HOW TO CALM AND CARE FOR RED, SENSITIVE AND ROSACEA PRONE SKIN
When you have sensitive, rosacea–prone skin, finding skin care products that won’t irritate your already delicate skin can feel like a never-ending battle. You need to take special care in picking your rosacea skin care products as what you choose can either soothe or aggravate your sensitive, redness prone skin.
The focus of this post is on natural skincare products and skincare tips to help you better understand how to care for your skin and the types of products that may help.
Managing rosacea requires a holistic approach. What we eat and think is just as important as what we put on our skin. "Eating the right foods can help your skin fight acne, reduce redness and inflammation, resolve moisture problems and even reduce wrinkles." - Allison Tannis M.S., R.H.N (Feed Your Skin, Starve Your Wrinkles: Eat Your Way To Firmer, More Beautiful Skin).
If you suspect you have rosacea, the first step is to talk to your doctor, dermatologist or holistic practitioner. Left untreated rosacea can cause scarring and permanent changes in the skin. There are many options that can help including natural supplements, diet changes, topical and oral therapies as well as laser therapies that can help reduce or control your rosacea symptoms.
Whether or not you’re using prescription medications or undergoing laser treatment, a proper rosacea skin care routine can help minimize redness, replenish your skins natural defensive barrier, help your skin feel more comfortable and enhance its natural beauty over time.
Want to learn more about Rosacea and your potential triggers? Read How To Manage Rosacea Naturally and Gut Health: The Secret To Healthy, Beautiful Skin where we interview Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner, Kimberly Banting of Flourish Nutrition.
Keep reading to see our 7 essential skin care tips for rosacea. Plus a step-by-step rosacea skin care routine to help your sensitive, redness prone skin look and feel healthier over time.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ROSACEA AND SENSITIVE SKIN?
Mokosh Organic Skincare founder Marion O'Leary (former medical scientist, veterinarian and pathologist) explains "rosacea is like an extreme form of sensitive skin, where a red discoloration of the central part of the face eventually becomes a consistent feature. It can feature not only redness caused by inflammation, but papules, pustules and enlarged blood vessels. It tends to cause stinging and pain rather than itchiness. Like sensitive skin, it can be triggered by heat, cold, exercise, sun exposure, spicy foods, alcohol and skin care products."
A common element with both rosacea and sensitive skin is a compromised skin barrier. Skin care products that help rebuild a healthy barrier can be extremely helpful for anyone with rosacea or sensitive skin.
Marion O'Leary explains.... “Our skin’s barrier keeps out environmental irritants and harmful microorganisms and prevents them from reaching the deeper layers of the skin and setting off an inflammatory response. In people with sensitive skin, the outermost layer of the skin is often thinner, and the level of ceramides, the fatty, lipid layer, is often reduced. These physical changes make their skin more permeable to irritating substances."
Read our interview with Mokosh Founder Marion on How Mokosh Skincare Can Help You Calm And Care For Your Sensitive Skin.
7 ESSENTIAL SKIN CARE TIPS YOU SHOULD FOLLOW WHEN YOU HAVE ROSACEA
If you have rosacea, then you already know how tricky it can be to properly care for your complexion. To complicate matters, there is no single ‘skin type’. Rosacea sufferers can have dry, flaky skin, normal, oily skin, or even combination skin. You also likely have very sensitive skin. Follow these 7 skin care tips to help keep your rosacea and redness prone skin happy. Keep scrolling for a step-by-step skincare routine for rosacea.
SKIN CARE TIP #1. AVOID THESE INGREDIENTS
Surveys with Rosacea patients1 point to a number of potential irritants in skincare products. These ingredients can be harsh and if you have sensitive skin are best avoided:
- Alcohol (66%)
- Witch hazel (30%)
- Fragrance (30%)
- Menthol (21%)
- Peppermint (14%) and;
- Eucalyptus oil (13 %).
Also avoid harsh soap and astringents and harsh exfoliators, which can be too rough on sensitive skin. Everyone is different so it’s important to pay attention to your own triggers.
Note: While essential oils can have numerous benefits in skincare and aromatherapy, some individuals may be sensitive. If this is one of your triggers, we recommend shopping from our Essential Oil Free Collection.
SKIN CARE TIP #2. ALWAYS TEST YOUR PRODUCTS
When you have rosacea, any ingredient no matter how natural can trigger a response. Although the most common culprits are listed above, we recommend patch testing any new product before applying it on your sensitive, redness-prone skin.
Apply a small amount to a patch of skin (like the underside of your jaw or behind your ear) and wait 24- 48 hours to make sure there is no redness or irritation before using a new product.
SKIN CARE TIP #3. USE SUN PROTECTION DAILY
Daily sun protection is essential – especially if you have rosacea. Sun exposure is one of the top triggers for a rosacea flare up. Cover up, wear a hat and apply a gentle, broad-spectrum natural mineral sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day.
SKIN CARE TIP #4. BE EXTRA GENTLE
Always treat skin gently. Never rub or pull on skin – use your fingers to apply your skin care products. When using a facial cleanser, apply your product to damp skin and rinse clean with lukewarm water. Pat skin dry with an extra soft towel. Resist any temptation to scrub, which can irritate skin further. Always patch test new products to ensure you will not react to any of the ingredients.
SKIN CARE TIP #5. KEEP IT SIMPLE
When it comes to the best skin care routine for rosacea, keep it simple. The best products for rosacea are usually formulated for sensitive skin. Start with the basics like a facial cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen. As your skin improves you can always add toners, exfoliators, facemasks and targeted serums and treatments.
