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How to Calm a Rosacea Flare Up

“Boy, was my face red” is taking on a whole new context. Should we be embarrassed? No, because that “blush”, could actually rosacea.  Rosacea- the word sounds like a floral variety, so it must not be that bad, right? It's an attractive looking word, but in all actuality, Rosacea is a skin condition worthy of attention, even if you've never been diagnosed with it. Why? Because it can look like so many other things- and because- knowledge. 

First of all, rosacea isn’t as simple as just being red in the face. Lots of rosacea goes undiagnosed, because people just assume that it is allergies, or eczema, or acne. If you suspect you have rosacea, you should get confirmation from your derm.  

Why? Nobody really knows the exact cause- it really is a combination of things- but heredity, internal factors (hormones, food sensitivities), our environment (extreme heat or cold, misuse or underuse of products) all contribute, and while we all have them, demodex mites are more prominent in people with rosacea (Yikes!). More on that later...

Who? Rosacea is mostly but not always found in women over 25 with fair skin (yes, rosacea can happen on black skin too). Men who have been diagnosed with rosacea usually have a more aggressive form. Rosacea varies in each person and can be constant or just occasionally flare up.

What? Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition- which basically means that you may never “cure” any type of rosacea, but you can manage the symptoms- avoiding rosacea triggers and calming the redness and inflammation with topicals does work.

Tips for Managing Rosacea 

  • Avoid super spicy foods- we know you love the hot stuff, just love it a little bit less often.
  • Try not to go too hard at the gym- over exercising means red faces. Hot yoga is not your friend.
  • Alcohol in moderation please- yes, we said it.
  • You don’t have to totally ditch it, but over consumption of sugar=inflammation. Period.
  • Steamy hot showers- yes, we want you to shower- just watch the temp. This applies to saunas, too. 
  • There may be individual rosacea food triggers you will need to identify on your own (dairy? gluten?). An elimination diet could be helpful for this. 
  • If you are experiencing whiteheads or acne with your rosacea, don't pick or try to self-extract! Instead, use a gentle spot treatment (Synergie Skin Blem-X) to help breakout heal faster.

The good news- although the root cause of rosacea is unknown, we have had great success in the treatment room and with client home care calming it and keeping it at bay. And if you feel like you might have rosacea but haven’t gotten a diagnosis yet, you can still follow this advice.

How to Calm a Rosacea Flare Up

Step one: Simplify your routine and switch to gentle products that strengthen the skin and nurture your microbiome. This, along with avoiding your main rosacea triggers (which may take a little trial and error), can go a long way toward calming redness and inflammation. Adding in an HOCL based product is an easy step to keep those pesky demodex mites under control- we like Lumion Miracle Mist.

Step two: Add in antioxidant-rich product(s) that strengthen your skin barrier, combat inflammation, and protect your skin from environmental damage. A few superstar ingredients to look for: vitamin c (strengthens capillaries, protects, & repairs), niacinamide (anti-inflammatory, maintains skin barrier function), and sea buckthorn oil (healing, antioxidant-rich). People with rosacea have fragile skin and a compromised barrier. While we advocate for everyone to use antioxidants, it is especially important in the case of rosacea for their anti-inflammatory effects- which help with redness. Rosacea sufferers are also more prone to UV damage so applying an antioxidant product under your sunscreen for additional protection is a must. Products to try: HoliFrog Sunny C Glow Serum (vitamin C + niacinamide), VENN Vitamin B Activated All-In-One Concentrate (niacinamide), and MyHavtorn Face Oil (sea buckthorn oil).

Step three: Once your skin is in a stable state, you can (and should) add in products that will gently help to encourage healthy cell turnover. A mild AHA, enzyme based exfoliant, or a gentle retinol should do the trick. You will want to introduce retinol to the skin very slowly- using only 2x/week and diluting it with a little moisturizer- working your way up to every other day and eventually using your retinol serum undiluted. If you are ready for this step check out our Essential Guide to Retinol for more tips on getting started. Our favorite gentle retinols for rosacea: Maya Chia The Straight A Serum and Synergie Skin Ultimate A.

Step four: Always use SPF! This can be tricky since sunscreens often have irritating ingredients. Using a zinc based sunscreen is not only protective, but zinc is also healing for the skin. We like Suntegrity 5-IN-1 Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 or Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer SPF 30, or Synergie Skin ÜberZinc.

Bottom line-if you have more than one concern, and rosacea is one of them- take care of the rosacea first. It's important to have a strong and healthy skin barrier before addressing issues like fine lines and wrinkles or hyperpigmentation. 

Do you still need a little help figuring out your ideal rosacea skincare routine? Put your skin in the hands of our experts! Our talented Master Estheticians take their years of experience and your information to evaluate what works, what doesn’t, and what they would recommend to you if you came into their treatment room. For more info, head over to BUILD.