Have you ever tried a new skincare product and your skin instantly disagreed? Redness, irritation, mini breakouts, dry patches… the list goes on. I have combination skin so I often have trouble finding products that work for the various needs of my face. If I use a cream that’s too rich my t-zone breaks out, even though my drier areas love the added moisture. On the other hand, if I use a cleanser or toner with too much salicylic acid, my t-zone is instantly balanced while my drier areas become irritated and red. If you have sensitive skin too or skin conditions like rosacea, then you’ve experienced this first hand. So, I went on a hunt to uncover the best anti-aging products for rosacea to help a sister out.
During my research, I discovered just how common rosacea is. In fact, it’s one of the most common sensitive skin conditions. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, over 14 million people experience rosacea in the US alone. Despite these staggering numbers, I couldn’t believe the lack of anti-aging products for rosacea that are effective but safe-to-use. It’s pretty easy to find anti-aging products for dry, oily, combination, or acne-prone skin in mind but rarely for rosacea. And those with rosacea or sensitive skin don’t have the luxury of trying products until they find the right one as the wrong ingredients can cause serious flare-ups.
So, what exactly is rosacea? Is it treatable? How do you manage the symptoms? And, what products can you actually use? I asked Dr. Tomassian, MD, and Dr. Heather D. Rogers, dermatologist, dermatologic surgeon, founder, and CEO of Doctor Rogers RESTORE, to help us further understand.
So, What Is Rosacea?
According to Dr. Tomassian, rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that is characterized by redness (dilated blood vessels) and acne-like lesions (pustules and papules) that occur on the face. The cause of rosacea, however, is a little harder to pinpoint. “Several thoughts include UV sun exposure, abnormal immune response, weakened skin barrier, as well as mites (demodex),” he explained.
In essence, rosacea is a type of sensitive skin. All those tiny blood vessels near the skin’s surface make it better able to absorb whatever you put on your skin and more easily inflamed by the outside world. And most people might not know that there are actually three types of rosacea. “Papulopustular rosacea that causes little red bumps; erythematotelangiectatic rosacea where you have persistent redness of the face and broken blood vessels; and phymatous rosacea which is where the skin becomes swollen, like the lumpy, red nose we can see on older gentlemen also known as Rhinophyma,” outlines Dr. Rogers. “Rosacea can also affect your eyes with persistent redness called ocular rosacea.”
What Are the Symptoms?
The common symptoms include flushing, acneiform (pustules and papules) breakouts on the cheeks, forehead, and around the mouth as well as the above enlargement of the nose or eye grittiness/dryness, tenderness, and even soreness.
What Can Irritate Rosacea?
For most people, rosacea flare-ups are brought on by a genetic predisposition combined with outside stimuli like red wine, coffee, and working out that can all cause more flushing. Changes in the weather and even wearing a mask can also cause a flare-up as they dry out the skin causing it to lose its protective oils. Stress from life experiences or even too many skincare steps can change the skin’s pH leading to a rosacea flare because the wrong organisms—like yeast, bacteria, or mites—take over and irritate your skin. Sunscreen is a must and using topical medications with ingredients like sulfur, azelaic acid will help.
How Can You Manage Symptoms?
The goal is to minimize flares by strengthening the skin barrier so your skin is less easily irritated. But, once you are experiencing a flare-up, which is bound to happen, you have to focus on skin TLC. “Stop all your actives, including vitamin C, the AHAs, and BHAs, tretinoin, or retinol,” stresses Dr. Rogers. “Skincare should be limited to a gentle cleanser, a well-formulated, supportive face cream, and a zinc-based sunscreen. That is it! Do not add in any new products because you actually risk irritating your poor skin more!”
Ingredients to Look For:
- Vegetable oils
- Centella Asiatica
- Sunscreens with 10%+ Zinc
- Azelaic Acid
- Vitamin C
Dr. Rogers recommended seeing your dermatologist for prescription medication when necessary. Prescriptions like metronidazole, ivermectin, even low-dose anti-inflammatory antibiotics can help. She also highly suggests maintaining a healthy skin biome by taking skin probiotics.
Ingredients to Avoid:
There are several ways to fight rosacea. Avoiding your triggers can be one of the best ways to minimize the symptoms. Triggers can look different for everyone from different foods like dairy, gluten, or alcohol to certain types of ingredients or fragrances. And, of course, avoid ingredients that can commonly cause triggers such as the below.
- AHAs and BHAs
- Witch hazel
- Eucalyptus oil
Dr. Tomassians’s Favorites:
Dr. Roger’s Favorites: