Consistent, gentle skin care and effective use of makeup can make a visible difference in managing rosacea and improving the look of your skin. The key is to use products and techniques that minimize irritation. One good guide: look for products that are noted as appropriate for sensitive skin or skin with rosacea — and avoid any products that sting, burn or cause irritation.
In a National Rosacea Society survey of 1,066 patients, 41 percent reported that certain skin-care products aggravated their condition and 27 percent said certain cosmetics also caused rosacea flare-ups. To avoid irritation, follow these tips when choosing skin-care and makeup products:
Watch out for common rosacea irritants. In surveys conducted by the National Rosacea Society, many patients cited the following ingredients as triggers for irritation: alcohol (66 percent), witch hazel (30 percent), fragrance (30 percent), menthol (21 percent), peppermint (14 percent) and eucalyptus oil (13 percent). Most respondents said they avoided astringents, exfoliating agents and other types of products that may be too harsh for sensitive skin.
Choose fragrance-free skin-care and makeup products. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, "Fragrances cause more allergic contact dermatitis than any other ingredient." Skin is a vast portal for allergens, and the irritations allergies bring can weaken skin even more. Using fragrance-free and allergy-tested products reduces your risk of skin irritation. Note that "allergy tested" shouldn't be confused with "hypoallergenic," a term that is not clearly defined by the cosmetics industry.
Test a product first. Before using a product on your face, try it on a patch of skin in a peripheral area, such as the neck. If you have a reaction, avoid the product and note the ingredients. Rosacea irritants may vary from person to person, so your individual skin's reaction should be your guide.
Use minimal products. Rosacea patients should also consider reducing the number of items they use on their skin by choosing products with multiple functions.
To Learn More
For useful advice on caring for skin with rosacea, visit these areas of the site.
Acknowledgments: These sections have been reviewed by Dr. Richard Odom, professor of dermatology, University of California-San Francisco, and Dr. Zoe Draelos, consulting professor of dermatology, Duke University.