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'I'm a 'skinfluencer' with perioral dermatitis and rosacea. Here's how I deal with flare-ups.'

For Mamamia.

I was diagnosed with both perioral dermatitis and rosacea in 2020, but a year on I have managed to get them under control with the help of medical advice and changing up my skincare routine.

Let me share with you how I manage my skin day-to-day and what I do during a flare up.

What is perioral dermatitis?

Perioral dermatitis is a skin condition where small red bumps present around the mouth, eyes, or nose, which itch and burn.

It’s most often caused by prescribed treatments like topical steroid creams that have been used incorrectly, cosmeceuticals, an inappropriate combination of skincare, over-exfoliation, makeup, and inhaled treatments (such as asthma medications).

For me, it was hormones and stress from having a newborn baby, over exfoliation, and wearing heavy makeup, because I didn’t know how to take care of my skin back then.

What is rosacea?

Rosacea on me presents as facial redness, flushed cheeks, broken blood vessels, and dry, rough texture around my nose.

I am a 31-year-old, fair-skinned woman and this skin condition is apparently extremely common for my age and Irish heritage. Because I was already at the dermatologist for my perioral dermatitis, he could immediately tell I had rosacea as well, so I was thankfully able to get tips to keep both under control.

How do you manage a flare-up?

I can now recognise the early symptoms of a perioral dermatitis or rosacea flare up. If my skin feels a bit sting-y or tight after cleansing or applying a new serum, or if my face feels hot and red, I back off straight away.

I go back to using no active ingredients, fragrances, or makeup. Instead, I just use a basic cleanser, light moisturiser, and mineral sunscreen. And if I am looking super red, I also add in a niacinamide and resveratrol serum because these are anti-inflammatory ingredients.

Here are some of the key products I use to manage a flare-up:

Knowing my skin and using these products at the earliest sign of impairing my skin barrier has helped me prevent any significant flare-ups in the last year.

To keep my skin happy I ensure I cleanse, hydrate and wear sunscreen every day. I use the gentlest of exfoliants and retinols a maximum of two to three times per week, and if I am testing new products, I introduce them one at a time so I don’t freak my skin out (hopefully!).

What are the best products for sensitive skin?

When I'm not experiencing a flare-up, I still like to keep my skincare routine quite sensitive-skin friendly.

Some products I'm currently loving for my dry and sensitive skin include:

Perioral dermatitis and rosacea are manageable conditions; however, they will be with me forever and can flare-up at unexpected moments.

I don’t have to take medications for these (although; I did take antibiotics for the perioral dermatitis for a short period in 2020), but I am able to manage them both through skincare.

You don’t need to purchase the same products as me if you have found some that already work for you. But if you are unsure where to start, these are products I truly believe in and also recommend to my fellow sensitive skin community on my Instagram: @amandascuteface.

Of course, please go and see your dermatologist or GP if your symptoms persist.

I hope you found these tips helpful!

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