Face Stuff


I LOVE THIS STUFF: 1. caudalie makeup remover 2. caudalie moisturizing sorbet 3. nuxe face wash 4. nuxe dry oil 5. clarisonic mia and gentle brush head 6. shiseido eye cream 7. aubrey evening primrose oil 8. caudalie beauty elixir 9. aesop body balm

My skin has been changing so much over the last year and I’ve been really focused on honing in on the products that consistently serve me best. About 6 weeks ago, I had a very sudden, horrible and painful breakout. I don’t mean just a few zits–I mean to the degree that I barely looked like myself because of the swelling, bumps, welts and discoloration. It burned and itched. I couldn’t cover it up with out looking like a bumpy powdered doughnut and I was thankful to work from home because I didn’t want to leave the house–except to get to the dermatologist that I had to wait a week to be able to see.

I didn’t know what to do, so I just camped out and tried to sooth the burning and tried to remain as comfortable as possible with little remedies I was experimenting with. I found the most relief from my green tea recipe and the Clinique Redness Solutions Kit. I steeped and then chilled batches of STRONG green tea–3 bags to a 14oz cup of water. After chilling in a mason jar in the fridge for a while, I would dunk cotton rounds in the concoction and then lay the soaked pads all over my face. I looked insane, but it felt so good. Then I would put a thick layer of the Clinique Solutions cream all over my face and hope for the best.

Once I finally got in to the dermatologist, I was diagnosed with rosacea and put on high doses of antibiotics for a month to stop the madness happening all over my face. I was glad to know what was going on, but so bummed out to find out that there isn’t really much they can do. I’ve always been one of those jerks who barely even had zits in high school, so this is all pretty new territory for me. Acne as an adult is just infuriating to anyone though, right?!? Plus, I don’t love taking medication and the disconnect between Western medicine and holistic care is still as ever apparent, baffling and frustrating as it ever was.

My skin is much much much improved–almost normal now. I’m still figuring out what my rosacea triggers are–which is confusing because they don’t seem to pop up much since the initial breakout. I’ve also been playing with products old and new to see what plays nice with my skin. The above things are what I’ve been using most often. I know not everyone’s skin is the same, but these are all lovely whether you have problematic skin or not.

WASH: To wash my face I’ve been removing my makeup (I’ll do a makeup roundup soon) with Caudalie Cleansing Water and then washing my face with lukewarm water and Rêve de Miel Face and Body Ultra-Rich Cleansing Gel by Nuxe. It’s spendy, but it lasts a very long time. Plus, it doubles as a nice shower gel. Once a week I use my Clarisonic Mia with the extra gentle brush head to slough off the dead skin.

MOISTURIZE: Most days I heat up a few drops of Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse dry oil between my palms and then gently pat it into my skin. Some days I prefer to use something creamier and I’ll use Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet. Before bed, after I wash my face well, I’ve been putting a couple drops of Aubrey Evening Primrose Oil in my palm with warm water and then splashing this on my face to soak in overnight. I got a sample of the Shiseido Bio-Performance Super Corrective Eye Cream and I love it! It’s great for tired, crepe-y eyes. I’ll definitely be investing in a full-size tube.

MORE MOISTURE: I love the Caudalie Beauty Elixir spray–it smells AMAZING and feels nice to mist over your face when you want to perk up. There’s a purse-sized bottle that is handy to carry around and they have a large bottle for home. Having good luck with Aesop, I just picked up a tube of Aesop Rejuvenate Intensive Body Balm because I noticed that my décolletage was in urgent need of moisture and I loved the scent. It feels so good to make a conscious decision to stop neglecting these areas of my skin.

I would love to hear remedies, rituals and products that you love, too! I know this is a bit long-winded, but I thought it might help–even if it’s just a few people out there. Plus, it’s just good to get it off my chest–it’s been a lonely feeling carrying it around with me. xo Jen

P.S. If you’re in Portland, Nationale carries the amazing Nuxe dry oil and a couple more products from the Nuxe line. Alder & Co. carries a bunch things from the Aesop line–where I got my Aesop Rejuvenate Intensive Body Balm.

19 Responses to “Face Stuff”
  1. sheila says:

    Hi Jen, thanks for all this info, I’m hopeless when it comes to this kind of thing and never know where to turn. Glad you’re doing better, my mom went through this as well, so frustrating! All I know about is to use witch hazel/tea tree oil for blemishes and I moisturize my face hands and elbows every day (extra-strength Vaseline intensive rescue unfragranced, I like this cream because it absorbs right away, isn’t slippery and is good for sensitive skin). I don’t wear a lot of make-up (moisturizer, powder then MAC lipstick and eye pencil, sometimes shadow). I use Oil of Olay cleansing cloths (sensitive skin) to remove it. I wouldn’t know how to use foundation or make-up properly to save my life, so my face routine is pretty basic. I’m sure I could definitely start using some eye cream though.

  2. Nina says:

    I LOVE CAUDALIE! I have worked in the cosmetics industry for years and have tried EVEYTHING. I have the most fickle, dry, mad, red skin and Caudalie is the only thing that keeps it happy. AND it’s such a great company and the creators are amazing! If you have rosacea almost anything from Caudalie is a sure bet!

  3. Amy says:

    I have had a lot of luck with One Love Organics and Josie Maran’s line of moisturizers and oils.

  4. Jessica says:

    I feel your pain! I was diagnosed with rosacea a few years ago and it really threw me for a loop. If you haven’t yet, you have to try the honey, cinnamon, nutmeg mask. Wait until your skin is feling healed from your outbreak, then mix a tablespoon of good quality, unpasteurized honey (the more local to your region the better), with one teaspoon cinnamon, one teaspoon nutmeg. Cover your skin, wait at least half an hour, then use warm water to remove. It exfoliates as you wash it off as a bonus. Make sure you moisturize well after, the honey can be a little drying. Natural antibiotics and anti-inflammatories are your friends! I do this once or twice a week and I swear by it.

  5. maggie says:

    I feel like I need to bite the bullet and invest in a Clarisonic..everyone RAVES about it.

  6. Kasey says:

    Great picks! I’ve been wanting to try Aesop products. Have you tried Pai Skincare? Their Camellia & Rose Cleanser is awesome! It’s hydrating, moisturizing and super gentle. I use it for removing makeup too. Pai’s Rosehip Oil is amazing too, smells wonderful, moisturizes & brightens skin and reduces dark spots.

  7. Netts says:

    What does the dry oil do? I’m very intrigued and a friend was raving about it recently as well but I’m a bit weary of slathering oil on my acne-prone face.

  8. Lynne says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your skin troubles! If you’re not already doing so, I would definitely recommend you take probiotics to help keep your system in balance with the introduction of strong antibiotics. A few years ago, antibiotics taken to clear my skin TOTALLY created havoc with my body and my digestive system has never been the same. Good Belly juice and a probiotic supplement saved my bacon. Allegedly, probiotics can help with your skin as well. Good luck and be well!

  9. Kat says:

    I don’t have rosacea but I have always had problematic skin. I love the Nuxe oil. I was introduced to it by the She Lets Her Hair Down blog and I swear by it now. I put a few drops in my hair and comb it through before braiding it before going to bed and it helps keep the hair at the nape of my neck from turning into one big tangle.

    I started seeing a new esthetician down here in the Bay Area (Neptune Skincare) and she uses a line called Rhonda Allison. She actually makes a product called Rosacea Serum that I was using when I first started seeing her because I have very sensitive, problematic skin (not a good combo)! It totally helped with redness, and after using it for four months I noticed a huge difference. I also use her Amino Peptide Moisturizer, a retinol product of hers, the Brightening Cleanser and her Pumice Scrub. I love them all! The Pumice Scrub is life changing – I’ve always loved scrubs but they just left my skin feeling really raw. The Pumice Scrub has great grit but is still gentle, and all you need to do is lightly massage it over your skin to get it to do its job!

    Hope everything calms down for your face! I know skin issues can be terrible – I have totally been in the position and wanting to hide out.

  10. Savannah says:

    Adult acne is the worst. I’ve had acne since I was a teenager and I’ve tried just about everything; the only thing that helped was a topical antibiotic. It was like night and day in about a week. I had beautiful skin and my self-esteem rose.

    I know that there’s a lot of flack for Western medication, especially being a Portland girl with a mother that used to work for a naturopathic doctor to boot, but after a decade of trying *everything* – from Clinique to natural remedies with honey masks and sulfur soaps and more EFAs – the thing that works best for my skin is clindamycin. Bam. Full. Stop.

  11. shanalee says:

    i’ve had rosacea since i was 19 – half my life. oy. i have tried so many different things and have spent more than my fair share crying and hiding from the world. i haven’t had a terrible flare up in a long time and moving to portland seems to have been good for my skin. i could write a novel for you about everything i’ve tried – fancy products, traditional prescriptions and homeopathic remedies. right now i use proactiv cleanser, josie maran argan oil and kiehl’s cryste marine eye cream and drink lots of water and green juice. spicy foods, hot liquids and some alcohols are my triggers. also, stress doesn’t help. i still feel like i’m writing a novel here… anyway, i feel you. acutely. pardon me but… fucking rosacea. ugh.

