Rosacea is a complex, yet common skin condition that affects the face, causing persistent redness due to dilated blood vessels, bumps and spots resembling acne, flushing and it often comes with an unpleasant stinging or burning sensation. Although more prevalent in individuals with lighter skin tones, it can affect anyone and tends to worsen over time if left untreated. Rosacea can also lead to skin sensitivity and, in some cases, inflammation of the eyes and eyelids.
Rosacea myths rebunked: separating fact from fiction
There are a few myths about rosacea that can cause confusion and misconceptions about its causes and triggers. Contrary to popular belief, rosacea is not a form of adult acne, nor is it related to poor hygiene. While hot beverages can trigger rosacea symptoms, it's actually the temperature, not the caffeine content, that's responsible. And, while alcohol doesn't cause rosacea, it can aggravate the condition and increase the chances of flare-ups.
Rosacea’s common symptoms to look for
If you think you might have rosacea, there are some key symptoms to keep an eye out for. These include persistent redness, bumps and breakouts, visible blood vessels, enlarged pores, and skin that reacts quickly to triggers like weather changes or certain foods and drinks. Secondary symptoms can also happen, such as eye irritation, dry and flaking skin, thickened or rough skin and swelling. Keep in mind that rosacea can vary a lot between individuals, and not all sufferers will experience every symptom. It's essential to consult a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and personalised treatment plan to be sure you’re taking the best approach for your unique skin type.
How does rosacea start: triggers and how it progresses
The exact cause of rosacea is still unclear, although researchers have identified several factors that can trigger or worsen the condition. Common aggravating factors include alcohol, hot or spicy food, hormones, irritating skincare ingredients, stress, sunlight, and certain medications like vasodilating drugs and corticosteroids. Hot showers can also exacerbate rosacea symptoms.
Rosacea typically starts with redness and flushing, which can come and go initially. Over time, the redness may become darker or even purplish, and it may not fade as quickly as before. Visible blood vessels can also become more prominent. If left untreated, rosacea can progress to more severe symptoms, such as bumps and breakouts, and in some cases, swelling and lumpiness of the nose (this can be more common in men). Rosacea can also cause irritated or inflamed eyes.
What’s the impact of rosacea on the skin barrier?
Rosacea can disrupt the skin's protective barrier, which is crucial for defending against environmental threats such as sun, wind, dry air, allergens and pollution. This disruption also affects the skin's ability to maintain its moisture balance, making it more susceptible to dryness, irritation and flare-ups. People with rosacea often experience increased sensitivity, especially during harsh weather conditions like winter when dry air can exacerbate symptoms further.
Soothing skincare products to help manage rosacea
Choosing the right skincare products can make a world of difference in managing rosacea and minimising flare-ups. Check out our carefully curated rosacea-friendly product edit designed to address the unique needs of this skin condition.
A few of our top picks
Medik8 Calmwise Colour Correct is a restorative cream that helps provide immediate relief from all types of redness, including rosacea, thread veins and blemishes. It includes Bakuchiol, an alternative to retinol that provides a powerful anti-aging effect without irritation.
Medik8 Calmwise Soothing Cleanser is a gentle, foaming cleanser that removes makeup and impurities without causing irritation, while improving the skin’s barrier function and soothing discomfort with green chlorophyll.
Medik8 Ultimate Recovery works together with the body's natural repair process to leave skin comforted, hydrated and visibly restored. It’s particularly soothing after aesthetic treatments or on sensitive skin.
SkinCeuticals Redness Neutralizer strengthens the skin barrier, reduces redness and flushing while hydrating the skin with glycerin, shea butter and vitamin E.
Best ingredients for rosacea
Our top picks are formulated with calming and restorative ingredients such as green chlorophyll, aloe vera, shea butter, vitamin E and glycerin that help to soothe, nourish and repair the skin. We also suggest looking into products with ingredients like niacinamide, chamomile and green tea extract. Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to improve the skin's barrier function, making it a great choice for those with rosacea. Green tea extract is rich in antioxidants and chamomile has anti-inflammatory qualities, which can both help soothe the skin and reduce redness.
The importance of knowing your skin
Remember that everyone's skin is different, and what works for someone else may not work for you. It's always best to consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional who can guide you in creating a skincare routine that's tailored to your specific needs and concerns. They can also provide tips on lifestyle changes that can help manage your rosacea, such as avoiding known triggers, using sun protection and maintaining a gentle skincare routine.
While rosacea can be challenging to manage, recognising symptoms, understanding your triggers, being mindful of lifestyle influences and using the right skincare products can significantly improve your skin health and quality of life. So, in the spirit of Rosacea Awareness Month, let's embrace the journey to better skin together.