Through Rose Colored Glasses: Guide to the Best Skincare for Rosacea
Does your skin constantly look red and sunburned even after not having spent time in the sun? Or maybe you have small, red acne-like bumps on your nose and cheeks that just never fully form into acne. If this sounds like you, then you may have rosacea, a skin condition that is most associated with enlarged blood vessels that give your skin a reddish hue. Though it sounds crazy; rosacea is common in Americans with around 5% developing it in their lifetime. We have some tips and tricks on how to develop the best skincare for rosacea so that you can feel more confident in your skin.
Table of Contents
- Rosacea is a skin condition that causes noticeable redness and irritation in your face
- The cause of rosacea is unknown but you can watch out for triggers to avoid flare ups
- You can alleviate the redness through skincare
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a skin condition that causes noticeable redness and irritation in your face, specifically around the nose and cheek area. It affects more than 16 million Americans but is most common in middle-aged women with fair skin, blond hair, and blue eyes. This doesn’t mean, however, that men can’t develop rosacea. While it is more common in women, men who develop it tend to have stronger symptoms and are more likely to require stronger medical treatment.
Rosacea also isn’t constant. Symptoms can flare up over time when faced with your skin’s triggers, and then it often dies down. (1) Some of these symptoms that can flare up are:
- Facial redness: persistently in the center of the face
- Swollen red bumps: these may resemble acne but often don’t fully form as a pimple, but just sit on the skin
- Eye irritation: dryness, swollen, and/or red eyes
- Enlarged nose: most common in men, where excess tissue builds up on the nose
There are 4 different subtypes of rosacea, and each is pretty much centered on a specific symptom. Though they are all separate, you may develop one or more subtypes based on your skin mood and other influences. (2)
- Subtype 1 (erythematotelangiectatic rosacea) mainly causes facial redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels on the face
- Subtype 2 (papulopustular rosacea) mainly causes acne-like breakouts around the nose and cheek area
- Subtype 3 (rhinophyma) results in the thickening of the skin as dead tissue build up around the nose
- Subtype 4 (ocular rosacea) is centered on the eye area and causes irritation and redness
What Causes Rosacea
While the actual cause for a person developing rosacea is currently unknown, there are a few reasons that researchers believe can increase a person’s chances of developing it. As mentioned before, being a female with fair skin is a strong indicator that rosacea may develop. Aside from this, researchers also believe that other factors can contribute to development including:
- Blond hair and blue eyes
- Skin that has been previously damaged by the sun
- People over the age of 30
- Those with a history of smoking
- Family history of rosacea
Though these may be potential causes there are also many situations and other factors which can trigger rosacea to flare up (1) including:
- Hot drinks
- Spicy food
- Red wine
- Other alcoholic beverages
- Drugs that dilate your blood vessels (such as ones to treat hypertension)
- Extreme temperatures (hot and cold)
- Excess sunlight or wind
- Strong emotions
- Various cosmetic products
- Alcohol, fragrance, and other harsh exfoliants in skincare
The best skincare for rosacea avoids a lot of these triggers to keep your skin happy and healthy.
How to Care for Rosacea
When it comes to treatment for rosacea, there are several different options. You can choose to go the more physical route with procedures and professionals giving you skin treatments; you can choose to go the medicinal route with oral and topical medication to help treat your rosacea; you can go the just skincare route with gentle, hydrating products perfect for your skin; or you can choose a combination of two or all the routes. We recommend that you talk to your doctor or a medical professional before following any of these routes to make sure that it is right for your skin and won’t cause any complications!
If you choose to get medical procedures done to help your rosacea, there are several different procedures available.
- A professional will use a laser to get rid of some of the larger blood vessels so that they aren’t as noticeable on your face
- A professional will sand off the top layer of your skin
- This procedure is mostly used to get rid of the excess tissue that has built up around the nose and cheeks
- A professional will zap your damaged blood cells with electricity to decrease their size and visibility
If you choose to go on medicines, there are several prescription and over-the-counter ones available.
- Brimonidine is prescribed as a topically applied gel that will tighten blood vessels and thus decrease their visibility and redness
- Azelaic acid is an over-the-counter drug that comes in a gel or a foam and can clear up any bumps, swelling, or redness on your nose and cheek area
- Metronidazole and Doxycycline are both prescription antibiotics that kill the bacteria on your skin, and thus bring down any swelling and help to decrease redness
Isotretinoin (Accutane) is a prescribed acne drug that can help clear up skin bumps caused by subtype 2 rosacea
- This drug should not be used while pregnant
The last route you can take is to treat your rosacea at home and use the best skincare for rosacea to take care of your skin. Because increased sun exposure can trigger rosacea, a daily SPF of at least 30 is highly recommended to protect your skin and decrease further damage. You also want to avoid anything with harsh chemicals in it. This includes skincare products with alcohol, fragrance, witch hazel, or other exfoliating ingredients. The best skincare for rosacea involves gentle, water-based skin care products which won’t aggravate your skin and will help to avoid further outbreaks. For people with subtype 4, your best skincare for rosacea should always include the use of either watered-down baby shampoo or eyelid cleaner to gently clean your eyes every day. (3)
Skincare Steps for Rosacea
Every best skincare routine for rosacea should involve several steps to decrease potential exposure to triggers and nourish your skin. Even if you don’t have rosacea, your skincare routine should consist of:
- Facial Cleanser
- Sunscreen (SPF 30 or more)
- Hydrating moisturizer
- A cream or serum to decrease redness
- (Optional) Skin Neutralizer
In terms of specific products, it depends on your skin mood and what works for you!
We do have several recommendations for you, however, to get your skin healthy fast.
- For a good, gentle face wash try this Gentle Skin Cleanser from Cetaphil
- If you love Cetaphil’s products but would prefer a bar of soap to liquid, try this Gentle Cleansing Bar
- If you are looking for a more targeted face wash that focuses on redness, try this Cetaphil Foaming Face Wash for Redness Prone Skin
- If you are looking for a good, gentle Zinc Oxide sunscreen, try this La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Zinc Oxide Sunscreen to cover-up
- If you want a little bit of coverage with your sunscreen to help cover any redness on your face, this Alastin HydraTint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen can help
- With rosacea, you want to keep your skin hydrated and strong, this La Roche-Posay Double Repair Moisturizer can help give your skin back that hydration
- If you are short on time in the mornings and want to combine a few steps, try this Aveeno Ultra Calming Daily Moisturizer with SPF to hydrate and protect from the sun
- If you want an extra boost of hydration, try Paula’s Choice’s Clear Oil-Free Moisturizer to stay hydrated longer
Cream or Serum
- Creams and serums can help to decrease any redness on the face without using makeup and will keep your skin weightless and happy with no heavy products weighing it down
- For a good cream, try Clinique’s Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream with Microbiome Technology which has a green tint to help counteract the redness in your face
- For a good serum, try La Roche-Posay’s Rosaliac AR Intense Visible Facial Redness Serum to help counteract the redness and provide extra hydration
(Optional) Skin Neutralizer
- While it is optional, a skin neutralizer can help prevent flare-ups from your environment to keep your redness down and decrease the chances of more bumps popping up
- This SkinCeuticals Redness Neutralizer is a great option
Now that you know the facts and hacks of the best skincare for rosacea and how to take care of it otherwise, you are ready to go out and glow like a boss!
Written by Alyssa Thompson