When Skin Goes Wrong – Rosacea

Most of the visible skin inflammation out there occurs from products. Bad choices or over-application of topicals are the two leading factors. In other words, the damage is self-inflicted. It is surprising how many do not want to confront that and continue to look and feel bad. One reason we hesitate is that nonstop industry promotions to apply more and more (twice daily!) has its effects on us. It sounds like normal.

Look in the mirror. That’s reality and it shouldn’t be normal to live with inflammation. Coverage with makeup to achieve our best digital image is a great way to end up with rosacea and much worse.

But, there is another joker in this rosacea/unstable skin deck and that is orally dosed medications. Pharmaceutical company video advertisements are often unintentionally hilarious in their rapid speech descriptions of outrageous side effects. An addicted friend likes to imagine the jovial drug takers depicted in these videos maintaining their joyful celebrations while in existential communion with the nearest ceramic god.

Fully half of the US male population over the age of fifty takes statin drugs. They are not joyful and their skin is drab, sallow and over-aged. Drugs are integral to the life of most of us in the US. This has skin side effects.

Birth control, psychological drugs for depression, anxiety and mood swings as well as somatic drugs for menopausal symptoms – the list of endocrine related drugs and prescribed drug cocktails is endless in variety and almost all have undesirable, unpredictable and unstable side effects to the skin. The end user population for these drugs in the US has grown exponentially across all age groups.

You may be one of these less than enthusiastic consumers who have wrestled with the pros and cons of these drugs. Generally speaking, drugs require constant dosage adjustments without which occurs more skin instability, especially on the face, but often not limited there.

In the area of psychological support, there is an increase in the use of essential oils as an alternative to the Big Pharma approach. However, alluring fragrances per se are not so skin friendly, especially during allergy season when pollen is extant. A whiff of an after shave or crafted fragrance may set off a sneezing jag and a blotchy, itchy face.

Recently a good deal of research has taken place to pinpoint essential oils that help to overcome temporary anxiety, mood swings and other emotional bring downs. Using biofeedback devices these scents rarely have a skin side effect and have proven demonstrably to be as effective as the usual prescription suspects. Those with weaker immune systems may be helped or hurt by this approach. The good news is that there is no waiting to find out. Side effects of essential oils will manifest quickly. If you choose this route, allow time (like a week at least) between test candidates. Be aware that what worked for awhile may soon become a bad actor for your skin.

Many natural products taken as orally dosed supplements have serious side effects on the skin. These negatives may, like prescription drugs, take time to develop and because of that the source of the skin problem goes unrecognized. You may find yourself switching through moisturizers, cleansers and actives in a vain attempt to get a handle on visibly unstable skin: dry, often pink to red or blotchy with darker skin tones, sometimes itchy, and overall, unpredictable all from a natural supplement.

The source of instability from a dietary choice can be determined by discontinuing, one at a time, supplements or specific foods. It will take several weeks to months to know if you are on the right track. This process cannot be hurried.

The skin reflects internal activity for better or worse. Digestive problems often manifest on the skin in the form of breakouts. There is a connection between gut, brain and skin that is not well understood, but it is definitive that the microbiome has a leading role to play in skin stability. Anyone with a combination of gut and emotional difficulties should consider treating the gut first. Those who practice a predominantly or exclusive vegan diet appear to have greater gut / skin susceptibility per capita.

Be aware, not paranoid. There is no connection between uptake of dairy with breakouts and unstable skin, by the way. That is an urban myth that needs to go away. Over a million teen agers in Finland were drawn into a very protracted study on just this topic and the result was zero connection. Zero.

In fact, sourcing the root cause of a visible skin problem (instability or “rosacea” in this discussion) can be very frustrating and the influences described here are obviously a diagnostic merry-go-round. More on this in a minute.

For many the skin problem becomes something to endure, the side effect is the price to pay for a necessary drug. If so, consult your doctor about lowering the dose.

