What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a common facial skin condition seen in over 16 million people in the United States. When you have rosacea, your skin becomes sensitive to certain creams and makeup. Follow these rosacea skin care tips to relieve the symptoms and take special care of your facial skin.
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition. It causes redness and small, acne-like bumps on your face. Its cause is unknown, but it can be treated to help reduce symptoms. Rosacea flare-ups come and go, but avoiding triggers is especially effective.
Rosacea subtypes and symptoms
There are four rosacea subtypes. Each subtype has its own set of symptoms. It is possible to have more than one subtype of rosacea at a time:
1. Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea
Its symptoms include:
- Redness and flushing on the face
- Broken or widened blood vessels
- Swollen, sensitive, or burning skin
- Dry, rough, or scaly skin
2. Papulopustular or acne rosacea
It commonly affects middle-aged women. Symptoms include:
- Red skin
- Acne-like breakouts
- Bumps or papules on skin
- Broken blood vessels
- Oily skin
- Sensitive or burning skin
3. Phymatous or skin thickening rosacea
This rare subtype typically affects men and occurs with other rosacea subtypes. It has the following symptoms:
- Thickening of the skin on the nose, chin, forehead, cheeks, and/or ears
- Bumpy skin
- Large pores
- Broken blood vessels
- Oily skin
4. Ocular rosacea
This subtype affects the eyes and has the following symptoms:
- Red and watery eyes
- Gritty feeling in eyes
- Burning, stinging, dry, or itchy eyes
- Sensitivity to light and diminished vision
- Cysts on eyelids
- Broken blood vessels on eyelids
Although the causes of rosacea are unknown, the following triggers may worsen your rosacea symptoms:
- Exposure to sunlight
- Heat, including overly hot baths, showers, or beverages
- Wind and cold
- Exercise and sweating
- Spicy foods
- Skin care or hair products
- Makeup products
- Some medications for blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, migraines, or glaucoma
- Vitamin B3 supplements
Rosacea skin care tips
Rosacea can’t be cured. But avoiding the above-mentioned triggers can help you prevent the symptoms. Here are some skin care tips to help you control and decrease rosacea flare-ups:
1. Identify your trigger
You can prevent rosacea flare-ups if you know what is triggering them. Maintain a diary of foods you include in your diet and makeup products you use. This can help you identify the cause of your rosacea and relieve your symptoms. Also, check if any of your medications cause rosacea flare-ups. Consult with your doctor for alternative medication.
2. Be gentle while cleaning your face
Rosacea can worsen if you’re not gentle with your skin. Avoid harsh treatments, rubbing, scrubbing, or exfoliating your skin. Use rosacea-friendly skincare products.
Gently clean your face twice a day with a mild, rosacea-friendly cleanser. Avoid using soap as it can irritate your skin and worsen your symptoms. Use your fingertips to thoroughly rinse your face with lukewarm water. Pat your face gently with a clean cotton towel.
3. Moisturize your skin daily
Rosacea can leave your skin dry or oily. Regardless, use a rosacea-friendly moisturizer to hydrate your skin. This will reduce dryness, roughness, and irritation and make your skin feel better.
4. Avoid direct sunlight
Sunlight is one of the most common triggers of rosacea. Exposure to the sun can worsen your rosacea flare-ups. Research suggests using a rosacea-safe, broad-spectrum sunscreen with the sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or greater to protect your skin from sun damage.
5. Avoid rosacea irritants
When shopping for cosmetics and skin care products, check the labels before buying. Avoid products containing astringents, abrasives, and exfoliating agents as they can irritate sensitive skin. Choose gentle cleansers and oil-free, water-based products. If you’re confused about which product to buy, consult with your dermatologist.
Avoid products that contain the following rosacea irritants:
- Witch hazel
- Glycolic acid
- Lactic acid
- Sodium laurel sulfate
6. Perform a patch test before buying cosmetics and skin care products
If you’re trying a new product, test it first. You can dab a bit of the product on your arm or neck to check if it reacts with your skin. If you feel stinging, burning, or itching after using the product, avoid using it.
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Coping with rosacea
Rosacea can be a life-long condition, but identifying and avoiding rosacea triggers can help you manage the condition.
If you find it difficult to manage, know that you’re not alone. You can join support groups to cope with rosacea and even consult with your doctor for an antibiotic-based treatment plan.