Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rosacea - What, Why, How, and What to do about it?

I had two separate Debs ask questions about what can be done for skin affected by Rosacea so I decided to combine them into one article.

First a little background for anyone not really familiar with Rosacea.  Rosacea is a skin disease of the face.  It mostly affects the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead but it has also been known to cause burning and redness of the eyes and eyelids as well.  It is not dangerous or contagious, it is mainly embarrassing and uncomfortable for the person suffering from it.  Small acne like bumps are also a common occurrence, and in severe cases permanent knobby bumps on the cheeks and nose can develop.  

The causes of Rosacea are not quite clear but it is known that it is NOT caused by alcohol abuse.  Alcohol can trigger a flare up but it is not a cause in itself.  Rosacea does tend to affect fair skinned people and can run in families.  Rosacea often flares when something causes the blood vessels under the skin of the face to expand.   Common triggers can be stress, exercise, spicy foods, alcohol, heat, exposure to sun and wind, or going from one temperature extreme to another.  

So, that is what Rosacea is.  Now, what can you do about it?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Rosacea.   There are however various ways to deal with it and it is up to the individual to decide how aggressive they want to be in handling their symptoms.  

The easiest way to deal with Rosacea is to try to reduce the number of flare-ups you have.  To do this you want to learn what your triggers are.  I listed a few above but not everyone with Rosacea will react to all of them, and there may be triggers that I didn't list that affect you.  By paying attention to what triggers your flare-ups you can do your best to reduce your exposure to the triggers and hopefully reduce the number of flare-ups you experience.

The next thing you can do is use a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 every day.  Not only is simple sun exposure a common trigger, but the sun can also damage your skin making you more sensitive to other triggers of Rosacea.  It is important to make sure you continue to wear a sunscreen even in winter.  Sun exposure can be worse in winter than in summer because you not only have the uv rays coming down from the sun, but in areas that get snow you have the uv rays bouncing back up off the snow as well so you get uv exposure from two directions.

Third, be gentle with your skin.  Use cleansers, toners, and moisturizers developed for sensitive skin.  Anything that is to harsh could act as a trigger to another flare so never, ever use a gritty scrub on skin with Rosacea, they can be incredibly damaging to sensitive skin and can cause worse outbreaks than you would normally get.  Properly caring for your skin is going to be the best thing that you can do on your own for your Rosacea.  Sunscreen and proper cleaning, toning, and moisturizing will not only help reduce the duration of an outbreak but will help prevent outbreaks all together.  

Fourth, to reduce the appearance of the occasional flare wear makeup with a slightly green tint to it.  This goes back to grade school art class and the color wheel.  Rosacea gives a reddish hue to the skin so you are going to want to go to the opposite side of the color wheel for its complement which is green.  A greenish hued makeup is going to help neutralize the reddish tone to your skin.  One way to do this is to apply a green cover stick to your red areas (this works for just plain pimples too) and then apply your foundation as normal.  The advantage to this is that it is easy to do and relatively inexpensive.  The disadvantage is that it will only reduce, not eliminate the redness.  You can also look for  camouflage makeup which will completely cover the Rosacea instead of just reducing the appearance of it.  The advantage is obvious, the redness is totally gone.  The disadvantage is that the heavier makeup can be uncomfortably heavy for some people, its harder to apply at first (you will get the hang of it with practice), and it can be more expensive than the first option.  Doing a google search on makeup for Rosacea will give you lots of results for both options.

If you want something more drastic than makeup, proper skin care, and trigger avoidance can give you then it's time to go to a dermatologist.  A dermatologist may prescribe a course of antibiotics (topical or pills) or something like Accutane or Retin-A to treat your flare-ups.  In cases of advanced Rosacea the dermatologist may suggest something like dermabrasion or laser surgery.  None of these options are a cure but they are affective in improving the appearance of the skin and reducing flare-ups.

To make a long article short (to late I know :)), treat your skin gently.  If you suffer from Rosacea now be gentle to your skin.  If Rosacea runs in your family, be diligent about your skin care.  Do everything you can to keep it healthy, cleanse, tone, and moisturize every morning and evening, use sunscreen daily, and have regular facials.  Healthy skin is no guaranty you won't get Rosacea but it might delay the onset of Rosacea, plus if your skin is healthy the chances are your flare-ups will be fewer and of shorter duration than the flare-ups of someone who isn't as diligent about their skin care routine.  

Thank you for stopping by.  If you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to leave them.  I need your questions to keep this blog going.  You can leave your questions in the comment form or email them to me at  Thank you again!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Facials, how often should you get them, when should you not?

Lisa asks - How often should you have a facial?   Are there any reasons/situations not to have a facial?

