While sun exposure is one of the most common trigger factors for flare-ups, finding a sunscreen that does not irritate the face can be a challenge for many rosacea sufferers.
"Individuals with rosacea are often uniquely sensitive to topical preparations applied to the face," said Dr. Mark Lebwohl, chairman of Dermatology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, at the recent annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. "For this reason, attention to ingredients can help patients find products that work best for them."
He noted a recent study that found the protective ingredients dimethicone and cyclomethicone may prevent irritation from other sunscreen agents in patients with rosacea.1
In the study, rosacea patients rated the degree of stinging produced after one minute by two different sunscreen preparations. They were instructed to forego makeup and other skin products, and to apply a different sunscreen to either side of the face.
The sunscreen ingredient Padimate O, a para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) ester, caused irritation in many subjects. However, the sunscreen with dimethicone and cyclomethicone as well as PABA was significantly less irritating.
Many physicians also advise rosacea patients to use pediatric sunscreen formulations because they may be gentler and less likely to cause skin irritation.
Nichols K, Desai N, Lebwohl MG: Effective sunscreen ingredients and cutaneous irritation in patients with rosacea. Cutis. 1998;61:344-346.