Rosacea is one of the painful inflammatory skin conditions that affects many Celtic, Scandinavian, Scottish, Welsh and Eastern European skin types.
Over 415 million people may suffer from it, especially adults over 30.
What is rosacea?
It’s considered an indicator of a systemic low-grade inflammation, according to a Finnish study.
It usually affects the cheeks, forehead, nose and chin. There’s frequent flushing, persistent reddy hue or blotches, often acne-like spots or pimples, pain and dilated blood vessels (telangiectasia). Skin can itch and sting. If left untreated, the nose can swell and become bright red and bulbous.
There’s a genetic influence. A survey by the National Rosacea Society, found that 40 percent of rosacea clients had a relative with similar symptoms, with 33 percent had an Irish parent, and 27 percent had a English parent.
What is Celtic skin?
It’s not just fair skinned Irish and Scots, or English roses that have Celtic skin.
Nope. Celtic is a larger ethnic group, made up of tribes spread across Europe. From Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Brittany, Isle of Man, Cornwall in the west to Portugal, Iberia, Spanish Galica, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, Austria, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey.
Celtic people often suffer from ‘Curse of the Celts’ aka Rosacea.
Read this article to learn how to keep your skin cleaner, softer, better hydrated, and more supple, while eliminating dryness, itching, and redness!
Interesting facts about the Celts
Where did the Celts originate? Oh you thought Ireland or Scotland? Well, no.
The earliest known Celtic burial sites are in Hallstatt, Austria. The 1000 Celtic style burials there, date back to approx 1200 BC.
Ancient Celts were not ungroomed savages. They buried mirrors, combs and hair tools. Men were required to wash with soap before the evening meal.
Yes, they were using soap before the (smelly) Romans!
Celtic Skin and dermatologists
Dermatologists classify skin in 2 ways – through the Fitzpatrick and the Lancer ethnic scale.
Depending on the mixture of genes in your family history, your skin will react differently.
The Fitzpatrick scale
Developed in 1975, the Fitzpatrick scale measures your skin’s reaction to sun exposure.
It measures melanin pigment, eye and hair colour.
- Scandinavian, Nordic, North European – Very fair, phototype I
- North European, Celtic, Scottish, Irish – Fair, skin phototype II
- Southern European, American Indian – Medium, skin phototype III
- Mediterranean, Latino, Hispanic – Moderate brown or olive, skin phototype III and IV
- Asian, Middle Eastern – skin phototype V
Lancer Ethnicity Scale
The Lancer Ethnicity Scale measures your skin’s tendency to scar after surgery.
The darker your skin (melanin pigment), the more chance of hyperpigmentation.
Inflammation makes melanocytes hyperactive, which leads to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
It’s best to prevent melanocyte stimulation in the first place. Use products with kojic acid, mandelic acid, thioctic acid, niacinamide, ferulic acid, and arbutin.
Celtic Woman Skin Problems
Celtic skin is fairer, and has less melanin pigment to prevent it from sun damage.
It’s typically more sensitive to sun, wind and stress than darker hued skin types.
Celtic skin also shows the signs of ageing faster than the skin.
Why? Because it dries and thins earlier than other skin types.
This leads to earlier wrinkling and sagging than other ethnic groups.
Fair skin is also more susceptible to roughening and rosacea as it dries out.
The biggest issues for many Celtic woman are Rosacea and Dryness.
The good news is that you can take steps to delay your skin drying out (see section on moisturisers and hydrosols)
And you can change your daily habits (see tips and lifestyle section) to calm the low-grade inflammation in your body associated with rosacea.
If care is not taken, delicate Celtic skin will start showing these signs of ageing well before other skin types:
- Thinning of the skin layers (epidermis and dermis). Skin sensitivity increases up to 56% and 10% drier skin after age 20.
- Fine lines form on the face as skin thins. 1% of collagen is lost annually making skin less elastic.
