Since I was diagnosed with rosacea over a year ago, many of you have reached out asking if you have rosacea or how to cope with it. After living with my rosacea for a year, I’ve gotten a better handle on how to deal with it. For those of you who don’t know, rosacea is a common but incurable chronic skin condition. It often gives you the appearance of a red face. Othertimes, it causes you to break out. My skintype is sensitive. I’ve got combination skin, with normal to dry cheeks and under eye area. My t-zone gets oily. My eyelids are super oily. For the longest time I felt like almost everything broke me out, now I know a lot of it ties into rosacea.
Visit the Dermatologist
The first step if you think you have rosacea is get to a dermatologist and get diagnosed. You may or may not have it. Women are three times more likely than men to have it. For me, before I was diagnosed, every time I washed my face it would turn red and my face would get so hot that my glasses would steam up! The skin was irritated. I would break out all too often. It sucked. That’s part of why I would slather on foundation on every visible inch of skin because I was ashamed that my skin always looked blotchy and I didn’t want anyone to see it. I was very self conscious.
Get it Under Control
Once you’ve been diagnosed with rosacea you need to get on medication to get it under control and stop irritating your skin. To begin with I was told to use products with colloidal oatmeal like Aveeno’s cleanser or super moisturizing products Cetaphil cleanser. It took me a while to find a great cruelty free option – Abbey St. Clare’s Aniba Cleanser (see my review here). Basically you want a moisturizing cleanser that doesn’t irritate the skin or cause drying. Honestly, I think making the change from the other cleansers I used (which often were nice) to one that is moisturizing like Aniba made a huge difference.
Use Moisturizer with High SPF
You also want to use a strong moisturizer with SPF every day. This isn’t a problem for me. I’ve used Moisturizer with SPF every day since I was 20 (and I wish I had started sooner!). You want at least SPF 30 in the Summer and at least SPF 20 in the winter. Right now I’ve been using Supergoop! Save Face SPF 35+ A.m. Moisturizer (see my review) non-stop. I’ve been putting some Paula’s Choice RESIST Super Antioxidant Serum (see my review) beneath it for a little extra kick of moisture.
There are many different medications available to help control rosacea. Currently, I control my rosacea with Metronidazole .75% cream (generic for Metrogel) and Aczone 5% gel. Metronidazole is basically an anti-inflammatory cream. Aczone is what I use only if I’m having a flare up and see zits (yuck). When I’ve got my skin under control, I use Metronidazole only once a week. When I’m experiencing a flare, I use it daily. Aczone is one I have to be really careful with because it can dry out my skin to the point that everything hurts. Not good!
Find Your Triggers
After you’ve gotten your skin under control, you need to figure out what your triggers are. Triggers cause flare ups. Possible triggers are sun exposure, stress, hot weather, heavy exercise, alcohol, hot baths, hot tubs, cold weather, spicy foods, humidity, skincare products, cosmetics, other foods, etc. There are a lot of potential triggers out there so if you’re noticing a flare up you may want to keep a rosacea journal to help you figure out a pattern. My triggers tend to be too much sun, too much humidity and heat, too long in the hot tub, cold weather, some skincare products, and some makeup products. It’s different for every one.
Another trigger for me has been makeup wipes and sometimes makeup removers. Right now, the absolute best makeup removers that do not irritate my skin are the Urban Decay Melt Down Makeup Remover, Paula’s Choice Gentle Touch Makeup Remover (see my review), and Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentrate (see my review). Both the UD and Embryolisse moisturize as they remove makeup, leaving my skin feeling soft.
Like so many good things in life, practice moderation if one of your triggers is something you love. I know that I can do some things, like take a hot shower, hot bath, or hang out in the hot tub, but for no longer than 30 minutes or my skin will start to complain. After an hour I’ll actually be in pain because my face will start burning.
Don’t Over Exfoliate
I used to be the queen of exfolation and I would exfoliate way too often. In retrospect I probably irritated my skin. Now I know better. I use my konjac sponge (see my review) daily to cleanse my face in the morning and the evening. I then use the Foreo Luna (see my review) twice a week to deep clean. Though, let’s be real, I love to break out the Luna to give myself a facial massage almost daily, too! I also really like using the Ellen Lange Retexturizing skin peel kit (see my review). That has to be one of the easiest, best ways to get rid of dead skin cells, make sure my pores are squeaky clean, and leaves my skin super soft.
There are a few products that are soothing and can help if you’ve just triggered a reaction. Paula’s Choice CLINICAL Instant Calm Advanced Redness Relief (see my review) can help. I’ve also heard great things about DERMAdoctor Calm Cool & Corrected anti-redness tranquility cream, but I haven’t tried it yet. I’m actually debating keeping the Paula’s Choice product in my car or purse (I wish there was a perfect purse size) so that if I’m out and something triggers it I can take care of it.
If you’re experiencing a flare up and you’re bothered by it, like I am when I flare, you can use makeup to cover your flare up. It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation Replenishment (pressed mineral foundation, see my review) is a full coverage foundation that my aesthetician says is good to wear after I have a facial peel. It also helps if I’m having a rosacea flare because it covers up the redness without causing flakiness. You can also wear Meow Cosmetics Pampered Puss loose mineral foundation (see my review), which is ultra soothing. I would also recommend the Cover FX CC Cream (see my review) because it’s vegan, has great coverage, and doesn’t contain any of the inflammatory ingredients including gluten, mineral or talc. I’ve also had people suggest green color correcting primers and powders to me, but I’ve never had one work to my satisfaction. They seem to work a little, but not enough.
This is what I’ve learned in the past year of dealing with rosacea. To prevent flare ups, I need to be mindful of my triggers. If I’m going to indulge in something that can trigger a flare up, I need to use moderation (like only a half hour in the hot tub). I need to be mindful of what skincare products I’m using and always use a moisturizing cleanser. I’m extremely sensitive to heat and humidity. Extreme heat actually seems to be my worst trigger. Don’t over exfoliate in the quest for cleaner pores, smoother skin, and no dry patches. Use foundations that don’t irritate the skin.
What are your tips and favorite products for dealing with rosacea?