Rosacea: What To Avoid & The Best Derm-Approved Treatments


rosacea skincare tips

Rosacea can be tricky to ID. Random red patches, irritated bumps, and occasional breakouts can seem like acne or just your average PMS-related skin issues, but these can also be signs of rosacea. And if you know, you’ll know how difficult it can be to soothe or calm a rosacea flare-up.

“Rosacea is a genetic skin condition that entails inflammation of the sebaceous, or oil glands of the skin and flushing of the skin,” explains Dr. Purvisha Patel, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare. “It presents in many ways: some people just get flushing and redness of their faces, some people get pimples and an acne-like eruption, eye dryness, and some people get a burning sensation of the skin of the face.”

Luckily, knowing the dos and don’ts when it comes to rosacea helps big time, as does correctly identifying if you actually have it. “Seeing a board-certified dermatologist is important if you think you have rosacea, as there is prescription medication that can help the process,” says Patel. “If left alone, the chronic inflammation from rosacea can cause increased size of the oil glands and can change the shape of facial features such as noses – a condition called Rhinophyma.” Patel adds that prescription medications commonly used are Metronidazole, a topical antibiotic, Azelaic acid, and ivermectin topically.

laser genesisSource: Geinz Angelina/Shutterstock

In addition to prescription meds, there are a few more products and treatments that can alleviate some of the physical effects of rosacea. Commit these expert tips to memory, then stock up on these rosacea healers to get your skin in check.

7 Things You Should Never Do if You have Rosacea:

1. Avoid extreme temperatures: According to celebrity dermatologist Dennis Gross, you should never wash your face with really hot (or really cold) water, as this can irritate sensitive skin. Only use lukewarm water.

2. Do not use physical exfoliators: “This can cause micro-tears in your dermis and irritate your skin,” says Dr. Gross.

3. Be mindful of your diet: We hate to say it, but Dr. Gross also advises nixing red wine, caffeine, and spicy food, which can cause flare-ups.

4. Use only soothing ingredients: “Avoid products that have high concentrations of active ingredients and things like synthetic fragrance, that can give skin a burning or itching sensation,” says Gross. “Instead, look for products with oatmeal and chamomile with Lactic and Mandelic acid, which are all soothing ingredients.”

5. Avoid potent ingredients: Amy Fu, H2O+ director of R&D, says more skincare ingredients to avoid if you have rosacea include: alcohol, witch hazel, menthol, camphor, eucalyptus oil, peppermint, and glycolic acid.

6. Don’t spend too much time in the sun: Too much fun in the sun can be harmful as well. Fu recommends always using sunscreen to protect from ultraviolet rays, a rosacea trigger. We suggest a mineral sunscreen made with Zinc oxide, which is simultaneously soothing and protective.

7. Avoid treatments that use heat: According to Paul Jarrod Frank, cosmetic dermatologist, chief medical officer and founder of PFRANKMD, any treatments that cause extreme heat are not recommended for rosacea-prone individuals. “Pico Laser and Fraxel, if not performed at appropriate settings, can affect rosacea,” he adds.

7 Treatments and Products That Help Calm Rosacea:

1. Hydrating products: “My favorite treatments for rosacea are the Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel, $88, and B3 Adaptive SuperFood Stress SOS Rescue Serum, $74, explains Gross. “They both have hydrating, soothing ingredients that reduce irritation, inflammation, and reduce redness.”

Dr.Dennis-GrossSource: Dr. Dennis Gross

2. Azelaic Acid: “People with rosacea have sensitive skin and using products with retinol or benzoyl peroxide can cause the skin to get red and inflamed, making the rosacea worse,” says Patel. “Harsh exfoliating cleansers with microbeads and acids can also make the skin more inflamed and red, but Azelaic acid is an ingredient in prescription medications that is helpful to calm down rosacea. This is also found in Visha Skincare Mommy Brightener Serum, $65.”

VishaSource: Visha Skincare

3. Gentle cleansers: Patel suggests gentle cleansers and soaps such as Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, $14 or CeraVe Hydrating Face Wash, $15, for skin with rosacea.

Cetaphil-et-Cerave-CleanserSource: Cetaphil, CeraVe

4. Rosewater: “Rosewater is an anti-inflammatory, which is calming for sensitive skin,” says Franks. “This is great for people who have redness, rosacea, or eczema since rose water contains antioxidants and can also enhance mood with a mild scent.” Our pick: Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater, $12.

Mario-BadescuSource: Mario Badescu

5. Cryotherapy: While heat may be the enemy of rosacea, cold is not. “Cryotherapy is really good for rosacea and I use it in my Signature PFRANKMD Paparazzi Facial, says Frank. “Cryotherapy is liquid nitrogen delivered to the skin and is a great quick fix for various skin concerns, to make you look great for any occasion. With its anti-inflammatory properties, it treats acne and rosacea while decreasing puffiness of the face from water retention. It also gives an immediate dewy glow and feels great.”

6. Probiotic skincare: Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer, $52, decreases signs of rosacea, thanks to ingredients such as probiotic Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, red seaweed, and ginger extract. Not only do they help speed up the skin’s natural renewal process, but they reduce inflammation, irritation, redness, environmental damage, discoloration, and even pore size, in the interim.

Biossance-SqualaneSource: Biossance

7. Soothing products: Fu loves the H2O+ Hydration Sensitive Gel Cleanser, $25, which gently removes makeup and impurities without stripping the skin. “The silky formula lightly foams and rinses off, leaving skin feeling hydrated and soothed. It features clean ingredients that help replenish moisture and reduce redness, is non-irritating, non-sensitizing, dermatologist-tested and formulated without synthetic fragrance,” she adds.

H2O-Gel-CleanserSource: H20+

For more amazing product recommendations, check out 9 products to soothe rosacea.