Rosacea: This Skincare Routine is a Game Changer
Rosacea impacts sufferers' self-esteem and social life. Although rosacea is chronic it's treatable. More than 70% of people who treat their rosacea report improvements. A rosacea-friendly skincare routine will reduce flare-ups, promote skin health and healing and improve self-confidence.
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Living with Rosacea
If you’re living with rosacea, chances are that it’s impacted your self-esteem and your social life
The impacts of rosacea are far-reaching for a lot of people. Somewhere between 5% and 10% of the population suffers from rosacea and 90% of sufferers experience lower self-confidence and self-esteem. Almost half of rosacea sufferers have avoided or canceled social engagements or missed work because of their rosacea.
But, it does not have to be that way.
Rosacea is chronic but treatable. Well over 70% of sufferers who seek treatment report improvements in their rosacea symptoms and their emotional and social well-being.
Most people with rosacea live with cycles of flare-ups and remissions. Flare-ups usually involve redness and acne-like pimples, and over time, they result in more persistent redness, the appearance of visible blood vessels and skin damage and scarring.
Treating rosacea means breaking the cycle of flare-ups. The symptoms of rosacea vary from one person to another and dermatologists will tailor treatment to the individual's situation.
In general, the approach to treatment involves:
Prescription medication to reduce flushing and inflammation
Avoiding your rosacea triggers
Adapting your skincare routine to reduce irritation and inflammation
Avoiding Your Rosacea Triggers
Sun exposure is the number #1 trigger. Protection from the sun is often the most important lifestyle and skincare consideration when dealing with rosacea
Dermatologists recommend keeping a diary to identify what triggers your rosacea. Triggers can vary from one person to the next, but based on a large scale survey, the most common triggers are:
Hot & cold weather
Sun exposure is the number #1 trigger, affecting more than 80% of rosacea sufferers. Protection from the sun is often the most important lifestyle and skincare consideration when dealing with rosacea.
Game-Changing Skincare Routine
A rosacea-friendly skincare routine will:
Make your skin feel better
Improve the results of dermatologist prescribed treatments
Improve your overall skin health
Improve your self-confidence
To reduce flare-ups and to deal with the visible effects of rosacea on a day-to-day basis, most people will need to adapt their skincare routine and the products they use.
A rosacea-friendly skincare routine should include 4 things:
Moisturizing and protecting
Dealing with symptoms
Promoting skin health and healing
All skincare products need to be gentle, high-quality, and fragrance-free.
Also, less is more. Every product carries the chance of irritating sensitive skin, so rosacea sufferers should try to use fewer products overall.
1. Gentle Cleansing
Cleansing is one of the most important steps in any skincare routine, and finding a cleanser that soothes and calms redness and irritation is key to managing rosacea.
If your rosacea symptoms include acne-like pimples, you may be tempted to use face wash for acne. But, acne face washes usually contain benzoyl-peroxide or salicylic acid that can cause irritation and flare-ups, and actually make things worse
These soap-free cleansers are top-rated, dermatologist-recommended, and perfect for soothing sensitive, rosacea-affected skin.
Our Pick: Paula’s Choice
This line of gentle cleansers is on the top of lots of lists and is our favorite. They’re clinically proven non-irritating, 100% fragrance and paraben-free, and promote calming and recovery.
For normal to dry skin: Skin Recovery Cream Cleanser.
For normal, combination & oily skin: CALM Nourishing (Redness Relief) Cleanser
Best Value: CeraVe
CeraVe is the #1 dermatologist-recommended skincare brand. Their paraben-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, non-drying and non-irritating facial cleansers are designed for sensitive skin. These inexpensive cleansers also top some of the most respected health and beauty lists.
2. Moisturizing and Protecting
Many rosacea sufferers have a defective moisture barrier in the skin. So, moisturizing daily is important to build a protective barrier to help keep out impurities and irritants. You can use a moisturizer even if you are using prescription topical medication. Ask your derm or pharmacist on the right approach.
Using a daily moisturizer with SPF provides the added benefit of protection from the number one source of irritation, the sun. The sunscreen should be mineral-based, containing either zinc or titanium dioxide, and should provide both UVA/UVB protection. A number of moisturizers have been developed specifically to calm the skin, soothe redness, and irritation.
These top-rated moisturizers have been proven clinically to be effective and gentle, and contain non-irritating SPF.
Our Pick: EltaMD
EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Sensitive Skin is oil-free, dermatologist-recommended, and contains non-irritating mineral-based zinc oxide SPF.
EltaMD also makes this tinted mineral-based SPF moisturizer that is perfect if you want to avoid wearing foundation but are looking for a bit of color.
Cerave Ultra-Light Moisturizing Face Lotion with SPF 30 is also dermatologist recommended, top-rated, and sells for about half the price of many other brands.
3. Dealing with Symptoms
If you prefer a natural no-makeup look but want to reduce redness, a green-tinted primer is just what you need. Even if you’re planning on using a moisturizer or foundation, a good primer prepares the skin, gives your moisturizer or foundation something to hold onto, and perform better and longer.
Rosacea sufferers need to be careful when choosing a primer. A lot of primers contain silicone-based polymer dimethicone for the smoothing effects, which can be irritating.
Our Pick: Erborian CC
Erborian CC Red Correct Automatic Perfector is bar none, the ultimate fan favorite, and multiple award-winning color correct primer. There is a reason that rosacea sufferers say things like “this is my holy grail of skincare” about this primer. Its gentle, color-correcting formula adjusts to your skin tone to help conceal redness, protect and hydrate.
Finding a foundation that covers redness, bumps, and other irregularities but that doesn’t spark another flare-up can be daunting. Dermatologists recommend mineral-based foundations that won’t clog pores, and that contain calming ingredients.
Our Pick: Dermablend
Dermablend Flawless Creator Multi-Use Liquid Foundation Makeup provides full coverage without feeling heavy or cakey. Because it is oil-free and water-free, it can be used alone or mixed with your moisturizer.
This award-winning foundation is allergy-tested, non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic and formulated without phthalates, triclosans or sodium lauryl sulfates so is safe and easy to use on sensitive skin
4. Promoting Skin Health and Healing
Red-light therapy is recognized as a safe treatment that reduces redness and acne-like symptoms, and promotes skin rejuvenation
The American Academy of Dermatologists now promotes light therapy as effective for treating redness and acne-like breakouts associated with rosacea. Rosacea sufferers using red light therapy also report reductions in redness and inflammation.
Red light therapy has been around since the 80s but only hit the mainstream recently as a powerful way to boost collagen and elastin production, enhance skin’s regenerative abilities, reduce inflammation, heal spots and scars, and improve tone and color. (read our definitive guide to red light therapy)
Unlike traditional laser treatments that work by removing or injuring the top layer of the skin, red-light therapy works below the skin so it does not have the risks of complications, long recovery time, or other negative effects.
Red-light therapy can be done in a clinic or at home. It is offered in anti-aging and dermatology clinics, but the cost of regular sessions can add up quickly. Good red-light therapy devices are available for home use. Prices range from less than $100 to $2000 or more for full-body devices. (see our recommendations here)
Rosacea is a chronic but treatable condition. Avoiding triggers and choosing the right skincare products for your skin can significantly reduce symptoms and them easier to live with. Integrating red-light therapy into your routine can heal, rejuvenate, and improve your overall skin health.
What works for someone else, may not be right for you. Always consult a dermatologist before starting a new skincare regime.