Dear Kat,

I have a very healthy lifestyle, but I have rosacea, which causes visible blood vessels in my face -- so I do need to wear a foundation makeup. What kind do you recommend?

Seattle, WA

Dear Susan,

Congratulations on your healthy lifestyle. Rosacea is a tricky problem to navigate, but it would probably be troubling you much more than it is if you were not taking care of yourself, as it is very responsive to stress, what you put on your skin and choices like alcohol, coffee, spicy foods and too much sun, all of which aggravate it as you well know.

The last thing you want to do is apply any sensitizers such as cosmetics containing synthetic perfumes (one of the top skin irritants) or coal tar colors, or further disrupt your skin's functions with mineral oil-containing makeup. The good news is that natural, mineral-based makeup and foundations give great coverage and are actually anti-inflammatory, due to their titanium dioxides and zinc oxide. They also give substantial sun protection (around an FDA approved 15-20). Unlike conventional cosmetics, these cosmetics do not clog the pores; the crystalline minerals overlap, so the skin can breathe. Since talc is generally not used in the powders and eye shadows, there is less creasing, and the minerals are also somewhat water resistant. The best news in recent years is that the color selection and packaging have improved so much that even a pro like me could confidently recommend them to discerning, aesthetically conscious women and I have used them on celebrities, magazine editors and models during photo shoots with great results.

You'll find the best variety of mineral-based makeup at the health food store. Test foundations on your wrist (the shade for you will be lighter than the back of your wrist and darker than the inside), and always go for a slightly yellow tone to counter the additional redness in your skin.

I'll be getting into some application tricks and color picks in my holiday beauty column in the December issue of Better Nutrition.

For more information on rosacea, a problem with many, many speculative causes, I recommend the book Rosacea: Your Self-Help Guide by Dr. Arlen Brownstein, Donna Shoemaker C.N., Sean O'Laoire. You'll also find many causes and possible treatments discussed in my book, The Truth About Beauty, and the resources within it.

Thanks for writing!

Kat James


Dear Kat,

I saw your article in the May issue of Better Nutriton where you mentioned the benefits of Vitamin C for the skin. I was wondering if I could use liquid Vitamin C in distilled water and use it as a spritzer for my face? If so how many drops should I use. Also, could I mix it with Avocado oil and use it for a moisturizer. Your input is much appreciated.

Red Bluff, CA

Dear Sandra,

Thanks for reading my column! A solution of standard vitamin C in distilled water may not be stable enough to penetrate the skin, as it tends to evaporate, which was a problem with the first water-based vitamin C serums. The avocado oil might help. A bit of emu oil added to your solution may have a transdermal effect, which helps nutrients penetrate. The C-Ester form of vitamin C (Ascorbyl Palmitate) may be the most stable and least irritating form to date. One of my favorite C-Ester serums is the Wrinkle Serum by Youthful Essentials.

Hope that helps,

Kat James


Dear Kat,

Do you have a list of ingredients in perfumes that we need to stay away from and a list of perfumes to avoid? I think there is something in some of mine that make me quite ill and devastatingly tired when I wear it.

Longdale, OK

Dear Barbara,

I can relate. I used to pile on perfumed products and wonder why I was constantly sniffling and feeling light-headed. But it would be useless to list perfume ingredients to avoid, since perfume ingredients are never listed individually on the ingredients list of any product. It is a regulatory loophole that remains in the name of perfumers being allowed to keep their formulas secret. There are commonly as many as two hundred or more unknown chemicals in a perfume. Many tested perfumes have been found to contain neurotoxins, carcinogens and air pollutants. My advice - especially if you're sensitive - is to avoid all products that list the word "fragrance" or "perfume" on the ingredients list, period. The best way to do that is by shopping for personal care products at the health food store. My book, The Truth About Beauty also lists tons of great products that don't contain synthetic fragrance. Good luck!

Kat James

For other Kat James Q&A:
  • Starting Supplements
  • Better Water Filters
  • Hair Loss Help

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