cloth works the best to remove makeup without irritating my skin. Then, I use a gentle toner, followed by a hydrating moisturizer or serum. I aim to use natural and organic brands with gentler ingredients, and I look for brands that are “gentle” or for “sensitive skin” specifically.
Once a week I use an enzyme exfoliator. This exfoliates my skin gently, so that I don’t have to scrub at it to physically remove the dead skin cells.
With makeup, I have to keep it minimal. I use a sponge to apply my foundation and I always use products with sun protection.
With a good skincare routine in my life, my rosacea calmed down immensely. However, with any sort of exercise, as well as hot temperatures and spicy food, my skin would still flare up, get red, and feel very hot.
My extensive internet research on “cures” for rosacea eventually lead me to laser treatments.
I found a clinic in my area that specializes in rosacea, had a consultation, and underwent laser treatments for about 4 months. I can’t say enough good things about the treatments.
My laser treatments helped with the natural rosiness of my cheeks so much. It also limited the super red appearance and hot feeling I would get after working out or being outdoors in the heat.
The American Academy of Dermatology reports that more research is needed before we can know how effective lasers really are for treating rosacea. They note most patients see a 20 percent reduction in redness and a 50 to 75 percent reduction in visible blood vessels.
For me personally, laser treatments were incredibly helpful. If I can recommend one thing to anyone with rosacea, it would be to get a consultation at a laser clinic. It’s pricey, but for me, it was worth it.
Like so many things in life, rosacea management and treatment is different for everyone. What worked for me — and what didn’t work for me — might be the completely opposite for you.
It’s super important to seek help from a professional. I also recommending doing your own research, too, so that you can make informed decisions for yourself.
I know the feeling of wanting to hide away under layers of makeup so that no one can see your face. Don’t forget: You’re perfect just as you are. Make sure you don’t let rosacea stop you from living your life.
Olivia Biermann (aka Liv B) is a 24 year-old vegan food and lifestyle YouTuber living in Nova Scotia, Canada. She started her YouTube channel, Liv B, to show people how easy and delicious vegan food can be. Every week she shares recipes, videos, and lifestyle tips with her audience of more than 750,000 people across Instagram, YouTube, and her blog. Her passions include delicious food, wellness, natural beauty, and leading a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.