How to Care for Skin with Rosacea

People who are suffering from rosacea often struggle with skin care. Acne, dry skin and seasonal skin problems cause discomfort and embarrassment, but many products that are commercially available contain ingredients and chemicals that can trigger rosacea flare-ups. Knowing what products are more likely to cause flare-ups, what products are safe to use and how to care for rosacea skin can help people with rosacea keep their skin healthy without triggering their condition. These suggestions should be taken into account with advice from your dermatologist; doctors such as Dr. Ilya Reyter, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills, California, can cater specific advice for your unique skin.

What Ingredients are More Likely to Cause Rosacea Flare-Ups?

Rosacea skin is sensitive to irritants like salicylic acid, essential oils, alcohol and other common ingredients in mass-manufactured skin care products. A National Rosacea Society survey found that these ingredients are common triggers in people with rosacea. Some of these ingredients are used to treat acne while others are added to products to produce cooling or tingling sensations during cleansing. Some ingredients such as fragrances are simply intended to make the product more aesthetically pleasing to consumers.

People with rosacea can look at ingredients labels on skin care products before buying them to ensure that they are alcohol-free, sulfate-free, fragrance-free and do not contain salicylic acid, witch hazel, essential oils of eucalyptus or clove, menthol or peppermint. All of these ingredients irritate the skin and can cause a flare-up.

What are Good Skin Care Techniques for Rosacea?

Mild cleansers and gentle moisturizers are key in rosacea skin care. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a foaming agent that is in many commercially-available facial washes, shampoos and shower gels. It can irritate and dry out the skin, which may trigger a flare-up. Cleansers that are sulfate-free and contain glycerin or ceramides may be better for rosacea skin, since they help the skin draw in moisture and do not cause irritation. Some skin care professionals recommend using a humidifier after cleansing to help the skin retain even more moisture.

When washing the face, do not use tools such as washcloths, loofahs or other abrasives. It is best to use gentle motions with the fingertips when cleansing. Using hot or cold water may cause flushing, so use lukewarm water instead.

Dermatologists recommend blot-drying the face with a towel and allowing it to air dry for at least 10 minutes after cleansing before using topical rosacea medications. Apply moisturizer, sunscreen and makeup another 10 minutes after putting on medication.

Using Sunscreen for Rosacea

Sun exposure is one of the most common triggers for rosacea flare-ups. A National Rosacea Society survey found that 81 percent of people who are suffering from rosacea cited sun exposure as a trigger. Wearing sunscreen is critical in preventing flare-ups and reducing the appearance of blood vessels in the face.

It is important to wear sunscreen every day regardless of the weather conditions or season. Even minimal exposure to the sun while moving from home to the car or while running errands can cause redness and damage to the skin. Products with an SPF of at least 15 are most effective. Using a sunscreen formulated to protect from UVA and UVB rays is best. Many products do not protect from both types of radiation, so pay close attention to labels.

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