Skin Care Guide for Rosacea

On Sep 16, 2013

Man with Rosacea on Cheeks and Nose
Rosacea on face of elderly man.  Erythema, telangiectasia, inflammatory papules and pustules are seen.
Image Source: Wikipedia Creative Commons

If you turn red easily—regardless of whether or not you’re hot, embarrassed, flustered, or stressed—and have noticeable thin red vessels and an acne-like eruption without whiteheads or blackheads in the middle of your face, then it’s likely that you have rosacea. Rosacea is an embarrassing and frustrating skin condition that tends to affect people who are fair-skinned and over the age of 30 and usually requires the care of a dermatologist and prescription medication.

Rosacea needs to be treated appropriately since it can get progressively worse, and in the worst-case-scenario, it can become disfiguring. However, there are things you can do at home to help reduce inflammation and minimize outbreaks to support the medication prescribed by your doctor.

Protect your skin from harsh weather conditions.

One major trigger for rosacea flare-ups is extremes of temperature and humidity. Entering a dry, heated room after walking outside in the snow during winter can be a shock to your skin and trigger a flare-up, just as the dry desert heat during the day can cause your rosacea to worsen. Wear SPF at all times to protect your skin from the sun. Moisturize with gentle, fragrance-free, paraben-free, and sulfate-free products during the winter to keep the skin moisturized and protected against the changing wind and temperature conditions. Avoid saunas, steam rooms, and hot tubs as much as possible.

Review your skin care products for hidden irritants. 

Many common facial cleansers, moisturizers, serums, creams, and other ointments contain a litany of ingredients—and not all of them are necessarily good for your skin. Ingredients like alcohol, witch hazel, physical exfoliants like crushed walnut shells or tiny beads, retinoids, alpha hydroxyl acids, benzoyl peroxide (which is often used to treat acne) can all be extremely irritating to sensitive skin, and can cause a rosacea flare-up. Parabens and sulfates are present in almost all beauty products, and have been linked to a variety of health issues, including cancer, and should be avoided as well.

While choosing natural, botanical ingredients seems like a safe choice, double check the product to make sure that it doesn’t have a hidden irritant. After all, witch hazel and crushed walnut shells are both natural, but both cause outbreaks as well.

Treat mild cases of rosacea outbreaks with sulfur-based products.

Sulfer based products for rosacea treatment
Elemental Sulfur
Image Source: Wikipedia Creative Commons

While a topical antibiotic is more likely to clear up a minor flare-up more quickly, for smaller outbreaks, you can try over-the-counter options that contain sulfur. Often found in acne products, sulfur is considered a classic treatment for rosacea as it eases the inflammation that comes with an outbreak, and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities that may help combat some of the causes of rosacea.  Look for sulfur soaps, or products designed to combat acne with sulfur (but make sure it doesn’t contain any of the skin irritants mentioned above).

Avoid over-exfoliation.

Many people who suffer from rosacea outbreaks are inclined to attack their face with more vigor in exfoliation, mistakenly believing that the acne is due to clogged pores. However, using a washcloth, scrubs, or other implements to “clean” your delicate, inflamed skin, will only make the situation much worse. Steer clear of anything that might irritate your skin further, which includes overzealous exfoliation.

Rosacea may seem socially debilitating, but with the help of topical and oral antibiotics, and a careful, gentle skin care regimen, these unsightly flare-ups can be gotten under control. Don’t treat rosacea like any other acne outbreak—your skin is more delicate and requires gentler care than in those cases.

Gwen Eve Lewis​Gwen Eve Lewis is a freelance writer who works with Fair and Flawless and writes about a variety of subjects from beauty and health to entertainment. She loves sharing her favorite skincare tips and finds that the best way to treat any type of skin is to use a simple and gentle routine. 

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