How To Navigate Beauty Products With Rosacea

Photo: Jack Sorokin

When 10-step K-beauty routines and product layering trends abound, it's no wonder increasing numbers of people are discovering they have sensitive skin. We have more product choices and categories than ever before, in both clean and conventional beauty—and the reality is that the more products you use, the more likely you are to experience a reaction to one of the ingredients in said products.

This is especially true of people with rosacea. Clinical rosacea affects an estimated 415 million people worldwide, which sounds like a lot but is approximately 5.5 percent of the total population. "I am not sure if the actual incidence has gone up, but certainly many more people seem to be aware of it," said holistic dermatologist Cybele Fishman, M.D. "People who used to just think of themselves as having sensitive skin, or being on the pink side, are coming in asking if they have rosacea."

Katey Denno, a green celebrity makeup artist and nontoxic beauty expert, has also noticed an uptick in rosacea awareness. "I have heard about it more through clients, friends, and on social media lately," Denno said. She suspects it's because more people are paying more attention to their skin.

Holistic esthetician, mbg Collective member, and health coach Britta Plug says that she has about four clients who truly have rosacea—the rest are experiencing sensitivity due to products and routines that strip the skin of its protective barrier.

What products should you use if you have rosacea?

According to Dr. Fishman, anyone with rosacea or especially sensitive skin would experience noticeable, positive differences with fewer products, fewer chemicals, and a decrease in skin irritants. "That includes exposure to cold, wind, low humidity, and extreme heat as well as products," she said. While it can be a bummer if you love product, she said, rosacea sufferers were not meant to constantly experiment with several new skin care formulations. "If you find products and ingredients that work for your skin, stick with them!"

It's also important to remember that rosacea and acne are different conditions, even though they can present similar symptoms. "Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid may be fine for an acne patient but not for a rosacea patient, even if they both have 'pimples,'" Dr. Fishman said. Plug's rosacea-prone clients do well using Laurel's Anti-Inflammatory Serum, which is formulated with potent anti-inflammatory plant actives.

Denno's makeup clients have seen success using Jenette’s All-Natural Cacao Soap Bar, as well as the products in True Botanicals 'Calm' line. "I generally only use Vapour Organic Beauty foundation and skin makeup on clients with bad rosacea. They're formulated with rosacea in mind—one of the creators has it!"

Rosacea may be an autoimmune condition.

Recent studies have linked rosacea to autoimmune conditions. As such, Dr. Fishman often recommends patients with rosacea talk to their doctors about SIBO and other digestive issues they may experience. Plug, who takes a holistic approach in her practice that often includes her health coaching and nutrition knowledge, tells her rosacea clients to avoid spicy foods and that extra glass of vino—eating anti-inflammatory foods can go a long way in managing rosacea symptoms.

Ever wonder how to oil cleanse? Find out with skin care expert Britta Plug's oil-cleansing tutorial.

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