She spiced up the small screen as Miranda Hobbes on the cult TV series Sex and the City, and now actress Cynthia Nixon is speaking out about her experience with the chronic inflammatory skin condition rosacea. Read on as she dishes about the foods she loves, her biggest beauty indulgence and her secrets to embracing that natural flush.
FITNESS: What made you start working with the National Rosacea Society?
Cynthia Nixon: I first started working with the National Rosacea Society because 16 million people have the condition, but not many know about it, so I wanted to raise awareness. When you have it, it can be awful to treat it yourself. The first thing you have to do is speak to a dermatologist and get a treatment plan. You can't cure rosacea, but you can control it. I had acne in my teens and early 20s, and then developed rosacea in my 30s. So many people think of it as acne, then use scrubs and masks and don’t realize they are only making the problem worse. You need to know what to do and what to avoid. Rosacea is a condition that can cause embarrassment and discomfort.
FITNESS: What’s been your experience with rosacea, and how have you managed it?
CN: I cannot stress enough the importance of seeing a dermatologist because everybody’s skin is different. After I found out what the dermatologist recommended and he prescribed me medicine, I have managed to keep it under control. I also got information about things that I was eating that were triggering the rosacea.
FITNESS: What specific foods trigger rosacea?
CN: Spicy foods trigger it, like tabasco and jalapeño peppers. I still eat those things, but I stay away from them when I know I have important events coming up. Other things that can trigger it are red wine and too much sun exposure.
FITNESS: What have you learned from working with the National Rosacea Society?
CN: I’ve learned that rosacea is much more common than we think. Also, if you don’t treat it, it can get worse. There are four different kinds of rosacea: redness, pimples, eye irritation and thickening of the skin. Your face gets red and blotchy and it’s not fun. You have to tend to it so it doesn't get worse.
FITNESS: Moving on to beauty: What’s one product that never leaves your bag?
CN: Undereye cream for sure. I find myself applying some too many times per day!
FITNESS: What are your haircare, makeup and skincare routines like on a typical day?
CN: My hair tends to be oily so I wash it two to three times a week. I wake up in the morning and wash my face, then apply some toner, moisturizer with SPF, and undereye cream.
FITNESS: What are your secrets for looking great anytime, anywhere?
CN: I make sure to maintain a gentle regimen. I don’t use many products because they can be too harsh on my skin and can cause my rosacea to flare up. Also, I wear SPF all the time.
FITNESS: What’s your diet like? Are there certain foods or snacks that are your go-tos?
CN: I’m a big fan of cheese! (Editor's note: Woman after our own heart!) I also eat a lot of salads. I keep celery, carrots and almonds in my house. I also keep protein bars around because those things can really help sustain you through the day.
FITNESS: What’s your biggest beauty indulgence?
CN: Facial acupuncture for sure. It keeps my blood flowing. With rosacea, my skin can get very inflamed so the circulation boost is helpful.
FITNESS: How do you stay in shape when you’re on the go?
CN: I work out mostly when I’m at home. When I’m away for a couple of days, I’ll use the hotel gym. I try to eat well; I’m a vegetarian. Also, as I mentioned, I make sure protein bars are always around.
FITNESS: What’s the best tip you’ve picked up from the makeup, hair and skincare experts you’ve worked with?
CN: I actually received the best tip while filming Sex and the City and that is “put as little foundation on as possible." Maintain a good skincare routine. A ton of foundation only ages you!
Visit rosaceafacts.com to view Cynthia's iPSA and take a self-screening quiz.
—By Wanda Rosa, beauty intern