Rosacea Treatment Tips from an Esthetician

January 10, 2023

Is it just rosy cheeks or could it be rosacea? What is a gentle rosacea treatment that actually WORKS? Can I cure my rosacea? If you’ve asked any of these questions in the past or present, this post is for you. Let’s chat about what rosacea is and how you can treat it at home. Let’s quell that redness together!

A woman holds up a towel in front of her face.

By: Hayley Wood L.E. N.T.P.


IN THIS POST:

Rosacea is a diagnosis that impacts more than 14 million people—and it’s still considered to be one of the most misunderstood skin conditions. It’s both often mistaken for acne and it’s often missed in those with darker complexions.

On top of that, rosacea treatments have advanced sloooowly over the last few decades, making it difficult for those suffering from it to truly find relief. Ugh, right?

But if you’re struggling with rosacea and reading this, don’t lose hope! We have a comprehensive breakdown of what the condition is and our top picks to help support and calm your skin.

Before we dive in, here’s the caveat: rosacea treatment differs from person to person, and we recommend seeking professional support when struggling with this or any other inflammatory skin condition.

RELATED: Skip Skin Inflammation: Try These Foods for Skincare


What IS rosacea?

In order to try to understand this delicate skin condition, let’s start with defining rosacea. Is it just rosy cheeks or is it more complicated than that?

What does rosacea look like?

Rosacea is a skin condition that includes symptoms ranging from facial redness, skin thickening, bumps, and visible vascularity (blood vessels) on the skin. Rosacea can occur in just about anyone, but is more common in people ages 30 and up.

What causes rosacea?

There is no exact known cause or cure for rosacea, but don’t worry, it is a completely non-threatening, treatable skin condition. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, possible rosacea causes include:

  • Genetics 
  • h.pylori gut infection
  • specific skin bacteria that triggers an immune response
  • inability to process the skin protein cathelicidin 
  • a demodex mite living in the skin

According to the National Rosacea Society, “Recent studies have shown that this facial redness is likely to be the start of an inflammatory continuum initiated by a combination of neurovascular dysregulation and the innate immune system.”

Because of the connection of rosacea and the immune system, many individuals treating their rosacea find relief in treating their skin both at the symptom and the root level for long term results. rosacea treatment can be determined by your symptoms and experience with it. 

RELATED: Best Tips from an Esthetician to Reduce Wrinkles

How do you get a rosacea diagnosis?

Before you start experimenting with possible rosacea protocols found online, it’s important to get properly diagnosed. You can get diagnosed by a dermatologist if you are suspected of having rosacea, as not all redness in the skin qualifies as rosacea. Licensed estheticians are also able to evaluate the skin and should be able to help you determine whether a diagnosis is necessary or not. 

RELATED: Skincare for Sensitive Skin

What are rosacea symptoms?

Rosacea symptoms differ from case to case. You don’t have to have every symptom in order to have rosacea, but it’s important to note if you have 1 or more of the following symptoms occurring frequently—that’s probably a sign to get yourself to a skin health professional for support. 

We recommend keeping a log of your symptoms to share with your esthetician and/or dermatologist. This way, a treatment plan can also include lifestyle and diet support as well as a curated topical skincare routine. 

Determining factors of rosacea usually include a consistency of certain common rosacea symptoms. Common rosacea symptoms include:

  • Swelling. When the face is experiencing puffiness and is actively uncomfortable. 
  • Flushing. This redness can appear in a shape like a butterfly across the cheeks and nose, in other patches or all over the face while lasting some time. It can also feel warm to the touch.
  • Bumps. This can be both breakout bumps if someone is struggling with acne rosacea, or bumps from growths on the skin due to the rosacea. 
  • Vascularity. This is referencing the visibility of capillaries on the skin. It looks like little blood vessels under a delicate barrier of skin. 
  • Irritation. Irritation can come in the form of sensation which can eventually become a visible symptom. 
  • Dryness. Lack of oil production in the skin. 

Another way to help determine if you have rosacea or not, as well as help determine possible solutions to support your rosacea would be to know your skin triggers. Skin triggers are the catalyst of a flare in rosacea making the rosacea much more visible. Once you understand your skin triggers, you can manage your flares by supporting your symptoms at the root cause. Common rosacea triggers include:

  • If you stay red after being exposed to heat for an extended period of time. This can be from weather, exercise or even a hot shower. In order to support this trigger, monitor the temperature of the water you use when you shower, bath and wash your face. 
  • Spicy foods and/or alcohol can trigger redness in the skin that lingers after eating/drinking. If you experience this, make sure to limit your intake and find a list of calming and cooling foods to help bring comfort back to your skin. 
  • Sensitivity to skincare formulations, but especially active ingredients from vitamin C to retinoids. Most people with rosacea have less tolerance to active skincare. Even if your skin is experiencing acne with your rosacea, it’s still best to treat your skin with simple, calming and anti-inflammatory ingredients only. 
  • Flared skin during high stress times or transitional stages. Perhaps your skin struggles to make it through a seasonal change without getting red and irritated. Or maybe a stressful event (holidays, big work presentations, having kids) is showing on your skin more than you’d like. This trigger is certainly connected to your immune response when your nervous system needs extra support. Make sure to take care of your health as a whole by getting rest, supporting your immune system and being extra gentle with yourself. 