- Weakening of skin vessels and functions, so skin dries out and looses more elasticity
- Skin roughens and appearance of age spots ( often called hyper pigmentation)
- Fine lines develop into wrinkles
- Celtic skin is also more prone to rosacea
What triggers Rosacea for Celtic Skin
Rosacea is common to Celtic, Scandanavian and Eastern European skin types. What starts out as a tendency to blush or flush easil, may progress to permanent redness with fine red lines and tiny pimples. Often called ‘adult acne’, rosacea flare-ups have many triggers:
- extreme temperatures in weather,
- sun exposure,
- emotional stress,
- spicy foods,
- hot drinks,
- hot showers,
- medical conditions and drugs,
- sensitivity to skin care ingredients.
Is Rosacea caused by skin mites?
Dermodex mites are invisible to the naked eye. They live on our skin’s natural lubricant, sebum.
20% to 80% of adults have these Demodex mites, but those with rosacea have 10x more.
Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, an Irish biologist in Ireland, suspects that it’s the bacteria that live inside Dermodex mites, that causes rosacea. But nobody knows for sure.
Celtic skin and Rosacea: what can you do?
So what can you do when you reach your mid 30’s and start noticing your skin isn’t all peaches and cream? It’s getting drier, more sensitive, even itchy and red?
You may have the ‘Curse of the Celts’ aka Rosacea, which tends to start at age 30.
And by age 40, you’ll notice earlier thinning and sagging that your darker skinned friends don’t have.
Read on to find to find out what you can do. For the redness, and the dryness.
Essential oils for rosacea
So you want to use essential oils on your skin? Be sure they are well diluted, they should never be used neat. (Except for applying lavender neat to burns)
Otherwise look for products that contain them, or if you insist on using essential oils, check your dilution with your aromatherapist. (If you do not have an aromatherapist, first join my newsletter and then email me your questions.)
What are the best essential oils for rosacea?
The essential oils listed below are are energetically cooling, or neutral. You do not want to add any heat to the skin.
- Helichrysum – aka Imortelle
- Chamomile, German and Roman
- Blue Tansy
Is tea tree bad for rosacea?
Did you notice I don’t add tea tree to the list? I stopped using it years ago when I found out that most of it arrives in the UK oxidised.
Some people use it against the mites. I have no experience in whether it helps or not.
It is often used for acneic skin and I would say it could be too harsh. Certainly it smells horrible like sweaty socks.
My suggestion would be to switch to Lavender, Rose or Rosemary.
Oils for rosacea
Here are my recommended carrier/base/ vegetable oils that help with rosacea:
- Argan oil- rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, soothing
- Calendula oil – safe even on children’s rosacea
- Tamanu oil (this is never used neat- too stinky and gloopy).
- Evening Primrose oil
- Jojoba (can be used as 100% of the base recipe)
- Sea buckthorn (use this by the drop as it’s bright orange and stains linen and clothes!)
- Rosehip seed oil
You can look for these gentle ingredients in your face cream, serum, creamy cleansers, facial tonics etc.
Hydrosols for rosacea
Hydrosols are another aromatherapy-based plant extract that you should consider in your skin care routine.
They are extremely gentle, and do not need to be diluted before use as the Essential Oils do. I’ve written more about hydrosols
Because rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition, hydrosols are excellent as they are anti-inflammatory.
This means that hydrosols address the swelling, heat, pain, and blotches by reducing inflammation.
They contain weak plant acids that help your skin’s acid mantle return to a healthy pH
Look for facial and bodycare products that contain:
- rosewater aka rose hydrosol
- lavender hydrosol
- frankincense hydrosol
- sandalwood hydrosol
- chamomile hydrosol
- helichrysum hydrosol
- geranium hydrosol
- carrot seed hydrosol
(You may want to read this article on moisturisers so that you are better prepared to read the labels. It’s really confusing and so many brands !)
Track your Rosacea triggers
That list of potential triggers is huge – feels overwhelming and can make you feel miserable, and missing out on the fun stuff. I mean, who does not love a soak in a hot bath or a glass of wine? So here’s what to do.
