Your guide to rosacea skin care treatment, straight from the dermis
If you’ve been diagnosed with rosacea or think you might have it, know that you’re far from alone: More 16 million Americans live with the common skin condition, and a 2018 study found that 415 million have it worldwide. That said, researchers have yet to find a cure or determine what actually causes the skin’s inflammatory response.
Typically, rosacea causes reddened skin, visible blood vessels, rednessand one sensitivity to certain ingredientss and triggers. Although there is still ongoing research into the condition, Dr. Peter Young, MDgraduate dermatologist and medical director of Facet, notes that scientists have found a variety of factors that contribute to rosacea flare-ups. These include genetic and an overactive immune system, he explains. Plus, adds Young, since there’s no “cure,” treatment is more about controlling and managing symptoms — and maintaining a good rosacea skincare routine is an essential element.
Another pro tip? Avoid potential rosacea triggersthe most common of which are exposure to the sun, heat, spicy foods, alcohol, wind and cold, according to Dr. Snehal Amin, MDgraduate dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology. “Hair care and skin products are also major underestimated potential triggers,” says Amin, which is why it’s helpful to ditch any ingredients in your diet that cause irritation.
Ready to control your rosacea symptoms? Read on to learn all about the disease, as well as how to prevent, manage and treat flare-ups, according to experts.
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What is rosacea and what does it look like?
While rosacea typically makes skin ‘red’, no two outbreaks are the same, says Dr. Jaimie DeRosa, MD, Dual Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon and Reconstructor at DeRosa Plastic Surgery Center and Medical Spa. “For some, rosacea will be pretty constant, and for others, it may flare up for weeks or months and then clear up for a bit,” DeRosa told Bustle. Besides the redness and visible blood vessels, she adds that rosacea can also affect the eyes and cause dryness, irritation and/or swelling of the eyes and eyelids.
Breakouts can also be mistaken for something else, as they can appear as pimples and other conditions. “Sometimes rosacea feels like a flare-up or just a natural underlying redness in the skin,” says DeRosa, adding that people with rosacea may also feel a burning sensation during flare-ups. For this reason, many people confuse the disease with allergies, according to Amin. Other symptoms include spider veins, broken capillaries and red bumps that look like acne, he tells Bustle.
Rosacea symptoms are usually only present during an outbreak, which can last from a few days to a few weeks. However, if you continue to irritate your skin by using irritating ingredients in skincare or not avoiding triggers, Amin says each flare-up can contribute to longer-lasting symptoms, with each episode potentially contributing to more damage. durable. Called rhinophyma, this phenomenon can manifest as visible blood vessels, thickening of the skin, and permanent redness, which DeRosa says is most commonly seen on the nose.
Signs you might have rosacea
According to DeRosa, rosacea generally affects more women than men, and it usually first appears in their 30s or 40s. It can also occur in people of all skin types, although it is usually easier to see in someone with fair skin. That said, you may not fit any of the above descriptors and still suffer from rosacea.
A reliable metric? When your symptoms become noticeable, says Young, that’s why it’s important to pay attention when the telltale redness starts to appear on your face. DeRosa also advises watching your skin closely when consuming alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine, or doing anything that might dilate your blood vessels, such as exercising or feeling stressed or anxious. Weather and cosmetics can also play a key role: Excessive heat, cold and sunlight are common triggers, she says, while some topical products can make rosacea worse. So, it’s worth noting if your skin starts acting up when you try something new in your beauty routine or when the weather changes.
Finally, while scientists have yet to figure out what exactly causes the condition, DeRosa tells Bustle that many doctors believe rosacea is hereditary. This means that if someone in your family has it, you can very well have it too.
Rosacea skin care tips
As stated above, there are ways to prevent and treat rosacea through the right skincare routine. Below are tips from dermatologists for crafting the best regimen for your complexion.
1. Test the products before use
Young suggests testing new products before incorporating them into your routine, since rosacea symptoms can be triggered by many ingredients. “Always test skincare and makeup products on a small area of your face, like in front of your ear,” he says. “Do this for several days before applying them all over your face.”
2. Use a mild liquid cleanser
Young also suggests cleansing your face twice a day with a mild liquid cleanser (no soap!), then rinsing off with warm (not hot!) water. Then gently dry your face with a clean cotton towel. Moral of the story? It is a gentle cleansing. “Be gentle with your skin,” Young says. “Don’t rub or scrub your face and avoid washcloths, facial sponges or exfoliators.”
3. Incorporate Gentle Skincare Ingredients
During flare-ups, you’ll want to avoid harsh ingredients or anything more active — think chemical exfoliants, perfumes, sodium lauryl sulfate, and alcohol, Amin says. Instead, DeRosa advises opting for ingredients like niacinamide, as it helps calm red or irritated skin. Other anti-inflammatories to look for in products include aloe vera, oat extract, and hyaluronic acid.
4. Keep the skin well hydrated
Another key part of managing rosacea, experts say, is making sure your skin is properly hydrated. “Moisturize your face daily to help hydrate by trapping water in your skin,” says Young. He specifically suggests “rosacea-friendly” moisturizers formulated without perfume or alcohol, as they can cause irritation.
5. Wear SPF daily
Daily use of SPF is still essential, but especially so for people with rosacea because excessive sun exposure is such a common trigger. “UV sun protection is important for preventing flare-ups, but choosing the right sunscreen is just as important,” Amin tells Bustle, who suggests using fragrance-free mineral sunscreen. DeRosa adds that sunscreens containing titanium and/or micronized zinc are great because they’re suitable for sensitive skin and can help treat redness.
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Gether, L., Overgaard, LK, Egeberg, A. and Thyssen, JP (2018). Incidence and prevalence of rosacea: systematic review and meta-analysis. The British Journal of Dermatology, 179(2), 282–289. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjd.16481
Mikkelsen, CS (2016). Rosacea: a clinical examination. Dermatological reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5134688/
Dr. Peter Young, MD, board-certified dermatologist and medical director at Facet