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:‌

IMAGES

Rosacea Browse our medical image collection of bacterial skin conditions such as follicultis, scarlet fever, and more See Images

Rosacea triggers

Although the causes of rosacea are unknown, the following triggers may worsen your rosacea symptoms:‌

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:‌

  • Alcohol
  • Acetone
  • Menthol
  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint
  • Witch hazel
  • Camphor
  • Fragrance
  • Glycolic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • Menthol
  • Sodium laurel sulfate 
  • Urea

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.

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.

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Medically Reviewed on 10/4/2021
References

American Academy of Dermatology Association: “6 Rosacea Skin Care Tips Dermatologists Give Their Patients,” “Rosacea: Signs and Symptoms,” “How To Prevent Rosacea Flare-Ups.”

?American Family Physician: “Rosacea: Diagnosis and Treatment.”

?familydoctor.org: “Rosacea.”

?National Rosacea Society: “Rosacea Now Estimated To Affect At Least 16 Million Americans,” “Rosacea Skin Care & Cosmetics.”