Rosacea: Do's and Don'ts
By Maren Stratte and Elizabeth G Stratte, MD
Do you suffer from Rosacea? Rosacea is a chronic but treatable condition that primarily affects the central face, and is often characterized by flare-ups and remissions. Although rosacea may develop in many ways and at any age (for men, women and children), patient surveys indicate that it typically begins any time after age 30 as flushing or redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that may come and go. There is no known cause or cure to rosacea, however flare-ups can be managed!
Here are few tips to help control the condition and feel more comfortable.
1. Learn what triggers your rosacea.
Many everyday occurrences, such as becoming overheated or feeling stressed, can cause a rosacea flare up. Anything that causes rosacea to flare is called a trigger. While there are many rosacea triggers, what triggers one person’s rosacea may not be a trigger for you.
Triggers can include:
- Hot beverages are a common trigger. Let your drink cool down until it is just warm, or drink iced tea or coffee.
- Alcohol intake may trigger rosacea. Red wine may be the biggest offender. Therefore drink white instead of red wine. Add soda or lemonade to white wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages to lessen the amount of alcohol. Limit yourself to 1 or 2 drinks, and have a large glass of cold water after each drink.
- Spicy foods can make your rosacea worse. Consider choosing milder versions of your favorite spicy foods.
2. Pay attention to your eyes.
If you do nothing else, do this! You want to watch for signs of irritated or red eyes. Rosacea of the skin can manifest itself as ocular rosacea which can be a chronic issue if not managed early. If you notice any irritation or other eye problems, call your dermatologist or eye doctor right away. More than half the people who have rosacea develop an eye problem at some point such as dry eyes, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light.
3. Be gentle with your skin.
Rosacea can make your skin extremely sensitive. Your skin can feel uncomfortable if you wash your face with a washcloth, use skin care products that contain fragrance or astringents, or even go outdoors without applying a sunscreen. Therefore, be sure to use gentle cleansers (such as Avène Antirougeurs CLEAN Refreshing Cleansing Lotion*) and moisturizers (such as Avène Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream*, Avène Tolérance Extrême Cream*, or Vanicream Moisturizing Cream*) which will not only reduce flares but calm the skin.
To sooth inflamed skin, we reccomend Avène Thermal Spring Water*. This remarkable spring water has been effective at relieving skin conditions for more than two and a half centuries, and can be used throughout the day or immediately after cleansing the skin for optimum relief.
Look out for ingredients that help quell flareups like niacinamide. Niacinamide, a topical version of vitamin B-3, is an antioxidant that helps with acne, rosacea and eczema. Not only does it relieve redness, it will also help your retinol permeate deeper into the skin.
"It's kind of a miracle ingredient for rosacea prone skin, and we can't get enough of it!", says Dr. Stratte. "Anyone that clearer more even skin will benefit, but it's a godsend for rosacea." Our favorite products with niacinamide are PCA ReBalance Moisturizer*, and Obagi Daily Hydro-Drops Facial Serum*.
4. Protect your skin from the sun.
Just a few minutes in the sun can cause your rosacea to flare. Make sure to use a sunscreen that's at least SPF 40 and to reapply throughout the day. Every two hours if you spend a lot of time in the sun. We recommend EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46* with niacinamide, or a mineral sunscreen (Colorscience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield SPF 50 or Avène Mineral High Protection Tinted Compact SPF 50*).To touch up throughout the day, our go to is the Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Face Shield SPF 50*. “I keep it in the center console of my car and brush it on every time I drive to make sure I’m always protected,” says Dr. Stratte.
5. Choose make-up which is gentle and non irritating to the skin.
Reducing irritants on the skin is vital with rosacea prone skin. Natural or mineral based foundations like Jane Iredale’s Glow Time Full Coverage Mineral BBB Cream SPF 25* will both protect and reduce irritants to the skin. Combined with the Colorescience All-Calm Corrective Kit for Redness Kit* that has the green tinted All Calm™ Clinical Redness Corrector SPF 50 primer which instantly neutralizes redness in the skin, skin will appear clear and the redness will be treated without making a flareup worse.
* available in our Skin Solutions Store