Find out which things on the list are YOUR triggers. Those are what you avoid. And if you skin starts flaring up, investigate other items on the list.
Because life is never fixed and done. Things that trigger you today, may not do so in 3 months time.
Sometimes it’s a combination eg stress plus alcohol plus dehydration plus junk foods.
So what you do is start a diary, making a note of any flare ups. Keep track of activities, situations, food and drink.
You’ll find cause and effect, or patterns.
Switch to natural moisturiser and face creams that hydrate your skin and restore that luscious bounce.
Celtic skin is less oily, so while this seems a virtue, once we hit 25, it starts looking drier, sooner.
And what’s worse, it’s even more sensitive.
Natural moisturisers can help your skin heal itself from loss of moisturise.
How to hydrate dry or sensitive Celtic skin with rosacea
Don’t worry… there are 3 things you can do!
First, look for products that contain nourishing ingredients, that will feed your skin and restore some of that protective oily layer that sebum normally provides. Don’t panic – this is a healthy layer of skin-friendly oils that feed and protect for example, anti inflammatory omega three oils and antioxidant rich botanical extracts.
Look for moisturisers that contain Argan or rosehip oil rich in Vitamin E and essential fatty acids. Argan will be described as Argania spinosa on the label, while rosehip will be shown as Rosa canina. The higher these items are listed, the greater proportion was used in the formula. A decent moisturiser will feature a higher amount, so expect a matching price tag.
The second thing for Celtic skin is looking for ingredients that are soothing and calming for sensitive skin such as jojoba, aloe vera, calendula, marula, rosehip or rosewater. Dry skin is stressed skin. These botanicals bring calm to your skin and allow it to begin renewing itself.
The third step for Celtic skin is remembering how extra sensitive it is, and treating it with TLC – so ditch any harsh foaming cleansers, sharp scrubby bits or artificial ingredients that suck moisture away or damage your skin.
It’s no point wrecking your skin with harsh cleansers and hoping your moisturiser will rescue the damage. Be gentle, through your entire skincare routine and you will see how your skin can heal itself when you give it the right ingredients.
Instead, look for calming botanicals such as , sea buckthorn, as these are anti inflammatory and help soothe skin that is easily irritated.
Best Face cream for rosacea and dry skin
Well ‘best’ is a comparision. Your skin and lifestyle is different today, to what it was last year. What worked then, may not now.
So how do you find a new face cream when the internet offers you gazillions of choices?
My biggest tip is to look for cooling ingredients that reduce inflammation, AND help your repair your dried out boundary walls of your skin.
Dry skin is also dehydrated so you need to add moisture from within and without.
(Products and drinking water!)
These gorgeous natural ingredients bring increased moisture and help make skin dewy soft. Not only that, but genuine hydrosols (as used in all Glow Skincare products) are at the perfect pH for a healthy skin. (Unlike most water based concoctions that rely on artificial pH adjustment with acids.). Tap water is actually too alkaline for your skin. It’s usually pH 7 which is way too alkaline – your skin prefers it around 5.5
Botanical extracts when grown and processed with care, contain the life force and energetics of those plants. These premium extracts cost more to produce and are sought after by artisan skincare formulators.
Other skin-friendly ingredients to look out for are pomegranate, sea buckthorn, MSM and hyaluronic acid as well as an affordable humectant called glycerine. (You may recall your granny’s rosewater, witch hazel and glycerine toner?)
Look for nourishing omegas and fatty acids, add soothing and calming botanicals and include hydrating extracts.
My recommended face creams are:
If you live in anywhere snowy, windy or extra dry, or have seriously dry skin, or are in your late 40’s the Heart of Eternity
It’s packed with botancical extracts to feed and nourish, calm and protect. Zero tap water! Zero spring water or other cost-cutting malarkey.
And for summer, high humidity, younger skin that isn’t too dry, my choice is Proposal in Paris
Lavender and jojoba comfort stressed out skin and restore calm to your nerves.
Essential Tips for rosacea
Perhaps you switch over from black tea to chamomile and rosehip. Both those herb teas are calming and packed with antioxidant while being caffeine free.
