Expert Topic by Joanne Rendell

SPF and Rosacea skin



Written by Skin Therapist Joanne Rendell


As the seasons change so does our skin - extreme high temperatures and humidity throughout summer months look to become the norm and can be particularly challenging for those with sensitive skin. Eczema, prickly heat and Rosacea can all be aggravated by the warmer weather in addition to its usual hazards – from early ageing to skin cancer. With Sun exposure being named a top trigger for rosacea flare-ups when exposed to ultraviolet radiation by National Rosacea Society - it is no wonder the NHS urges all rosacea sufferers to wear a broad spectrum SPF daily regardless of the weather outside.


Rosacea is a common condition where the skin flushes more easily, resulting in redness, sensitivity, and uneven texture. Once triggers are identified a topical prescription can be managed pretty well – however sunscreen presents to be tricky due to the sensitising ingredients they contain. The one thing I do know being a skin therapist, those with Rosacea are more open to sun damage and UV radiation which will break down collagen and elastin, plus contribute to inflammation, this is why it is so important that you find a formula that protects you without sensitising and causing irritation. Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense SPF30 Suitable for all skin types – even sensitive – this invisible, lightweight formula delivers broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, and defend against blue light. Soothes skin, reduces redness, and counters free radical damage.

What is broad spectrum?

Broad spectrum provides coverage for exposure to both UVA and UVB rays - when choosing ingredients for sensitive skin within your SPF, surprisingly not all sunscreens protect against both. Look for non-chemical sunscreens that contain zinc or titanium dioxide and deliver UVA/UVB protection with an SPF of 30 or higher. A formula designed for sensitive skin, such as a convenient mineral formulation, can help reduce the possibility of irritation. If using a product for the first time on sensitive skin or rosacea, always test a little behind your ear or on the side of the neck before covering your face in it. Heliocare 360 Water Gel SPF50+ offers high-level broad spectrum protection against UVA, UVB, visible light and infrared.

How often should I apply my sunscreen to Rosacea skin?


The National Rosacea Society says sunscreen takes 15-30 minutes to absorb into the skin and work effectively, so it is important that you apply it before you’re exposed to the sun rather than when you are already outside. SPF regardless of formula only lasts for around 2hrs - it is important to reapply regularly to prevent sun damage as well as rosacea flare-ups.  Avène Very High Protection Spray SPF50+ is a hydrating formula featuring advanced Sunsitive® filter technology to protect against the sun’s rays while minimising irritation. Powerful antioxidants Pre-Tocopheryl and Thialdine work to defend skin cells from free radical damage, while Avène’s Thermal Spring Water softens, soothes and counters dryness.


Although the cause of rosacea is not fully understood; genetics, immune system problems and environmental factors may all play a part. Factors that trigger rosacea cause the blood vessels in the skin on the face to enlarge (dilate). The theory that rosacea is due to bacteria on the skin or in the gut has not been proven, but there are many triggers that may make rosacea worse. These include alcohol, exercise, high and low temperatures, hot drinks, spicy foods, and stress.

Can rosacea be cured?

Like acne, rosacea cannot be cured, but it can be managed. First and foremost, though, a medical diagnosis is vital. This is to make doubly sure it is indeed rosacea you’re dealing with (and not a different type of redness-related issue), and to identify the best treatment pathway, which may include medical prescription treatment. Oral antibiotics can be useful in terms of controlling the inflammatory element of moderate/severe rosacea. Topical treatments can help to control and/or camouflage the redness.


Certain lifestyle changes may also be beneficial in terms of managing rosacea symptoms. If strenuous exercise tends to cause flare-ups, switch to a low/medium intensity activity instead. Meditation, mindfulness and other relaxation techniques can help to avoid stress-related episodes of rosacea.

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