The Sex and the City star speaks to MC about her battle with rosacea and why she feels more beautiful now than ever before
Cynthia Nixon feels more beautiful now, at 48 years old, than she ever did back in her Sex And The City heyday. And unlike many Hollywood actresses, it’s not because she’s had work done. It’s because she’s finally learnt how to deal with her rosacea.
Because Cynthia has a personal history with the disease – which causes facial redness and breakouts – she agreed to serve as a spokesperson for its global awareness campaign, Act on Red. When we caught up with her, she was eager to share the tips and wisdom she’s gathered battling rosacea for more than a decade.
Here are Cynthia’s top tips for dealing with rosacea:
1. Know what you’re dealing with.
‘I had my rosacea diagnosed about five years ago, and it made such a difference in my life,’ Cynthia says. Before her diagnosis, she assumed her skin problems were acne-related and was treating them as such. ‘Everything I was doing to try to improve my skin was really exacerbating the problem.’
2. Banish harsh facial scrubs and cleansers.
After Cynthia’s doctor told her she had rosacea, she asked her describe her skincare routine. ‘I said, “Oh I clean my face very thoroughly, I’m very diligent about it. I do a lot of anti bacterial washes and exfoliant scrubs and a lot of peels.”
‘And she said, “You’ve got to stop all of those things right now. That’s the worst thing you can do because you’re treating this as if it’s an acne, a bacterial condition where you have to scrub away that bacteria. But in fact it’s a vascular condition. So the more harsh things you do to your skin, the more your blood vessels are going to get inflamed and the redness and the breakouts will come with it.’
3. Limit red wine.
For Cynthia, red wine is one of the biggest culprits leading to a rosacea flare-up. ‘It’s not like you can never have a glass of red wine again,’ she says. ‘But you might not want to do it when you’re at an important event where you’re going to be photographed.’
And we’re sorry to burst your bubble, but white wine can also be a trigger, as with all forms of alcohol. However, red wine tends to be the most likely to cause an flare-up.
4. Rethink that spicy curry.
Just like that glass of merlot you’re drinking, spicy foods can trigger rosacea symptoms. So if you’re on a hot date, maybe go for the tikka masala instead of the vindaloo.
5. Drink loads of water.
For Cynthia, staying hydrated and drinking water helps keep ker skin looking good. Plus, it has plenty of other health benefits, too.
6. Keep your skin moisturised.
‘I do spend a lot of time moisturising with cremes and also with oils,’ she says. ‘And I carry stuff with me during the day to make sure my skin stays hydrated.’
7. Wash your face once a day.
When it comes to your skincare routine, it’s important not to overdo it. ‘I wash my face once at night and that’s it,’ Cynthia says. ‘I’ve gone from kind of giving my skin a workout to kind of treating my skin more like a princess that needs to be pampered.’
8. Avoid caking on the make-up.
‘I have to say, one of the things I’ve found – particularly as I’ve gotten older – is that makeup is a wonderful enhancer, but you really should wear as little as possible,’ she says. ‘But when I had my rosacea, that really wasn’t an option [when I was filming Sex and the City]. We’d really just pile it on and cover it up, like spackle almost. That doesn’t look good – particularly after a few hours. Nothing will age you faster than that.’
9. Know that you’re not alone.
Rosacea has been estimated to affect around 45 million people worldwide. So if your symptoms are hurting your self-esteem, it can be comforting to know that others share your pain. ‘I think we all know this: When our skin looks bad, we just feel bad about ourselves,’ Cynthia says. ‘For whatever psychological reason, we value clear skin. And for me personally, when my skin is looking good, it just makes it that much easier to go out in the world and feel confident and feel that people aren’t looking sideways at me.’
10. Try to stay positve.
‘I feel like rosacea is just one of those things that can be such a downer. It’s such an impediment to looking your best and feeling your best. But the good news is that once you know what it is and once your doctor tells you the right course of treatment to do, it really is pretty simple to deal with in most cases.’
If you experience facial redness, breakouts or visible blood vessels, see your doctor to find out if you have rosacea.