What skincare routine is best for rosacea?

Finding your skin care solutions for rosacea can take some trial and error so we recommend sticking to a few rosacea rules in order to optimize support and recovery.

Remember that less is more

Even though a 10-step routine has become popular over the last several years, this trend would not be suitable for people with rosacea. The skin is much more delicate and only requires gentle, consistent maintenance. An ideal routine consists of: 

  • A gentle cream cleanser for both AM and PM
  • A hydrating calming mist for both AM and PM
  • A barrier protecting moisturizer for both AM and PM
  • An appropriate, mineral-based SPF for AM use, of course. Check out how our resident sensitive skin team member Nicolle describes her rosy skin’s reaction to TNK’s top SPF picks for recs.    

Keep your skin’s barrier supported

It may be tempting to exfoliate your skin when rosacea skin is experiencing bumpy texture—but rosacea-prone the skin is far too delicate for that. We suggest using cleansing towels designed to support the skin’s barrier while also giving you an effective clean, like these organic cotton wash cloths. Another supportive way to nurture your skin’s barrier would be to invest in a water filter for your skin like this one from Filter Baby


What skincare ingredients are good for rosacea treatment?

Getting familiar with ingredients that are ideal for rosacea will also help empower you to make conscious choices for your flared skin. As a rule, it’s best to stick to calming ingredient lists with little to no essential oil content. Skipping active ingredients in skincare is also a good choice—harsh scrubs and exfoliants are not friends with rosacea prone skin. Our top choices for calming, rosacea approved ingredients are common ones you’ll find in lots of better-for-you skincare.

Green tea

Green tea is a top ingredient to help support rosacea sufferers because of its anti-inflammatory powers as well as its antioxidant properties. This ingredient can help provide much support to rosacea sufferers.

TNK green tea product picks


Rose

Rose is known as a soothing ingredient for both the skin and the nervous system. Rose absolute has been studied to have strong beneficial effects on our cortisol levels and help us destress. It is a wonderful ingredient for those suffering from inflammation in their skin due to rosacea. 

TNK rose product picks


Aloe

Aloe has cooling, calming, and restoring benefits that can bring much needed relief to a person struggling with the skin flares of rosacea. Think of how soothing it feels to apply after a sunburn and that is the daily relief needed for a person with active rosacea.

TNK aloe product picks


Chamomile

Chamomile is a flower known for calming and cooling skin. It can support the skin when experiencing heat, redness, and breakouts to help calm inflammation.

TNK chamomile product picks


Rosacea is a condition that can be difficult to treat if you don’t find what works for you. Since each person is different, it’s important to remember that there is a huge difference between treating the symptom and treating the root cause. In the case of rosacea, the balance of both has to be there in order to find relief and comfort in your skin long-term. 

What brands/products do you turn to for rosacea-prone skin?

xo, hayley in cursive lettering

TNK Team Note: This article contains affiliate links. TNK uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TNK stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.

By Hayley Wood

Hayley Wood is a licensed esthetician, nutritional therapy practitioner, and founder of Therapeutic Skin Coach. With 16 years of experience in holistic skincare and education, Hayley has a passion for skin health education and offers custom plant-based facials in Dallas, Texas as well as online consultations and classes.

2 Comments

  1. Reply

    Kalinda Vazquez

    Thanks for this post! I have eczema and my skin can be really reactive so I’ve learned to steer clear of a lot of essential oil heavy formulas. I love the Fit Glow Beauty Sea Ceramide toning mist — I find it to be very gentle. I also swear by the Maqui Berry Whip from Skin Owl, which I use AM and PM as my moisturizer. Their matcha green tea cleansing bar is also amazing. I have eczema around my lips too and have learned I need to avoid anything with peppermint oil or orange oil (sadly both used in a lot of clean beauty lip products). Weleda’s lip butter is great for me and for night I love the Ilia lip mask. Funnily enough I’ve found products with Rose to be really irritating, but green tea, chamomile and aloe all agree with me very well. It’s a journey of trial and error, but worth it when you find the stuff that works!

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Thank you for sharing your experience Kalinda! I hear great things about Skin Owl too..so glad you are finding what works for you! xo, L

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