Hello Star Seeds,
Happy Beltane, 1st May marked the height of Spring and what a glorious long weekend it was. Emilie and I made fantastic use of the sunshine planting lily bulbs, elderberry plants, fruit trees, delicious veg & even Star Seed wildflower seeds in our urban garden.
Today, I want to share how I healed my recent rosacea skin flare-up, which was caused by a chemical suncream product, in 7 days. I'll admit, it's not easy being vulnerable, but Emilie cajoled me into writing about it. Also since it nearly upended my week, I think it's important to share the good news.
To give you some background, skin issues, particularly rosacea, run in my family on my father's side, and studies have shown that genetics and environmental factors play a significant role in its development. While triggers for rosacea vary, common ones include chemical products, food, alcohol, extreme weather, sun exposure, and stress.
Before I share my story, I want to acknowledge the pressure of running a skincare brand. It has become very natural for people to scrutinise our skin, to see whether our products work. Our faces are Star Seed's shop front. While Emilie and I have received glowing reviews for our skin over the past few years, treating inherited conditions like rosacea isn't always straightforward.
The weekend of 21-23rd April, I visited my brother for a wholesome few days of gardening, surfing, and walking. In my rush to leave London, I forgot to pack my Star Seed mineral-based suncream (coming soon!). While gardening on Saturday, I applied a chemical SPF suncream that was lying around. Immediately after application, I felt my skin heating up and I noticed areas of inflammation. But with the sun's spring rays beaming down, I felt that the sunscreen was a necessary evil.
On Sunday morning, we woke up early and made the 3.5hr pilgrimage to the beautiful Gower Peninsula, famous for its golden beaches, dramatic limestone cliffs, and undulating ocean. As I hurried to put on my wetsuit, I once again grabbed the only available suncream and applied it generously on my face. After 3 hours of battling rough waves, with the occasional high-octane ride, I returned to the beach feeling exhausted, cold but very much alive.
As someone with rosacea, I'm used to my skin showing the effects of extreme weather. At first, the redness on my face seemed like a healthy sign of adventure. But when I got back to the house and washed my face with the only cleanser (chemical) that was there to remove the salt and sand, I inadvertently further disrupted my delicate skin barrier. That night, I woke up feeling itchy and restless, and the next morning, I had a breakout of acne rosacea, like I never experienced before. Typically, I only get a temporary flash of redness from weather fluctuations, our bodies way to express when things are out of balance.
Monday 24th Apr (Day 1) vs Thursday 27th Apr (Day 4) vs Sunday 30st Apr (Day 7)
However this experience seemed somewhat more severe than usual (as shown above). Through further research, I saw how when certain bacteria take over, for example H. pylori and Demodex Skin Mites we can get a more drastic reaction. Suncream products typically have alcohol and chemicals, such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate & avobenzons. These chemicals penetrate the skin and turn UV rays into heat, which trigger rosacea, and more, they kill our skin's microbiota which are there to protect us. This information made me realise how precious my skin microbiome is, and how my skin is used to delicate care and strictly botanical extracts that complement my skin's ecosystem. I suppose I'm lucky to have constant access to Emilie's botanical wisdom and Star Seed's formulations that have helped me, my family, and our community heal.
It’s now Monday (Day 1) and I’m back in London, running a start-up with all it’s many stress factors. On top of this, I’m feeling super self-conscious as the man behind a skincare brand with a rosacea flare up.
In a desperate attempt to get back into my (healthy) skin, I move all my meetings to Zoom and retreat to a full week of detox using our Star Seed Organic Matcha Toner & Face Mask (new products on the horizon), along with Star Seed's soothing & anti-inflammatory day cream, the Forest Cream. When I spoke to my GP on Tuesday, who confirmed my rosacea diagnosis, I was alarmed at how the only solution offered was antibiotic cream, ‘metronidazole’ and the like with an expected recovery period of a month.
I declined the offer of a prescription and I'm pleased to say that by Thursday morning (Day 4) my acne rosacea had almost disappeared. I wanted to share my story because I know I'm not alone. Many of us have experienced the effects of a poor diet, chemical products, or extreme weather on our skin.
Also the severity of our antibiotic craze and the lack of understanding around its damaging, and now life-threatening affects are devastating. I refer to my Skin Microbiome article a few weeks ago. Our microbiome is the soil from which we grow healthy & strong, without it we are vulnerable to attack and disease. The desire to impatiently treat symptoms and not address the root cause of our flare ups demonstrates modernity's disconnection from nature.
We need to see the flare ups as warning signals from our bodies that there is an imbalance. Dosing our body with antibiotics is only disabling our immune system further. And on a macro-level, our antibiotic craze has led to the desertification of our bodies & the ecosystem around us. For example, most of animal livestock antibiotics are now making their way into our waterways and destroying our biodiversity. We need to shift our understanding of health back to the health of our ecosystem, both in our bodies & the external world around us.
Some interesting statistics to share:
- The gut is the largest surface area that we have exposed to the outside world (2 tennis courts in area) – compare this to the skin which is (1.8 square meters).
- The only covering of our skin surface is a thin layer of epithelial cells – these cells are around 50 microns in diameter (which is half the thickness of a human hair).
With this in mind, every time we use antibiotics, we destroy the gut and/or skin flora, developing a leaky membrane, which leaves us open to inflammation, and the neurologic system starts to get hit as the blood brain barrier fails.
As we continue to eliminate the good bacteria through chemical products & antibiotics, we are opening ourselves up to more attacks, and therefore less resilience.
Emilie and I believe there is another way. In skincare, we follow a holistic practice that considers the health of the skin, body, and our environment. That's why we ethically source wild & organic botanical extracts that avoid all toxic chemicals and benefit from rich, biodiverse soils. Effectively, why would you put something on your skin, our most porous & largest organ, that you wouldn't put in your mouth and eat.
Star Seed formulas are gentle yet effective, and they work with your skin's natural healing processes to restore balance and radiance. By nourishing and protecting the skin's microbiome, we can maintain healthy skin.
If anyone reading this suffers with sensitive skin, particularly rosacea, eczema or inflammation, please get in touch. I truly believe we can help you with anything from skincare products to dietary tips. If we are unable to stabilise or even better your skin condition after 30 days, we will give you your money back. That is the Star Seed promise, we're committed to providing you with the best possible skincare health & experience.