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Close-up of a person with rosacea skin touching their face. An illustrated jar of skin cream is below.

March 14, 2023 • read

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10 rosacea skin care tips

If you live in Canada, you know all too well that the weather here can be unforgiving – our winters bring dry, cold air while our summers expose us to suffocating heat.

In these conditions, living with rosacea only adds to your woes, as environmental triggers – including sun exposure, hot and cold environments, and low humidity – can leave your skin reeling, causing unwanted redness and irritation.

While rosacea can be a challenging and frustrating condition to live with, its symptoms can be minimized – with the right skin care precautions. Keep reading for 10 useful skin care tips for rosacea to help you gain more control and stay smooth.

What’s rosacea?

Rosacea (pronounced row-zay-sha) is a common skin condition that can produce redness or flushing, sometimes with visible bumps or small blood vessels, usually around the nose, forehead, eyes, and cheeks. Rosacea is often mistaken for acne. And, you might also notice your skin thickens.

According to the Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada, rosacea affects over 3 million Canadians. While the condition is more common in women than men, men are more likely to develop severe rosacea.

If the skin is left untreated, symptoms of rosacea can worsen over time, which is why it’s a good idea to consult a general practitioner or dermatologist. There’s no cure for the condition, but its symptoms can be managed with rosacea treatment, and lifestyle changes.

If you need a personalized, dermatologist-recommended skin care plan for rosacea, you can use Maple to speak with a Canadian-licensed dermatologist in 24 hours or less – no referral needed. Maple’s a telehealth platform that connects you with  Canadian-licensed doctors and specialist providers from your phone, tablet, or computer.

Who gets rosacea?

According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, many people who get rosacea are:

  • Between 30 and 50 years old
  • Fair-skinned, such as those from northern and eastern European ancestry
  • Likely to experience low self-esteem
  • Have someone in their family tree with rosacea or acne
  • Likely to have had acne issues

While the exact cause of rosacea is unknown, studies have demonstrated that rosacea runs in families, which seems to indicate that genes may be a factor.

How to control rosacea symptoms

Being more mindful of your habits, adopting the right morning and evening skin routine, and choosing rosacea-friendly skin care products can have a transformative impact for your skin. Here are a few tips to help you live with rosacea and reduce rosacea flare-ups.

1 – Learn what your rosacea triggers are

Participants in several studies noted that avoiding their rosacea triggers resulted in an improvement of their symptoms. The first step to avoiding your triggers, of course, is to learn what they are.

If you have no idea what’s causing your rosacea flare-ups, it’s time to gather some clues, detective. An easy way to discover your rosacea triggers is to keep a rosacea diary cataloguing the foods you eat, the beverages you drink, the personal care products you use, and the kind of weather you were exposed to (like cold and heat).

Some common lifestyle triggers include:

  • Spicy food, white or black pepper, paprika, cayenne, red pepper
  • Hot soups and beverages
  • Caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee
  • Stress
  • Exercise
  • Medication
  • Alcohol, especially wine

Try keeping a diary for at least two weeks so that you have enough of a track record to start spotting recurring trends and patterns. Once you have a better understanding of what’s causing your flares, you’ll be able to more easily avoid your triggers.

2 – Avoid products that dry your skin

According to the National Rosacea Society, approximately half of all people with rosacea experience dry skin. When purchasing rosacea skin care products in Canada, steer clear of cleaners and moisturizers with harsher chemicals – they can further dry out your skin, leading to more redness.

People with rosacea can also experience burning or stinging sensations when applying cosmetics – another good reason to kick harsh chemicals out of your skin care routine.

Products you should try to keep away from include:

Products that contain salicylic, glycolic, or lactic acids: Normally, these products can benefit your skin as they dissolve cell buildups, but go easy on them if you’re experiencing a rosacea breakout, as they can cause further irritation and drying.

Products that contain benzoyl peroxide: Another ingredient that can be beneficial in some cases (like if you’re having acne issues), but not if you’re rosacea is flaring up. Benzoyl peroxide can increase your skin oxidative stress, which can increase inflammation and dryness.

Hard soaps: The average hard soap contains detergents, fragrances, and other chemicals that can spell trouble for your skin. If you have rosacea, use them with caution.

