Lipowski Milan/ShutterstockRosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that affects more than 16 million Americans. It's most commonly characterized by visible blood vessels (often broken capillaries), redness, flushing, and those pesky acne-like bumps—most commonly on the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead. As rosacea is a chronic condition, sufferers often experience flare-ups and remissions. These are 10 things you need to know about rosacea—whether you have it or not.
TMON/ShutterstockAccording to Arash Akhavan, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of The Dermatology & Laser Group, rosacea triggers include inflammatory foods, such as alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods, and environmental factors, such as sunlight and wind. "We also tell our patients to avoid certain ingredients in skin care and cosmetics, such as retinol, alpha hydroxy acids, and beta hydroxy acids, which can be too harsh for sensitive rosacea-prone skin." Concerned your skin care might be making symptoms worse? Read up on the signs your products are secretly damaging your face.
Soothing skin care
AN NGUYEN/ShutterstockWhile makeup can cover symptoms, the fewer symptoms there are to cover the better, right? "Anti-inflammatory ingredients such as niacinamide and ceramides can be particularly helpful for combating the redness associated with rosacea," says Dr. Akhavan. For particularly dry skin, he recommends cleansing with Cerave Hydrating Cleanser, which has an abundance of hydrating ceramides, and favors La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser for normal to oily complexions. Moisturizer is a must as it strengthens the skin's natural protective barrier, keeping moisture in and irritants out. Look for sensitive skin-friendly formulas with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and humectants, like DERMAdoctor Calm Cool & Corrected or Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid. Read up on the rules for people with sensitive skin.
The importance of SPF
Bhakpong/ShutterstockAs sun can trigger symptoms, it's a good idea to invest in a daily SPF. "A great sunscreen for rosacea sufferers is EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, which contains niacinamide, and comes in both a tinted and untinted options," says Dr. Akhavan. These are the sunscreens dermatologists use on themselves.
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Redness correcting primer
108MotionBG/ShutterstockCelebrity makeup artist JoAnn Solomon recommends using a neutralizing, green-hued primer, like L'oreal Correcting Primer or Makeup Forever Color Correcting Primer, before applying foundation. On the color wheel, green is the opposite of red, so it will help cancel out any redness on your face.
Neutralizing correcting cream
mady70/ShutterstockFor the rest of your face, Solomon suggests IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Neutralizing Correcting Cream, which is formulated with nurturing botanicals, like colloidal oatmeal, green tea, and aloe, to calm and soothe skin.
Albina-Glisic/ShutterstockIf you have any red spots that require extra coverage, green is going to be your go-to hue. Pro picks: COVER FX Correct Click Color Corrector and NYX Professional Makeup HD Concealer Wand Green. These magical makeup tricks make scars, spots, and dark circles disappear.
Medium to full coverage concealer
Vera Borovskaia/ShutterstockOnce major redness is taken care of, you still may have some more minor spots to treat and even out. For that, you'll want a medium to full coverage, sensitive skin-tested concealer, like Dermablend Smooth Liquid Camo Concealer or Rosacea Care Concealer Sample Box.
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S_L/Shutterstock"Mineral foundations are great because they are natural and less aggressive than traditional foundations," says Solomon. A mineral formula with SPF not only offers comfortable coverage, but also shields against harmful rays and inflammatory environmental factors. "My favorite is Colorescience Loose Mineral Powder Foundation Brush SPF 20. It combines all-over coverage and sun protection (thanks to natural minerals, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide). And with it's go-anywhere tube, you can touch up and cover up on the go." If you prefer a mineral foundation sans SPF for the evening, she recommends Laura Geller Balance-n-Brighten Baked Color Correcting Foundation, with free radical-fighting centella asiatica and white tea.
JAYANNPO/ShutterstockWhile mineral foundation is a great choice, if you prefer liquid foundation, that's totally fine too—just be sure to read the label. Steer clear of formulas with ingredients like fragrance, alcohol, propylene glycol, and mineral oil, which can irritate skin and exacerbate rosacea. Look for formulas that heal and conceal (yes, they exist!), like Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15 With Probiotic Technology. It's oil-free and non-comedogenic, so it won't clog pores. Plus, it contains soothing ingredients to calm irritation and probiotic technology to boost "good" bacteria and bolster your skin's barrier against aggressors. These expert-approved foundations actually improve your complexion.