Gentle is the way in Rosacea Management
Rosacea is a skin condition that causes various types of sensitivity and inflammation of the skin. These hallmarks of inflammation need to be soothed and calmed, and to do that, one must practice gentle skincare.
Gentle skincare is all about minimising irritation that otherwise can cause the skin to flare up. It’s important to remember that this includes avoiding both chemical and mechanical irritants. It’s not just the products you use, but also how you apply them.
Here are some tips to help you practice gentle skincare.
Look at the ingredient list.
You can tell which products are more likely to irritate your skin by checking its formulation. Avoid those that have ingredients such as menthol, alcohol, camphor, fragrances and sodium lauryl sulfate. Now here is something that may shock you. Avoid essential oils! Dermatologist Dr Chris Jalilian says to avoid ingredients that contain ‘botanicals’. “These are more likely to do more harm than good”. Go for products that are labelled as “mild”, “gentle”, “non-irritating”, or “for sensitive skin”. Run away from toners, even if it’s suggested that they may be OK to use in sensitive skin. Rosacea needs no toning!
You should apply these guidelines to anything that touches your face. For example, sodium lauryl sulfate is often found in shampoos and toothpaste. The residue from these products could cause redness in the forehead or around the mouth for example.
“Avoid menthol, alcohol, camphor, fragrances, sodium lauryl sulfate and essential oils. These are more likely to do more harm than good”.
Consider the two staple ingredients for rosacea skincare, Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) and Vitamin A (retinols). Our favourites are Propaira Skin Defence serum with 10% niacinamide and The Skincare Company’s Vitamin A which glides on the skin so elegantly. As for a gentle moisturiser, our pick is La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra Light Sensitive Moisturiser.
Do a patch test
Each person’s skin is different from the next. So what will work for one person may not necessarily work for you. To make sure that the product you are purchasing is right for your skin, do a patch test first. Place a small amount on your jawline or somewhere that is not so obvious. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes to see if it will cause a reaction. If it causes redness, itching, or dryness, best leave it on the shelf.
Cleanse twice a day
To complement your prescribed rosacea treatment, it is important to cleanse twice a day. It’s best to use products that have a slightly acidic or neutral pH to mimic the skin’s natural state.
“Blot your skin dry rather than rubbing and use a soft towel to dry your skin then allow your face to air dry for a further 5 to 10 minutes before you put on your creams”.
The goal is to remove oil and residue from the face as gently as possible. Avoid using washcloths or face brushes as they can be abrasive. Instead, use your fingertips and gently move it against your face in circular motions using a light touch. Wash away the cleanser with lukewarm water as temperature extremes can trigger rosacea. “Blot your skin dry rather than rubbing and use a soft towel to dry your skin” says Dr Chris Jalilian. “Then allow your face to air dry for a further 5 to 10 minutes before you put on your creams”.
People who suffer from rosacea have skin that is sensitive and easily damaged. Proper moisturisation helps repair that barrier and protect the skin, which results in improved skin appearance and increased comfort.
When you find a gentle, non-irritating moisturiser that works for you, apply it as often as you want. With clean hands, dab it gently onto your face and enjoy the relief from dryness. You don’t need a lot of moisturiser to cover your face, just enough for a thin coat.
Apply sunscreen everyday
Sunscreen is one of the cornerstones of rosacea management. Use a broad-spectrum product with at least SPF 30+. Physical filters such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide may not be easy to blend into the face, but these are less likely to irritate the face, making them the active ingredients to look out for when shopping for sunscreen.
Make sure to apply every 2-3 hours during the day when outdoors, regardless of the weather or your location.
Combining gentle products with gentle application can significantly improve the effectiveness of medical rosacea treatments. But as with any skincare routine, consistency is key. Make it a habit to take care of your skin by cleansing, moisturising, and applying sunscreen, and you’re sure to see (and feel!) the results.
Purpose of this information
The information presented on this website and in this article is for general information and example purposes only, does not contain health advice specific for users and must not be relied on for that purpose. Please see your GP, dermatologist or other health care professional for specific advice.
Levin, Jacquelyn & Miller, Richard. (2011). A Guide to the Ingredients and Potential Benefits of Over-the-Counter Cleansers and Moisturizers for Rosacea Patients. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology. 4. 31-49.
Santoro, F., Lachmann, N. An Open-Label, Intra-Individual Study to Evaluate a Regimen of Three Cosmetic Products Combined with Medical Treatment of Rosacea: Cutaneous Tolerability and Effect on Hydration. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb) 9, 775–784 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13555-019-00331-4