Skin Care

When you have been diagnosed with rosacea, skin care is vital to controlling the redness, pustules, and dryness that can occur. Washing your face with whatever soap you grab is not enough. You can’t use products designed for acne; they worsen the symptoms. Instead, you have weeks and months of trial and error to find the right products.

Toss Out Everything You Own

You’re really going to be starting from scratch. Things with heavy perfumes are not helpful to the redness. In fact, perfumes can irritate the red face you’re experiencing. This is only the start. Five common skin care ingredients that can irritate skin affected by rosacea are:

  • Alcohol
  • Menthol/Eucalyptus
  • Mint oil
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Witch Hazel

Another thing about any facial product is that they should be tossed and replaced every few months because of the potential for bacteria growth. I replace my makeup once a year. I do it on my birthday so that I don’t forget and also have an excuse to go out shopping for my birthday!

Start With a Rosacea Facial Cleanser

When you’re starting over, you want a gentle, perfume-free facial cleanser. Avoid any that exfoliate the skin as scrubbing the skin can worsen your red face. Dermatologists often recommend CeraVe to start you off, but that cleanser didn’t work well for me. I found SebaMed worked better. Here are three other highly recommended face washes for rosacea:

CLn offers a facial wash for rosacea that received an award from the National Eczema Association. Its built-in moisturizers help prevent the dryness that some people with rosacea experience.
La Roche-Posay has an entire line of cleansing products for extremely sensitive skin. Many people with rosacea find these cleansers to be the best there are at reducing redness without drying the skin.
Mario Badescu sells a line of products that help clean the skin without harsh ingredients. He even breaks down his facial wash for rosacea into two varieties: one for makeup removal and one for those who skip makeup.

Many of these companies offer trials of their products to get you started. Test it in an inconspicuous area, such as the forehead that you can hide with bangs. Give a product a few days to see if it helps or worsens your rosacea. If it’s not helping, move on to the next.

Use Makeup Sparingly

If you work in the public, makeup is essential at hiding your facial redness. Stick to mineral based foundations, blushes, and eye makeup. Brands like bareMinerals, Sephora’s Redness Solutions line, and IT Cosmetics are great brands to try out.

When it comes to red face solutions for cosmetics, less is best. I find what works best for me is a mineral foundation and sunscreen in one. Due to my ocular rosacea, I avoid eyeshadow and eyeliner as they irritate my eyes. I also avoid blush – like I need more redness on my cheeks anyway – and I use a light colored lip gloss to avoid matching my facial redness.

If you can, try foundations or concealers that contain some green. It helps tone the redness. I use Physician’s Formula Super CC+ foundation and sunscreen in one, but I only wear makeup about once a week at most. Foundation and a clear lip gloss are the most I wear. If I’m going out to a party, I will add a little Physician’s Formula eyeshadow below the lower eyelashes as an eyeliner. I cannot do more than that or my eyes will eventually begin to itch and water.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

Keeping your skin moisturized is important. Even if you develop pustules, you need to care for your skin. Now that I’m in my 40s and crow’s feet are starting to develop, I’m wishing I took better care when it came to moisturizers. There are two that work well for me, but again, every case of rosacea is different, so you’ll need to test them out to find the product that’s best for your red face.

I use CeraVe AM during the day as it contains broad spectrum sunscreen. Broad spectrum is important to prevent against both UVA and UVB rays. At night, I use the PM form that’s a little heavier. In past winters, my worst areas of rosacea-affected skin (cheeks, forehead, and chin) would dry out, crack, and even bleed. CeraVe PM prevented that this winter, and that’s with temperatures of well below -20F through much of January and February.

Some people with Rosacea swear by coconut oil. You can buy that in grocery stores, natural food stores, and even places like Costco. I find it clogs my pores, but it's worth a shot!