How often you should get a facial is going to depend on what you are looking to get out of having a facial.  If you have skin in good shape and are just going for the occasional deep cleaning and relaxation a facial can offer then every 4-6 weeks is a fairly standard schedule.  

If you have severe acne and are looking for help in clearing it up then your skin care professional will likely recommend coming in once a week for a period of time until the problem is resolved.  Then you would want to continue on a 4-6 week cycle for maintenance.

If you are going for a series of enzymatic peels then the schedule will depend on the type of peel you get.  Every day for a week, every three days for 6 sessions, and every week for 6 weeks are all common schedules but there are many brands of peel out there so if you go for a series of peels do not be surprised if they quote you a different schedule.  With peels though, if you want to see optimum results, it is very important that you stick to the schedule you are quoted as closely as possible.

On to the second part of Lisa's question.  When should you not get a facial?

Anytime you have an outbreak of something contagious on  your face such as a herpes outbreak, you should not get a facial.  Not only can you pass it on to your skin care professional which is just rude, the act of getting a facial can actually spread the outbreak to other parts of your face which are not affected.  You should also not get a facial if you have a noncontagious rash such as eczema or psoriasis on your face.  While you can't give it to someone else, the facial could still cause the rash to spread which will be very unpleasant for you.

If you are under the care of a dermatologist be sure to ask them about whether or not getting a facial would be ok.  Depending on what types of products a dermatologist is having you use a facial may or may not help, and in certain cases may hinder the doctors treatment of your condition.

If you have a sunburn, very sensitive skin, or rosacea a gentle facial would be fine but you would want to stay away from a facial that include an enzymatic peel, heavy exfoliation, and possibly steam.

Most of the time however, getting a facial is going to be a fine, relaxing, and educational experience.   Your skin care professional will be able to look at your skin and choose the products that will be best for it.  Feel free to ask them why they chose the products they did, we love to talk skin and will be more than happy to explain what we are doing and why.

Thank you for stopping by my blog.  If you have a question you would like me to answer please feel free to ask it via a comment or email me at   

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Thank you for checking out my new blog.  This is a very exciting journey for me and I hope that you will come back often and let me know what you think.

Why am I writing this blog?  I work as an Aesthetician at Oasis Creations Salon and Spa in Watertown, WI.  I do facials, makeup, body wraps, and body waxing.  Whenever I am with a client I encourage them to ask any questions they may have at any time during their session.  I tell them that it is very important that they know as much as possible about their skin so that they can take proper care of it and I also reassure them that no question is too odd.  Despite that, my clients don't tend to ask a lot of questions.

I think I know why this is.  People don't like to admit that they don't think about their skin care.  When someone is on my table getting a facial they are very vulnerable and that makes it even more intimidating to ask a question they may feel is a basic one that they should already know the answer to.  So I was thinking about the problem and decided that the computer was my friend.  Here on a faceless blog people can ask any question they want and because they don't have to use their real name no one will know who they are when they ask their question.

So here is my blog for you to ask all your questions anonymously if you want.  You can leave the questions as comments or email them to me at    Please do not ask me questions about personal medical problems, don't send me pictures of oozing black lumps and ask what I think.  I am not a doctor, I do not play one on TV, and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.  Specific medical issues will all be answered with the same response "Get thee to a doctor!"  

So, who am I?  Why am I here and why do I feel capable of answering your questions?  

First things first, my name is Heather Hertziger, and I am obsessed with bringing beauty into the world one person at a time.  I believe that beautiful, healthy skin is the most attractive physical asset a person can have.  Healthy skin on the outside is also an indication of health on the inside, and I want to do my best to promote inner and outer health in any way I can.

I am an Aveda trained Aesthetician, licensed in the state of Wisconsin.  I don't pretend to know it all but I am an excellent researcher and no bs artist.  If I have to research something to answer a question I will give you my sources so you can read it for yourself.  If I don't know something and can't find an answer you will know that too.  

On a more personal note, I am also a self-representing artist.  I design jewelry, make beads out of glass, polymer clay, metal clay and use them and other materials in my jewelry.  I am also an oil painter and love to find new ways to combine my glass and my paints.  If you want to learn more about me and see some of my work go to the Heather's Personal Links section.  My nonspecific, whatever the heck I feel like babbling about blog is called Heather's Ramblings.  My jewelry website is Square One Beads, and the rest of the links are places where I sell my work as well.

So, now you know a bit about me, how can I help you?  This blog will only work if I have questions from you to answer.  I will try to answer questions at least once a week, if volume demands I can make it at least twice a week.  So go ahead, ask me any questions you may have.  And if you are a skin care producer and would like me to test out your product and give it an honest review (meaning if I say I don't like it you won't sue me) email me at and we can work something out.

Thanks, and I hope to hear from you all soon!