Wondering about Olive oil for rosacea? There is little information available on the use of olive oil with rosacea. While some people swear by it (it’s rumored Oscar winning film star legend Sophia Loren bathed in it), others experience adverse side effects, and scientific studies are inconsistent.
Our take: Used on its own, olive oil is a heavy oil that doesn’t absorb easily into the skin. It is also comedogenic meaning it may clog your pores. We prefer blends like the ones recommended below that deliver concentrated nutrition including high levels of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory molecules to soothe irritation and strengthen the delicate skin barrier (often compromised when you have rosacea or sensitive skin). If you do decide to try it, be sure to patch test first to make sure it won’t clog or irritate your skin.
SKIN CARE TIP #6. WASH YOUR FACE IN LUKEWARM WATER
Heat is a common trigger so only wash in lukewarm water. But, don’t go cold either as your skin doesn’t like extremes.
SKIN CARE TIP #7. TRY COLOR CORRECTING MAKEUP
Concealers and color correcting makeup can help temporarily neutralize the look of redness while you’re implementing a skin care routine to help long term.
HOW TO BUILD THE BEST ROSACEA FRIENDLY SKINCARE ROUTINE
What are the best moisturizers for rosacea? Toners and serums?
When it comes to building the best rosacea skin care regimen sometimes less is more. From cleansing to moisturizing, we’re here to help you build a simple skin care routine to care for your sensitive skin. By starting with just a few essentials, you can slowly build the most gentle skincare routine possible and not aggravate your skin further. Once your skin is feeling healthier, you can add additional products as needed.
STEP #1: CLEANSE GENTLY. 1 or 2x daily
If you’ve been avoiding washing your face because it feels irritated, its understandable. However, cleansing daily is important to keep your skin clear of bacteria, dirt, sweat, and pollutants that can further irritate your rosacea. Try cleansing only at night if the morning wash leaves your skin feeling angry.
Use a rosacea friendly cleanser that works with your skin type like the Mokosh Makeup Remover & Cleansing oil (all skin types) ). Oil cleansing is an extremely gentle cleansing method, and is one of the best cleansers for rosacea.
These products function as both a makeup remover and a facial cleanser helping keep skin clear of excess sebum, dirt and pollutants while replenishing omega-6 fatty acids.
If you prefer a creamy cleanser, the Honua Pa’Akai Cleansing Cream (all skin types) is a great choice.
STEP #2: USE A CALMING SERUM OR FACE OIL: 2 x daily
Look for a soothing serum like the Raspberry & Pomegranate Beauty Serum (normal to dry) that helps calm irritation while strengthening reactive skin. Try Elderberry & Chia Seed Balancing Beauty Serum if your skin is oily.
Strange Bird Beauty Inner Balance contains niacinamide, shown to be helpful calming redness.
STEP #3: USE A CALMING & REPLENISHING MOISTURIZER: 1- 2x daily
Keeping skin hydrated is a must! Whether your skin is dry and flaky or oily, moisturizing daily helps strengthen your skin barrier, reduce redness and itchiness and help your skin feel more comfortable.
Dry skin? Try Mokosh Organic Pure Face & Body Cream. This sensitive skin face moisturizer helps boost hydration and is rich in antioxidants, calming botanicals and barrier-building omega-6 fatty acids to help calm irritation and leave skin feeling comfortable and suppler. If you have oily skin, a few drops of your serum (see above) applied to moist skin may be sufficient to balance and moisturize your face.
STEP #4: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE SUN: AM only
If you have rosacea, you must be especially vigilant with sun protection. The National Rosacea Society recommends using a non-chemical sunscreen with either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient. This is the final step in your AM routine.
We love Honua’s Malu Protecting Day Cream SPF 30. The creamy formula is easy to apply without rubbing or pulling on skin and won’t leave a white cast. Extra sun protection is needed if you plan on spending a long period of time in the sun.
STEP #6 TONER OR MIST: Optional
A soothing alcohol free toner or mist like Pure Hydrosol Toner can be a great way to take your skin care routine to the next level. They provide instant cooling and soothing and make it easier to spread your moisturizers and serums without rubbing or pulling sensitive skin.
STEP #7: GENTLE EXFOLIATOR. Optional
Even sensitive skin can benefit from regular, gentle exfoliation. Once your skin starts to improve, consider a gentle exfoliator like Mokosh Face Cleanser, Exfoliator and Mask (all skin types) which makes it nearly impossible to over-exfoliate. It is water activated making it super easy to adjust the exfoliating power.
How to exfoliate sensitive rosacea prone skin: Be sure to use an extra gentle exfoliator like the ones listed above. Start with once a week and pay attention to how your skin responds. If skin gets bright red and blotchy, your scrubbing too hard or too often. Try adding more water to the mix and start with every other week. If irritation persists, hold off until your skin has improved a little more.
STEP #8 ANTI-REDNESS FACE MASK: Optional
This Rose Renewal Anti-Redness Face Mask works quickly to sooth and calm redness, irritation and inflammation with marshmallow, oats and rose. It has an immediate cooling effect on the skin to reduce surface heat. Scoop a small amount (1/2 teaspoon) and warm it up in your fingertips with a few drops of water. Then gently smooth and spread it over your wet skin and leave on for 10-20 minutes.
A note about brand recommendations...
Mokosh Organic Skincare products mentioned here are formulated for sensitive skin.
While these products are our top recommendations, our collection has been purposely curated to be gentle on sensitive skin and many products in our collection are suitable. Have a question about a specific product? Email us at hello@allnaturalcollection.
This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
1 National Rosacea Society, Skincare and cosmetics
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