So, last time I posted, March?!, my face was all sorts of jacked up. I vowed to fix it and planned to keep track of what worked and didn't work. Except, nothing worked. Every single thing -- no matter how highly rated, how expensive, how natural, or how dermatologist-recommended -- irritated my face. I finally did what I should have done years ago and got professional help. I left that first dermatologist visit with a diagnosis of rosacea, a prescription for metronidazole topical cream, and a warning that I needed to start wearing sunblock every single day no matter what.
After that, immediately, I did the following:
Went back to basics. I used only the skincare products I already knew worked: Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash (lukewarm water, no washcloth), the prescription cream, and CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM (only when needed). No more experimenting.
Used sunscreen daily. My dermatologist said sun exposure is the number 1 trigger for rosacea. I've tried many sunscreens over the years, and zinc oxide is the only sun protection that doen't irritate my face. (The two I like a lot are Cotz Sensitive SPF 40 and SmartStuff Natural Mineral Based for Face and Body SPF 30. Both contain 20% zinc oxide; both leave a white cast despite the claims. The Cotz has less of a white cast, the SmartStuff is all natural and reef safe. I use a ton of it, let it sink in and then apply makeup and that works on my fair skin.) I also started rocking a straw hat whenever I can, it's been in the 100s here in Texas and I figure my face needs all the help it can get hiding from the sun.
Refocused on my diet. I haven't eaten much dairy since 2011, but I started making a real effort to cut out every bit of it, along with all soy, sugar and non-whole grains. There are exceptions, of course, but they are definitely exceptions and not the norm. I already drank 4.5L of water daily, made sure to eat at least one fruit high in vitamin c every day (usually an orange or grapefruit), and the only meat I've eaten in the last 5 years is seafood. I'm also trying to remember to take vitamins, but still forget to take them more often than not.
And some, maybe all, of this helped. Within two months, my face was remarkably better. The dryness and the tiny bumps went away for the most part, and the redness lessened to some extent (except when I have a drink, take a hot bath, or eat a cough drop). I had some breakouts, but my dermatologist suggested switching to a metronidazole topical gel instead of a cream and I haven't broken out since.
This isn't to say that everything is perfect, I still need to figure out how to help prevent the effects of my skin's aging without irritating it, as well as deal with the effects of the years of untreated rosacea including broken capillaries and pigmentation, but at least I don't want to cry every time I look in the mirror. And once I got my face back on the right track I was even been able to add in a few extras - skincare products that wouldn't fall in the basic necessities but are nice to have. But that's a whole other story - to be continued.