  12. Sadie says:

    I love this post. I second the Caudalie and Nuxe oil and am curious about the cleanser/whip products. The Caudalie serum is quite lovely, if you haven’t tried it.
    Right now, my reddish and occasionally breakout-prone skin is happy with African Black Shea soap, Pangea Argan Willow Rosemary moisturizer and the occasional use of REN Lactic Radiance Renewal mask, with Omega 3 supplements and lots of water. Good old jojoba oil for dry spots overnight and removing eye makeup and Mario Badescu drying cream on the occasional spot.

  13. brenda says:

    I don’t have rosacea but empathize with you. It must have been scary if you’ve never had issues before with your skin. I’ve always had to cover this and cover that and it’s not a lot of fun. I’ve been trying out natural products this past year and really liking them. I keep raw honey that’s gotten granular beside my tub and use it to wash/exfoliate my face almost daily – also been using coconut oil as a moisturizer and a face wash (just heat a facecloth and hold it on face for a few seconds while it opens your pores, maybe do this twice) then moisturize with it afterwards. I even washed my hair with honey. I’m trying to give my face and skin a break after all these years of using products with so many chemicals. I also got a clarisonic and use it at lease once a day. I think my skin has improved immensely this year.

  14. Shell says:

    Ugh, I have the same problem, As I read the first couple of paragraphs, I was like, “rosacea”!! You poor thing, I know how painful and embarrassing it can be. The one thing that will ALWAYS trigger mine is red wine. Even Sangria. Even Rosé sometimes. I just need to avoid it. My dermatologist said I had to avoid all alcohol, spicy food and food that is high in temperature, and the only exercise I should do is swimming (not too hot).

    Let’s just say I said ‘no way!’ I cannot go without my spicy food and I love a good run, but the red wine is the one thing that really sets me off. The other things do so to a milder degree, so if I’m having a bad skin day, I know I shouldn’t tuck into beer and burritos :)

    I use Aesop products which do the trick for me, but I do tend to switch it up as my skin likes a change every now and again. I’ll definitely check out some of the products you’ve mentioned too. After a few years of taking oral medication (some kind of weak antibiotics), my skin is mostly problem free, so while there is no cure, once you find a solution and get it calmed down, it’s fairly easy to maintain. Good luck

  15. allison b-t says:

    i also had flawless, zit-free skin throughout high school and then bam! at 19, acne hit me hard. sixteen years later and i still struggle with it. it’s better than it ever has been though and i owe it all to my naturopath.
    i highly suggest seeing one as they can help you determine what causes flare ups and can suggest other remedies for when it does happen. i saw dermatologists and allopaths for years and years and all they ever did was give me anti-biotics which barely helped and in the end, messed me up pretty bad. enter my naturopath, she helped me undo the anti-biotic damage, figure out what was causing a lot of my inflammation issues and got my skin to calm down drastically.

  16. Honora says:

    My best girl told me about the Clarisonic. Now, I would not be without it. You should use it everyday! At first the impurities will pop up like baby acne, and then after a week or so of using it you will be flawless. There are different heads that you can get. I use the sensitive skin one. Just be certain to clean your brush after each use. It truly does clean you out and allows your products to work better. I never had any skin issues until the last few years. As others have said here, I only use all natural products on my face. I am going to look into Aesop products.The balm sounds dreamy.

  17. Ariel says:

    I too had lovely smooth skin as a teen and am now plagued by intermittent adult acne in my twenties. My skin is as pale as it gets, and sensitive. I grew up in the Bay Area so I wonder how much of a factor the blissfully temperate climate there was. Last winter I was still living in Chicago and experienced the worst, most dry, irritated skin of my life. There were these angry, rough scaly patches by my nose and chin that would not budge. I eschew toxics, endocrine disruptors, and petrochemicals rather than Western medicine, but I did not have health insurance at the time so a proper dermatologist was out of the question. I did find a couple of affordable petroleum jelly free products that soothed my inflamed face a little: No Xema (I forget the brand but it’s made in Wisconsin and they carry it at Whole Foods) and the Borage Buttercream by Wild Carrot Naturals. Now that I live in Seattle I still love those products for night but no longer need to reapply them six times a day. For gentle daily exfoliation and toning I love love LOVE the Cleansing Grains and Facial Tonic by Marble & Milkweed. I also just started using Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer. Too soon to know if I’ll get results, but I’d heard great things.

    • Ariel says:

      I should note that the Kiehl’s has some ingredients that I’m not crazy about, but I am turning a blind eye so long as it brings down the redness…

  18. Jen says:

    Just wanted to share this link I found regarding Rosacea treatment: http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2010/12/20/epsom-salts-offer-unique-remedy-for-rosacea/

    I’m having a flair and can’t seem to figure out what’s causing it (since I’m eating pretty clean) so I might try the epsom salt, or at least remember to take my cal-mag supplement.

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