Personal Skincare Experiences by Matthew Malin
As some of you know, I suffer from a variety of skin concerns including rosacea, eczema, seborrhea and fragrance allergies. I’ve been making frequent trips to the dermatologist’s office since my teens and have tried almost every cream, treatment, and Rx out there. What I’ve learned after a lot of trial and error: there is no permanent cure for my skin conditions. But I can find relief by using the right products and ingredients. This discovery actually inspired me and my partner, Andrew Goetz, to create MALIN+GOETZ. Our mission is simple: to make skincare easy and less complicated, and most importantly, to address irritated and sensitive skin needs.
It’s our goal at MALIN+GOETZ to offer you highly-effective daily use treatments that won’t irritate or exacerbate your skin, and complement your prescription skincare routine and procedures, if you’re seeking the care of a dermatologist.
While I’m not a medical professional, I’m often asked for advice by fans of our products about how I cope and care for my skin. So I’ve decided to share some of my personal experiences and research here with you in the hopes that they might bring you some relief and address your top questions. (Please note: We are not making medical suggestions or claims and suggest that you consult a dermatologist about any health issues you might have before making changes to your skincare routine, should you be concerned.)
What It Is: We know Rosacea as a chronic skin disorder related to blood circulation and characterized by dilation of capillaries, redness and occasionally pustules. Millions suffer. Rosacea is most common in people over the age of 30 and first appears as red cheeks and nose. All skin “types”, dry to oily, can be affected. Drier skin seems to be more common with noticeable flakiness. Many afflicted are sensitive and easily irritated.
What Causes It: The exact causes are unknown or unproven and heredity and ethnicity (of fair skin) are theories for origin. Self-perpetuating, triggers can include exercise, spicy foods, skin care products (yes!), sun exposure, alcohol, stress and temperature extremes.
What I’ve Learned: There is no cure and medications are specific to each person. It is often trial and error and customized to each individual as recommended by your dermatologist and what is suitable to your skin. Rosacea can recur as flare-ups even when managed. And, managing your triggers is important, while the right gentle skincare can be your best friend! Less is more, in my opinion. Topical and oral medications, as prescribed, are often recommended as ongoing treatment, even in remission or without a flare-up. This lessens recurrence. Laser treatments may help broken blood vessels and redness, in some cases. Seborrheic Dermatitis (see Seborrhea) may also afflict those with Rosacea, as it does me.
My Personal Triggers: All the usual suspects like weather changes (I have about four annual flare-ups), exercise (I am a runner), spicy foods, chocolate, red wine. If I run outdoors, it is with sunscreen and on cooler days, in the morning or at night and I limit myself to a piece of chocolate (EVERYDAY—who can give this up?) and one glass of red wine with dinner. I don’t deprive myself.
My Skincare Regime: My skin is dry, flaky and ultra sensitive. Nice, right? I have a lot of redness and I am easily irritated. The most important part of my routine is simply to keep my skin clean. I wash every morning and evening with our refreshing Grapefruit Face Cleanser—I find that this brings calm, clarity and evenness to my tone. The Rosacea is not gone, but tolerable.
Tip: our Grapefruit Face Cleanser works also as a make-up remover, eliminating another potentially irritating step or product.
My Personal Trick: I only wash with my hands and cool water, never a cloth or sponge. It is too irritating and creates skin flushing. I pat my skin dry with a cotton towel—never wipe or tug. More Personal Recommendations: We created our Jojoba Face Scrub for my dry skin. While “scrubbing” can often irritate, ours is gentle, hydrating, and helps with flakes. Gently massage once/week. Also, our Detox Face Mask is soothing and hydrating to help reduce redness and add clarity once/week. It won Allure Magazine’s Best Mask too!
I follow cleansing with our hydrating daily moisturizer, either Vitamin E Face Moisturizer or SPF 15 Face Moisturizer, depending on my needs. I’ve had luck avoiding heavy moisturizers and pore-clogging oils and sticking with our fatty acid-based botanical lotions, which absorb well and help clear the redness and itchiness.
Dry Skin Tip: When I need more hydration, I integrate our Replenishing Face Serum after washing and before applying my medication or moisturizer. It helps both to penetrate the skin better and add noticeable clarity to my ruddy skin.
Personal SPF Tip: Unlike a little “good” sun that can help clear my Seborrhea, I do not find the sun a friend of my Rosacea. I really avoid sun on my face and use SPF 15 Face Moisturizer, wear a hat and walk in the shade. It is true, ask Andrew Goetz.
My Medications: Check with your doctor about the medication that is best for you and your skin type. Ask questions. Many topicals can be quite drying, especially to an already dry and sensitive skin (eg. Metro Gel for me). Others are more moisturizing and less irritating (eg. Metro Cream or Noritate in my experience). Currently, I’m using Finacea lotion before moisturizing and after cleansing. My skin has acclimated to tolerate stronger medications for daily use but starting with a gentle topical has worked well for my personal condition. I have used various antibiotics as an initial, short term treatment for flare-ups and find that they upset my stomach (eg. Minocin, Oracea, Tetracyciline). They have helped with general inflammation in conjunction with on-going topical treatment.
Personal Tip: avoid using skincare products that burn, sting or irritate. Various ingredients are known irritants and we at (MALIN+GOETZ) avoids these and levels of actives or naturals that could irritate: alcohol, peppermint (or any active natural), colorants, AHA’s, astringents, perfumes, pore clogging oils and harsh exfoliators, to name a few. When in doubt, patch test an underarm area for irritation. Anyone can be allergic to anything…
What To Ask Your Derm About:
Topical Medication: One that is right for your personal skin type (see my experiences above).
Oral Antibiotic Therapy: When or if needed and the side effects like an upset stomach, diarrhea, sun sensitivity, allergic reactions , yeast infections, etc. It is generally recommended, as I know, to clear an initial flare-up and for short term use.
Laser or PDT (photo dynamic therapy): I am focusing on PDT since I have some personal experience. It is a medical procedure performed in the doctor’s office, which involves treating the skin with prescription medication Levulan followed by a laser blue light to kill bacteria under the surface and even out your skin-tone. It’s commonly used for acne but my New York City dermatologist, Dr. Soren White, believes it is helpful for rosacea, eczema and seborrhea on the face, back and chest. I’ve had four treatments over the last two years and have seen positive results.
PDT prices can range from $300-$3000 based on several factors (like the area treated, doctor, etc). When your dermatologist says the laser will feel like a rubber band snapping against your face, well, that does not do it justice. I manned-up for vanity, but, let me tell you, it hurts! Here’s what happened: An alcohol solution is applied to remove any makeup or oil (I bring my own Grapefruit Face Cleanser to wash my face) followed by a topical medication, Levulan, a photosensitizing agent and activated by the laser’s blue light. For me, it was left on for about 30 minutes before the laser. If you have dry skin, you are left REALLY dry before the treatment starts and well after.
The procedure inactivates bacteria, can unclog pores, exfoliate and decrease sebaceous gland production of oil. It can be an alternative to Accutane (which I took briefly for cystic acne as a teenager). It is also known to help improve wrinkles, pore size, skin texture, pigmentation, rosacea (yay), sun damage and possibly prevent the development of skin cancer.
Next, the dermatologist applies a cold gel before administering the laser (I think it is to buffer or prevent burning from the laser—as a man with facial hair, you can actually smell the hair burning. Nice.) If the freezing cold gel does not shock you into reality, the laser will make you feel more alive than anything. The procedure lasts for five minutes. For the next three days, my skin is dry and peels—a lot. The skin is sensitive. It is red and inflamed. It’s best to moisturize a lot and avoid any sun (per my doctor) during the recovery period. And, if you’re like me, you don’t really want anyone to see your face! But after three to five days, your skin begins to look really clear and refreshed—and in my case, it stays this way for several months.
For more information on skin conditions, please visit American Academy of Dermatology at http://www.aad.org/