Rosacea is a skin disorder you can’t hide. It causes constant facial redness, acne-like bumps, or the appearance of broken blood vessels in the skin. It makes the facial skin super sensitive and easily irritated. Patches of skin may feel dry, swollen, rough, or thick, and a face may feel warm and flushed. In people with lighter skin, rosacea causes redness, which may appear as lines or patterns. But in darker skin, it causes discoloration.
This skin disease is also unpredictable. It can flare for a few days, weeks, or even months and then disappear only to come back again randomly.
For people with rosacea, a flare-up can happen with no obvious reasons, but it can be triggered by outside factors such as:
- Alcoholic drinks
- Hot drinks
- Hot or spicy foods
- Cheese and dairy
- Physical and emotional stress
The first step in treating rosacea is figuring out what triggers the flare-ups and avoiding them when you can. The most crucial step starts with consulting a dermatologist so you can get the proper medications and skincare products to deal with your symptoms. Rosacea triggers can differ from person to person. It can be genetic, as well.
There are two main categories of people with rosacea: the flashers and blushers and those who have bumps and post-pimples. The first category includes people who quickly develop facial redness. Initially, the rosacea flare-ups come and go, but over time, it leads to fixed background facial redness. Meanwhile, the other group of rosacea patients also have background redness but develop acne-like spots in the face. These spots are commonly confused with acne, so they tend to treat it like they would treat acne and pimples. But it doesn’t go away because rosacea does not respond to the same treatments as acne.
Rosacea presents as rosiness in all skin types, but it’s harder to see in darker skin tones. This means the condition is often misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed in patients with brown or black skin tone.
Treatments for Rosacea
The treatment that a doctor prescribes depends on the specific skin changes, the triggers, and response to earlier treatments. The FDA approved five ingredients for the treatments of rosacea:
- Metronidazole 0.75% and 1%
This is an antibiotic that may be prescribed in combination with another medication. This may come in the form of cream, gel, or lotion, and it can help reduce discoloration, inflammation, and oxidative stress.
- Azelaic acid 15%
Azelaic acid is a common treatment for papulopustular rosacea. This treatment works by inhibiting the production of reactive oxygen species in immune cells.
- Brimonidine 0.33%
Brimonidine works by constricting blood vessels on the surface of the skin, which helps with persistent rosacea.
- Ivermectin 1%
Ivermectin is an effective treatment for papulopustular rosacea. It treats the skin condition by easing inflammation, fighting microbes, and targeting the demodex mites in the skin. It can also reduce the appearance of blemishes and bumps associated with rosacea.
- Sulfacetamide 10% with sulfur 5%
Sulfacetamide with sulfur have been effective rosacea treatments in the past, but now they are second-line treatments because of the newer agents available in the market that are safer for the skin.
Remember that your dermatologist will know the best treatment option for you as they diagnose and check your condition. Do not self-medicate. These treatments are not available over the counter. But if you can’t make it to a dermatologist in person, virtual appointments are also reliable, and some dermatologists are currently offering them.
Skincare Products to Deal with Rosacea
If you want to go the over-the-counter route, you still got your options. You can use gentle skincare products with redness-reducing and anti-inflammatory ingredients to help keep irritation and flushing to a minimum.
When shopping for skincare products, always read the list of ingredients before you buy. Avoid anything that contains these ingredients, for it can worsen your symptoms, dry and irritate your skin:
- Glycolic acid
- Lactic acid
- Sodium laurel sulfate
1. Cleansers and face washes
People with rosacea must cleanse and moisturize their faces daily. It is to help reduce the appearance of symptoms and keep them from flaring up. However, people with rosacea often don’t wash their skin enough, and that’s understandable if their skin already feels irritated.
To cleanse without further irritating the skin, here are some tips dermatologists recommend:
- Choose a mild, gentle, rosacea-friendly cleanser. Avoid fragranced products to prevent irritation.
- Apply the cleanser gently with your fingers using a circular motion.
- Rinse off the cleanser using lukewarm water. Ensure you thoroughly rinse your skin because if some of the cleansers stay on your skin, it may cause irritation.
- Pat your face gently with a clean towel.
Here are some rosacea-friendly cleansers you can use for your face:
- Aveeno Active Naturals Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser
- Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Cream Cleanser
- Vanicream Free & Clear Liquid Cleanser
- Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
- CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
Whether rosacea makes your skin dry or oily, moisturizer is a must. It will help hydrate your skin and reduce irritation, making your skin feel more comfortable. Applying a rosacea-friendly moisturizer or a barrier repair cream can help improve the results from getting treatment. So, along with your doctor-recommended cream or gel, applying moisturizers with it can lessen dryness, peeling, and roughness.
Check out these gentle moisturizers you can use if you have rosacea:
- La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer
- Cetaphil Redness Relieving Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 20
- Differin Restorative Night Moisturizer
Sunlight can worsen rosacea, and it’s actually the most common cause of a rosacea flare-up. Even people with dark skin can have a rosacea flare-up after being outdoors in the sun.
To reduce flare-ups, wear sunscreen to protect your sensitive skin. Apply a gentle sunscreen before going outdoors, even on cloudy days. Look for sunscreens with:
- Zinc oxide, titanium oxide, or both
- SPF 30 or higher
- Broad-spectrum protection
- Silicone (may be listed as dimethicone or cyclomethicone)
- No fragrance or fragrance-free (but if it says “unscented,” choose another because it still contains fragrance)
Here are some amazing sunscreens that can effectively and gently protect your skin:
Creams are friendlier to skin with rosacea and use this instead of lotion or gel. Creams act as a moisturizer as well.
These creams can combat redness and provide relief to your skin condition:
- Era Organics Rosacea Redness Relief Cream
- Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream
- Bioderma Sensibio AR Cream
- Aveeno Ultra-Calming Nourishing Night Cream
5. Other rosacea-friendly skincare products
To make your skin look better and healthier, you may want to use other skincare products like serums, face acids, essences, and masks.
Some products can help ease rosacea symptoms, like these ones: