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If only choosing a skin care product was 100% easy – you just pop into the store (or fill your shopping cart online) with the first thing and name it a day. However, we know that there are a few things to look out for when shopping for moisturizers, serums, detergents, toners, and more. The most important factors? Your skin type and any conditions and concerns.
It might be a no-brainer for some, but until a while ago I didn't customize something that I thought was so simple – a facial cleanser – for my particular skin type. Now I know.
If you have rosacea, you know how difficult it can be to find products that are right for you and the relapses you may experience. Many skin care items can be irritating or make the redness worse. Especially when it comes to moisturizers, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Firstly, if you have rosacea you probably know you have it, but I asked a dermatologist to officially define the skin condition. "Rosacea is an inflammatory skin disease that is linked to skin sensitivity," explains state-certified dermatologist Aleta Simmons, MD. "The basics of treatment are gentle skin cleansers, moisturizers, and SPF sunscreens. SPF is important because sunlight is a trigger for rosacea flares. The challenge is to find the right product for your skin that doesn't cause irritation or sensitivity deteriorated. "
When choosing a product, it helps to keep your rosacea in mind as well as your skin type. "The biggest problem of all is choosing an over-the-counter product that claims to treat rosacea but may not match your skin type," says board-certified dermatologist Ife Rodney, MD, FAAD, in Eternal Dermatology and Aesthetics. "People with rosacea tend to have dry skin and may be using a product that is not right for their skin type. Talk to a dermatologist about rosacea first instead of trying to treat it yourself."
People with rosacea benefit from a calming effect from choosing a moisturizer. "People with rosacea need gentle moisturizers that also help maintain the skin's natural moisture barrier so it stays hydrated, calm, and better protected from the outside world," says board-certified dermatologist Naissan Wesley, MD. Here are some other rules to follow.
Since dryness is a common symptom for people with rosacea, products containing glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and moisturizing oils like argan oil can keep your skin hydrated. "Ceramides, which are found in many skin care products, are especially helpful for rosacea," says Rodney. "Ceramides help hold skin cells in alignment and tighten them, preventing water loss from the skin while keeping dirt and impurities out. Vitamins like niacinamide (vitamin B3) and vitamin C are antioxidants that help clean up DNA caused by free oxygen – Repair radical damage to skin cells. "
Sunscreens are always important, so looking for a moisturizer with a built-in broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher can help. Exposure to UV light can make the symptoms of rosacea worse, Wesley adds.
You should stay away from ingredients that can irritate the skin. "Moisturizers with exfoliants like salicylic, glycolic, lactic and retinoid acids can be irritating and cause increased redness," explains Simmons.
Alcohols, benzoyl peroxide, retinoids (unless they're in a gentle formulation), fragrances, menthol, eucalyptus, peppermint oil, harsh soap, and sodium lauryl sulfate can be irritating to all types of skin care products for sensitive skin and rosacea, Wesley adds.
By "vehicle" we mean whether your moisturizer is a cream, gel, or lotion. "Vehicle selection for moisturizers is different for each patient," explains Simmons. "People with extra dry skin can benefit from a cream or gel-to-cream moisturizer, while people with normal to oily skin prefer a lotion, gel, or water-based moisturizer."
"Rosacea and acne breakouts often go hand in hand," says Rodney. "Even moisturizers that promise good hydration can clog your pores and increase the chance of a breakout." Look for products that are non-comedogenic, which means they won't clog your pores.
Once you've found a moisturizer that will work with your rosacea, put it on regularly to keep the skin hydrated. "I can't say enough about the importance of hydration for people with rosacea," says Rodney. "It's non-negotiable. You should moisturize at least once a day as it moisturizes the skin, reducing irritation, peeling, burning, and redness. It restores your skin's protective barrier. The moisturizer also helps create a creating an extra layer of protection against dirt and other external contaminants. If your skin feels dry during the day, don't be afraid to reapply your moisturizer, especially if you're out and about in the sun. "
Rodney recommends applying moisturizer to cleansed skin – wash your face with lukewarm water and air dry. If you have a prescription rosacea cream, apply it first, let it dry, and then apply your moisturizer. The first time you try a moisturizer, do a patch test and leave it on for a few hours or overnight to see if you have any signs of irritation.
And you can try this trick for extra relief: Simmons recommends putting the moisturizer in the refrigerator when you apply it for a cooling effect.