Rosacea is a common and chronic inflammatory skin condition affecting over a million Australians. It’s characterised by redness or deeper flushing in the central face and visible blood vessels. The cause is unknown, but there’s a genetic component, some imbalance of the skin’s microbiome, extra sensitive blood vessels (hence the flushing) and an immune system that’s extra responsive (to food and skincare products, for example).

Did you know, rosacea is often mistaken for acne, but acne products make rosacea worse?
Like acne, rosacea is a medical condition, and one that can be addressed with a visit to a GP or dermatologist. The difference is that with acne, symptoms and lesions are related to a clogged pore, whereas for rosacea, it’s related to impaired barrier and damaged blood vessels, and pores are not involved.

Some symptoms to look for are;

  • Flushing,
  • Inflammatory lesions that can look like pimples, only central to the face,
  • Stinging,
  • Burning,
  • Increased skin sensitivity,
  • Visible blood vessels,
  • Red or itchy eyes 

There’s a website, that can help you prepare for your first doctor’s visit for your rosacea – your first step to clear skin.
What I can tell you in the meantime is,

  1. Make sunscreen your best friend to prevent further damage to the barrier and blood vessels. Collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid help line and cushion those blood vessels, and we know that UV and environmental stress will damage them.
  2. Look out for things that trigger a flare. UV exposure and heat are quite common ones, so is wine, so is stress, so are harsh skincare products. You could keep a symptom diary to try pinpoint the culprits. For me, it’s exfoliating too much. Especially with acids.
  3. Work on strengthening and repairing your barrier with a very simple, restoring skincare routine. See “Sensitive or sensitised.” You’ll want ingredients like niacinamide, panthenol hyaluronic acid, ceramides, copper peptide and oat.
  4. Your doctor can recommend and prescribe medicines and in-clinic treatments that help keep the symptoms at bay, such as anti-inflammatory and antibiotic creams, azelaic acid, and vascular lasers. Lasers target the problem blood vessels, shrinking them thus preventing their inflammation.

Some rosacea-friendly skincare products:

Avene Tolerance Extremely Gentle Cleanser

Kate Somerville Delikate Soothing Cleanser

Paula’s Choice Advanced Replenishing Toner

tbh skincare Rebound Serum

Azclear Medicated Lotion

The Ordinary Buffet Serum

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Balm

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Mask B5 Sheet Mask

Kate Somerville Delikate Recovery Cream

Bioderma Sensibio AR Anti-Redness Care Cream

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra SPF50+ Face Sunscreen

Cancer Council Day Wear Face Matte SPF50+

Bondi Sands Hydra UV Protect Face Lotion SPF50+