Consider increasing the proportion of anti-inflammatory foods on your menu, becasue rosacea is an inflamed condition. Add in more fresh leafy vegetables, certain fruits, and small amounts of whole grains; with some olive oil, seafood, yogurt, low fat cheeses, eggs, and lean meats. Raw spinach is excellent.
Include onions and garlic in your food. They are valuable pre-biotics.
Eat foods rich in anti-inflammatory vitamins A, B6, C, D, and K.
Include shelled hemp seeds for the Omega 3 fatty acids if you do not eat fatty fish. These can be blitzed into a yummy hemp milk and sweetened with a touch of salt.
Use ginger and turmeric in your cooking.
Probiotics and fermented foods and drinks like kefir, may help your gut biome, which in turn helps your skin heal. Read this article on fermented turmeric tea
Cut out sugar, it’s an anti-nutrient, anyway.
Reduce your alcohol, processed foods and white flour products. You may need to get your own food list, tested by a kineseologist or true empath becasue what works for one person wont for another. And what works today won’t in three month’s time. (Contact me for the empath’s name.)
Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated, as dry skin tends to irritate more easily.
Look for products that contain anti-inflammatory ingredients like aloe vera, MSM, rosehip seed oil.
If you have rosacea, you have sensitive skin and it is important to treat your skin gently.
Avoid products with known irritants – alcohol, menthol, glycolic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, sodium laurel sulfate, and synthetic fragrances, and color. (Tricky to avoid alcohol now with hand sanitizing! Buy a great hand cream)
Never use soap or surfactants on your face. The pH is damaging to your acid mantle and soap strips away your protective sebum. Switch to a gentle creamy cleanser like Jardin de Fleurs that even removes makeup.
Use hand soap instead of hand sanitizer, where you have the option. (Bar soap is less drying than hand sanitizer)
Shampoo suds can irritate and flare-up rosacea. Before you get into the shower, put a small amount of jojoba oil or Samba on your face. Shampoo and rinse your hair with your head back, so suds do not run down your face. After your hair is thoroughly rinsed, rinse your face well to be sure all of the shampoo residue is removed. The jojoba and Samba will leave your skin feeling smooth and soft.
Do not use expired products. Avoid anything that tingles or stings. If you have blemishes or scars, most products designed for acne are too strong. Don’t rub raw lemon juice or kombucha on your skin – beware of DIY remedies on YouTube!
Avoid anything that is abrasive such as scrubs (which can contain abrasives made from ground walnut shells, salt, sugar or pumice), loofahs or rough washcloths on your face. Use gentle exfoliation instead.
Use lukewarm water to splash and rinse your face.
Use gentle products designed for dry and sensitive skin or children. Read the labels before you buy. You will only know when you try it out.
Moisturize your skin after you wash and before bedtime. This is to prevent dryness whcih causes irritation. If your moisturiser feels cloying or sticky, you need a new brand. There are hundreds of emulsifiers* out there, natural and synthetic, and one will be perfect for your skin. Shop around. (*Emulsifiers are what join the watery component of a face cream with the oily part. Without an emulsifier, the cream/moisturiser would separate into two layers.)
Avoid all synthetic fragrances and artifical color. Look for a product that has a few simple ingredients. Read the ingredients labels – do you know what the names are or do they sound like chemical soup?
Apply your moisturiser with clean fingers.
When you switch to a gentle yet powerful natural skincare routine and healthier lifestyle, including what you eat, what you drink, your exercise and sleep patterns, your dry sensitive skin will transform itself. The more hydrating and nourishing your routine, the faster you will see results.
Where to buy face products suitable for Celtic Skin in the UK?
If you would prefer somebody to blend the oils for you, then visit my UK-based store. I can ship to the EU, US or Canada.
I use Rosehip, tamanu and helichrysum in Empress Elixir.
In my facial tonic Drench, there’s MSM, rosewater, aloe, frankincense and lavender hydrosols)
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