Quick fact: Many of us aren’t exactly aware of what rosacea is, yet it affects a whopping 16 million Americans, according to the American Association of Dermatology. Though most of us associate rosacea with redness, there’s a bit more to this skin condition than just reddening of the skin.
What is Rosacea?
“Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition characterized by central facial redness, papules and pustules, flushing, red eyes and a feeling of warmth in the skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Corey L. Hartman. According to Dr. Hartman, there are four main subtypes of rosacea that are all thought to be mediated by neural control of the small blood vessels of the face.
Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara also adds that because of the symptoms of redness and pus-filled bumps on the face, it’s commonly mistaken for acne. “Rosacea most commonly affects middle-aged women with sensitive skin,” she also notes.
What Causes Rosacea?
“Rosacea is known to be triggered by certain foods like red wine, cheese, seafood, as well as hot drinks (coffee and tea),” says Dr. Hartman. Other causes he notes are changes in weather such as extreme sunlight, cold, and wind, as well as stress and emotional trauma.
Can You Treat Rosacea?
Both dermatologists agree that while there is no cure for rosacea, you can lessen the look of symptoms with various treatments. While they both recommend you talk with your physician before trying anything out, there are some amazing over the counter moisturizers, serums, and more that you can reach for to soothe your skin. You just have to look for the right ingredients to keep your skin calm.
“Those affected by rosacea should always look for moisturizers and creams that are fragrance-free and contain either ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide or bisabolol,” says Dr. Gohara. “Each of these ingredients will help create a moisture barrier to keep the skin hydrated, calm, and better protected from outside factors. ”
As for what to avoid, Dr. Hartman notes that there are many active ingredients that can be too harsh for people with rosacea to use since their skin is sensitive.
“While many people falsely think that a reaction to one product deems them sensitive, those with rosacea are intolerant to many active ingredients in skincare products that prove beneficial for others like retinol, salicylic acid, gels, and solutions,” he says. “Any ingredients that cause excessive dryness or lead to irritation should be avoided. Alcohol, witch hazel, menthol, fragrances, propylene glycol and sodium lauryl sulfate can cause rosacea to flare.”
Now that you have the lowdown on everything there is to know about rosacea, take a look at some of our experts’ top-recommended rosacea creams and serums to soothe any flare-ups, plus a few of our own favorites.
- Dr. Hartman’s Pick: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Water Gel Moisturizer