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Exercise & Rosacea

With fellow Rosacea patient Cynthia Nixon, Dr. Doris Day and floor manager Iris Comune at the Rosacea Awareness satellite media tour

I have no idea where April went, but I’m getting this post up just in the nick of time as it’s the last day of Rosacea Awareness month.

According to the National Rosacea Society, more than 16 million Americans struggle with this common yet often undiagnosed skin condition. I’m one of them, and I recently learned award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon – who’s probably best known for her work as “Miranda” on my all-time favorite show, “Sex & the City” – is, too!

I was thrilled to work with Cynthia last week, along with Dr. Doris Day, as the producer for their satellite media tour aimed at helping people recognize the red flags for Rosacea.  (The two-hour tour and other outreach efforts were sponsored by Galderma Laboratories, L.P.)

So, what’s Rosacea? It’s a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that affects more women than men, often after the age of 30. Some signs and symptoms include:

  • Redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead.
  • Small visible blood vessels on the face.
  • Bumps or pimples on the face.
  • Watery or irritated eyes.

I started noticing many of the above-mentioned signs after my 35th birthday. Suffering from acne in my teens and 20s, I was convinced I was dealing with it yet again. So, I used my harsh scrubs, drying masks and strong topical creams to try to clear things up, only to find the redness and bumps getting worse. I finally got things under control once I saw a dermatologist who gave me a correct diagnosis and started me on a better skincare routine which includes gentle, irritant-free products and topical prescription creams.

Two lifesavers for my face have been Cetaphil’s gentle skin cleanser and facial lotion with SPF 15. I’m also constantly on the lookout for triggers. Unfortunately, they’re pretty much all the things I love  – red wine, sun exposure, spicy foods, hot showers (or baths) and here’s the kicker: EXERCISE!

Does this mean you shouldn’t exercise if you have Rosacea? Of course not! It just means you need to be hyper-aware of other triggers and work with a dermatologist to manage the condition. Here are some of Dr. Day’s fitness-friendly tips for Rosacea patients (they work for me!):

  • Warm up and cool down: These pre- and post-workout components will help avoid a sudden change in body temperature which can trigger a flare-up.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures: On super hot or cold days, consider running or exercising indoors to prevent flare-ups triggered by the sun, wind or cold.
  • Mix things up: On the days I focus solely on cardio, my Rosacea flare-ups tend to be worse than the days I take my Club Strength class, where I focus on resistance training moves for the whole body. If I know I have plans after my workout, I may save the hardcore cardio for a day when I’m  not trying to literally put my best face forward.
  • Don’t skimp on your skin care: Don’t put off washing your face with a gentle cleanser after a workout. Use the mild products recommended by your dermatologist and don’t skip doses of topical prescription treatments if that’s what you’re using to keep the condition under control.

Exercise has so many benefits for the body including your skin. If you suffer from Rosacea, or think you do, don’t waste another minute: get to a dermatologist and start getting things under control so you can continue your journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Friday Favorites

At the end of a particularly crazy work week, I thought I’d wrap things up on a light note. Along with questions ranging from how to calculate heart rates to how long do I spend on my abs,  people often ask me about the products I use. So, here’s a list of some of my favorite items that keep me feeling good whether I’m working out or not:

Shower Essentials: Since I take two showers a day (one to wake up, and one to clean up after my post-work workout), I use body wash instead of soap. It keeps my skin hydrated, and that’s especially important now as the temperatures drop and the heat comes up. I’m a big fan of the St. Ives line, which can be found at any drug store. To splurge, I’ll stock up on some of my favorites at Bath & Body Works. My top picks there are in the “Stress Relief ” line. There’s something about the smell of eucalyptus while standing in a hot shower that really helps me unwind after a long day.

Must-Have Moisturizer: Since passing the 35th birthday mark a couple of years ago, I admit I’m a sucker for anything that lists “skin firming” as a benefit on the packaging. Right now, I’m using and loving Aveeno’s “Positively Ageless Skin Firming Lotion.”

Face Faves: I suffered from acne in my teens and 20s. Now in my 30s, thanks to too much sun- worshipping, I have developed Rosacea. Every dermatologist who has treated me has recommended Cetaphil and I have used it for years. I wash my face twice a day with the “Gentle Skin Cleanser” and moisturize morning and night with the “Daily Facial Moisturizer,” which contains SPF 15.

Eye Cream: L’Oreal “Revitalift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream.” It’s a 24-hour “system” where you use one side of the tube in the morning to protect and the other side at night to repair.

Eye Makeup Remover: Almay “Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover Pads.”

Mane Management: As a blonde who amps up my look with highlights, I look for products that cut down on brassiness. Right now, I am using Aveda “Blue Malva” shampoo. I admit, I mix and match shampoo and conditioners as I use whatever keeps my hair moisturized and as frizz-free as possible. Right now, there’s a tube of L’Oreal’s “Everpure Sulfate-Free Moisture Conditioner” in my shower rack.

My Must-Have Hair Product: “Hard to Get” texturizing paste from TIGI Bed Head. It adds body and makes my layers move with that tousled look.

Workout Wear: On my body: Under Armour, Nike DRI-Fit or Champion C9. On my feet: New Balance cross trainers.

In My Gym Bag: Fiber One bars; tissues; hand sanitizer, clean socks, ear buds for my iPhone and snag-free ponytail holders.

Post-Workout Mocktail: Crystal Light pink lemonade and seltzer.

If you have some products that help you feel your best everyday, I’d love to hear about them! While diet and exercise are key components to our well-being, never underestimate the power a great-smelling body wash or pampering hand cream can have to help you have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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