There are more than 50 million Americans with sensitive skin and I am one of them. It has been fun to do before and after pix that show quick and easy beauty benefits. But when I had to deal with a never ending series of red splotches that seemed to be hard to diagnose and resistant to every treatment, fun was the last word I would use.
The red splotches which appeared this winter, were first diagnosed as rosacea– but did not respond seem to standard treatments. Then the docs thought it was seborrheic dermatitis, a scaly red breakout that often appears around the mouth and chin– but that too did not respond to traditional treatments. I could cover the redness with concealer, but the raw itchy feeling kept reminding me what lay underneath the make-up.
Finally after about eight months of red spots and patches, a visit to Dr Lefkovits came up with a diagnosis and treatment plan that brought my skin under control in ten days. Turns out that my redness had features of both rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis. This meant that I needed a hybrid treatment plan.
First Dr Lefkovits ( aka The Magician of Park Avenue) treated my skin with diamond tip microdermabrasion and a medium strength glycolic peel. This was designed to take off the oil packed skin cells that were driving the irritation. Then I went home with a bottle of his “Anti-Redness Cleanser” and a handful of prescriptions for antibiotics and Vitone, a mild steroid and anti-microbial gel.
My redness, broken blood vessels and tiny whiteheads were characteristic of rosacea– but the pattern of eruption around the mouth was typical of a type of seborrheic dermatitis called perioricular dermatitis. Often called neurodermatitis, is is frequently triggered by stress. (Just around the time the outbreak started, my once indomnitable 96 year old mother had a series of serious falls and hospitalizations. If you are responsible for an aging parent, you know what a difficult journey that can be)
Stress triggers the release of adrenalin which provokes the oil glands into overdrive. This oil leads to the overgrowth of bacteria or yeast that produces redness and whiteheads. It often occurs after age 50 and is sort of an “elder acne”. Creams and lotions both in treatment products and make-up can make seborrheic derrmatitis worse so for the time being I had to rethink my whole skin care routinue. I had to eliminate most products except Anti -Redness Cleanser and Vitone gel
Sun exposure is one of the biggest rosacea triggers but all my favorite sunscreens seemed to provoke more redness so I switched to mineral foundation and blush. These products have a 20SPF, but do not provoke irritation. Its a low SPF but super easy to reapply during the day.
I also followed some additional rosacea guidelines which included giving up coffee, chocolate, spicy foods and alcohol. I took cooler showers and even took a break from Retin A and vitamin C serums. In the morning I used the Anti-Redness Cleaner ( which turned out to be a miracle foam) while at night I used the Clarisonic or the DDF for microdermabrasion. Several times a week I used a mild glycolic peel. If redness seemed to be brewing I applied a dab of the steroid/antimicrobial gel It sounds pretty aggressive for a 50 plus skin, but it certainly delivered.
And here are the results: When I saw how gross my befores looked I cringed at the thought of posting them. But my core belief behind No-Nonsense Beauty Blog is that there are physical changes behind what we consider beauty issues– and that we need to make a clean, clear diagnosis to select the very best care approach.
FYI I purchased all the products mentioned in this post