Perhaps the cause is a job in a less than desirable environment. Speaking of which, restaurant workers experience a very high rate of rosacea, breakouts, and other forms of skin instability. The cause is airborne aerosols of fatty acids, aldehydes, polyphenols and ketones from cooking oils, spices and steaming veggies.

Or, a big bad rat for a boss.

Job or relationship caused emotional stress is indeed a source of unstable skin often leading to prescription or recreational drugs. Marijuana uptake is a factor in unstable skin as it robs the body of Vitamin C. Compensating with oral or topical Vitamin C, especially mega-dosing, will find a very rapid drop-off in the utility of that approach. Resorting to alcohol, especially wine or whiskey with their tannins, is a time-honored method to look like hell. Vodka and gin are more forgiving. For a short while. Spicy foods and fragrances can set off a spell of unstable skin which can be magnified during allergy season.

So what is a mother to do?

Rule out prescription drugs to treat this problem, oral or topical. Re-purposed anti-fungal drugs are not a successful option in the Dork’s experience. They can make matters worse, quickly. Cortico-steroid drugs (cortisone, etc) are a deal with the devil. Use only in extreme situations and for very short periods. These weaken the skin, prevent new cell development and suppress the immune system. Nature will not be happy and will let you know that.

Withdrawal from these steroidal drugs leads to a whole new problem, a rebound effect, in which the skin becomes very unstable, inflamed, drab, itchy – all the reasons you applied the drug in the first place. Most doctors will advise to apply these on a very temporary basis. Find another doctor if otherwise. A conscientious doctor is not a fan and deploys these weapons carefully, but she is helpless if her patients ignore the prescribed regimen. These patients have a most unpleasant ordeal in front of them from over-application.

A “shock” tactic medical estheticians occasionally use is to apply a strong salicylic peel – and this will sometimes chill out immediately an unstable skin. The approach will NOT work if you currently use acid exfoliation products (glycolic, lactic, salicylic, etc) and in fact could really do some harm. This is a roll of the dice. A 3% salicylic acid cleanser is available (and a 30% for the back bar) from 302 Skincare.

Call this shock approach a “definite maybe.” Preferred candidates are those who experience the problem because of orally dosed medications. Those of you who have the problem from the use of topicals will probably just create another week of frustration by using this one-time method.

You would want to follow with REVIVE (also at 302 Skincare), allowing a few days to go by before doing so.

The Skin Dork prefers a more metabolic approach to resolve this unstable skin problem once and for all. With this in mind, the first thing to do topically is (drum roll) nothing. Nada. Zip.

Eliminate all topicals, for a week. No makeup especially. Wash only with tepid water. Your skin may go bananas from topical product withdrawal (it probably will). Most skincare products are addictive and withdrawal from them is exciting if you like that sort of wild elevator ride drama.

Of course to stop cold turkey seems very counter intuitive and is difficult for most self-conscious but rational people who use makeup to conceal the underlying problem. If you have the willpower, it is the smart move to discontinue your topical regimen in one fell swoop. Let your skin be what it is, on its own, free of influences. A week or so “going naked” is usually enough if not fun.

As your skin stabilizes, begin to apply REVIVE from 302 Skincare. Go to 302skincare.com and review product usage. Use it as a cleanser and a moisturizer. It will be a HUGE step forward to introduce this inexpensive product and put it in daily play.

You might also visit the 302 Skincare site and receive personal guidance and support by competent people who have years of experience. Few companies can even begin to offer this layer of personal help and instead try to push you onto a lot of computer suggested products that can get you right back into trouble.

Building skin resiliency and strength is the important step after the initial battle to gain stability is over. Done properly, carefully, step by step, you will look better than ever and save a lot of money and frustration. 302 Skincare can guide you in navigating away from unstable skin especially from orally dosed drugs. In time you will be your own best skin coach. Remember, visible skin problems may look a lot alike, but the causes and solutions are not.

Last point. Unstable skin treated poorly (abused) by topicals can easily lead to a full-blown dermatitis. Dermatitis is not merely annoying, it is dangerous and can lead to an agonizing ordeal even from water. Suicide rates from dermatitis are not trivial.

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