3 – Choose mineral-based makeup

While makeup can help hide signs of rosacea, many types of makeup products will also leave your skin dry and irritated.

Mineral-based makeup is a good choice for people with rosacea, as it doesn’t contain preservatives or other additives that can irritate the skin.

Make sure to read the labels carefully, however, as some products advertise themselves as “mineral-based” but contain ingredients like talc, Bismuth Oxychloride, preservatives, synthetic dyes, and fragrance that can be harmful for your skin. If these ingredients are present in the makeup you use, look for a replacement that doesn’t contain them.

4 – Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

Whether rosacea makes your skin dry or oily, moisturizing is key, as it helps hydrate your skin by trapping water in it.

Several studies have demonstrated that using gentle cleansers and moisturizers is beneficial for people with rosacea. Moisturizing regularly can alleviate symptoms associated with dryness and irritation and help you feel more comfortable in your skin.

Not all moisturizers are created equal, however. If you’re wondering how to moisturize rosacea-prone skin, try applying a fragrance-free moisturizer, preferably one for “sensitive” skin. Look for a cream instead of a lotion as well, as lotions often contain alcohol-based liquids that can dry your skin.

5 – Use warm water (not burning hot)

When washing your face or taking a bath or shower, try using warm water. Hot water can dry your skin, and heat can be a trigger for people with rosacea.

Studies have shown that even heat from hot beverages, like tea, can set off your rosacea. If that sounds like you, try waiting a few minutes for your drink to cool before you drink it, or switch to beverages like iced coffee or tea.

6 – Protect your skin from the sun (and not just in the summer)

Sunlight on your skin can be another trigger to watch out for. Even people with darker skin can experience a rosacea outbreak after spending time in the sun.

Wearing sunscreen for rosacea can be beneficial, but just like with moisturizers, finding a product your skin loves can be a challenge.

The National Rosacea Society recommends choosing a sunscreen that contains a physical blocker, like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, instead of a sunscreen with a chemical blocker. Rather than absorbing UVA and UVB radiation, these ingredients reflect it, which prevents the skin from becoming warm.

Other ingredients to look for include niacinamide, which can reduce water loss and strengthen the protective barrier function of the skin, and silicone, which can help protect the skin and minimize stinging and redness.

Once you’ve found the right sunscreen for you, make sure to reapply it regularly, as even physical sunblocks can wear off from activity or perspiration.

7 – Cover up your face in the winter

Even if winters are relatively mild where you live, try wearing scarves or using your hood or jacket collar when you’re outside to cover up your face and protect it from the cold. Depending on how cold the winters get, purchasing a face mask can also be a good idea to further protect your face and skin.

8 – Be careful with facials

A facial may seem like a good idea to “clean out” your skin, but it may end up doing more harm than good.

Treatments like facials, chemical peels, or microdermabrasion can further dry, irritate, and worsen your skin if you have rosacea. Keep in mind that your rosacea-prone skin is already sensitive, so this type of intervention is likely not what it needs.

9 – Test your products first

If you’re unsure whether or not a product is safe, try it on a different patch of skin first, like your neck. If you notice a reaction, write down the product’s ingredients and stop using it immediately. With rosacea, irritants can vary from person to person, so hints from your skin can help guide you towards products that are safe for you to use.

10 – Say cheers to a sober lifestyle

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, drinking alcohol can increase your risk of getting rosacea. The study found that women who drank alcohol had a higher risk of developing rosacea than those who preferred sobriety.

The results of the study also revealed that women who drank white wine or hard liquor were at a greater risk of experiencing rosacea flare-ups.

If you believe alcohol might be exacerbating your rosacea flare-ups, try switching up your drinking habits and cutting back for a bit to see if you notice a difference. Saying no to a cold one could be worth it if it means clearer, happier skin.

How Maple can help

Rosacea can be a thorn in your side, but using the right products, following a rosacea skin care plan developed by a dermatologist, and learning your triggers so you can avoid them can make a world of difference for your skin.

If you feel like rosacea is holding you back, consider using Maple to consult a Canadian-licensed dermatologist online. You can see one from your phone, tablet, or computer – all in under 24 hours – and get treatment for rosacea.

This blog was developed by our team and reviewed by a medical professional.

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