At best, a rosacea flare up can leave you looking sunburnt, or like you went a little bit too hard in your hot yoga class. At worst, it can leave you with rough, swollen skin covered in pimples, and a strong desire to lock yourself in the bathroom and stay there. Unfortunately for those of us who suffer through it on a regular basis, it’s not really known exactly what causes it, nor is there a hard and fast cure—but when it comes to rosacea, how to treat it and what causes it, there are things you can do that may help.
Shoshana Eisner, a pharmacist and sensitive skin expert who created QED Skincare specifically for people with sensitive skin conditions like rosacea, told us that “rosacea is a very common skin condition in Australia and often the stress of redness, flaky skin and itchiness itself makes the rosacea worse! Finding products that are super-gentle on the skin and offer maximum hydration is so very important to manage these sensitivities.”
If the skin condition is something you’re struggling with, whether it’s a new development or a condition you’ve been dealing with for yonks, here’s some tips on how to treat rosacea.
Moisturise Well And Often
According to Eisner, the secret to preventing rosacea flare ups and speeding their healing is maximise hydration inside and out. Finding the right moisturiser is crucial—you want something that won’t aggravate your sensitive skin but will provide deep hydration (we’re talking tsunami levels, like QED's Deep Hydration Face Cream, or Dermalogica's Intensive Moisture Balance). And don’t just moisturise once a day and leave it at that—double up and even carry moisturiser with you, along with a bottle of water to hydrate from the inside out.
Use The Right Water Temp
Goldilocks was really onto something—like her, you should avoid washing your face with steaming hot or ice cold water, and instead adjust it to something just right. Eisner even suggests using cleansing products that don’t need water at all, as it can be stripping—try QED's no rinse cleanser instead, or use a micellar cleansing water like this Clarins number for sensitive skin.
Whatever products you’re using, do it with a delicate touch. Use soft cloths like a Face Halo to gently remove makeup, and apply all those moisturisers with a gentle hand. Vigorous scrubbing isn’t going to do you any favours, so quit trying to rub off the rosacea with sheer willpower and be gentle on your cheeks.
Find Your Triggers
It’s not just about how to treat rosacea, stopping it before it begins is just as important. As anyone who has binged a tub of ice cream and woken up the next morning to violently pink cheeks, certain foods and situations can trigger rosacea, or make it worse than usual. Esner lists stress, chilli, dairy, alcohol, sun exposure, dramatic temperatures and even irritating cosmetic and laundry ingredients as common triggers for rosacea, so keeping a food/skin diary might help narrow it down if you’re unsure. Use skincare that is suitable for sensitive skin, and keep an eye on particular ingredients in your makeup and skincare in case you start noticing a correlation. And as always, wear a hat and sunscreen every day, which frankly, you should be doing even if you don’t have rosacea.
Handle Flare Ups
If you did happen to eat something you shouldn’t, or turned the heat up in the shower, or did any other number of triggers, and are suddenly dealing with a severe flare up, don’t panic. An ice pack in a cloth placed on the affected area can help to calm and soothe the area, and some people swear by using ice globe facial massagers on the daily.
Chat To Your Doctor
When all else fails, it may be time to book a doctor’s appointment. For severe cases of rosacea, how to treat it may be antibiotic creams and other prescription skincare products that your doctor can prescribe to you.
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Image credit: Ksenia Varapaeva
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