Managing Rosacea

Personal Care

Proper skin care is an important component of effective rosacea management, as patients often have skin that is sensitive and easily irritated, causing redness, inflammation and stinging.

It is therefore important to take particular care to select cleansers and moisturizers that do not irritate your skin. Because of the broad range of potential ingredients, a useful rule of thumb may be to avoid any products that cause burning, stinging or itching.

Because rosacea skin may be particularly susceptible to sun damage and resulting flare-ups, sunscreens or sunblocks effective against the full spectrum of ultraviolet A and B radiation can be especially important. An SPF of 15 or higher is recommended, and sunblocks utilizing zinc or titanium dioxide may be effective if chemical sunscreens cause irritation.

Be sure to follow instructions on facial cleansing and topical medication application, as these may be critical to avoiding irritation, burning and stinging. Wash your face gently with a non-irritating cleanser, avoiding abrasive materials such as a rough washcloth or loofah. Use lukewarm — not hot or cold — water, and blot, rather than rub, the face dry with a soft towel. Then wait up to 30 minutes for your face to dry completely before applying topical medication or other products, as stinging may more often occur when the skin is wet rather than dry.

After your cleansing routine has been established and your face is not irritated, you may try reducing the amount of skin-drying time by five minutes each day to determine the shortest waiting time in your individual case.

After thorough cleansing of the face and applying prescribed topical medication, wait an additional five minutes before applying a sunscreen, moisturizer or any other skin-care product.

As a general rule, men with rosacea should use an electric shaver to avoid the irritation of a dull blade. Men should also avoid any shaving creams or lotions that cause burning or stinging.

The skillful application of cosmetics can often be used with great success to conceal the effects of rosacea. Products with a green or yellow tint can reduce the appearance of redness, and cover makeup can be used to correct the appearance of visible blood vessels, bumps and pimples. A cosmetologist or esthetician may be able to advise you on effective techniques, and your dermatologist may provide guidance on the best product choices for your skin.

As with skin care, be sure to avoid cosmetics that cause burning, stinging, itching or other discomfort. It may also be advisable to avoid waterproof cosmetics or other products that can be difficult to remove, requiring the use of harsh agents that may cause irritation.

Brushes are preferred over sponges to avoid abrasion and because brushes can be easily cleaned. New cosmetics should be purchased about every three months to minimize the potential for degradation or contamination.

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