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What is Rosacea, What Causes It, & The Best Skin Care Regimen to Treat It

what is rosacea

Is your face constantly red? Does everything make your skin feel like it's on fire? You are probably one of the 16 million Americans living with rosacea. Not only uncomfortable, rosacea can be painful, embarrassing, and downright confusing; and it gets worse the longer it goes untreated. Creating a personalized treatment plan with a Dermatologist can be life-changing for rosacea-sufferers. It's never too late to get to know your skin and what it needs!

What is Rosacea and What Are the Symptoms? 

Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition characterized by flushing or blushing in the face. The 5 symptoms of rosacea include: 

  1. Sensitivity
  2. Persistent redness
  3. Visible blood vessels
  4. Papules or pustules
  5. Thickened or bumpy nose skin

Though each rosacea patient is unique and sufferers experience symptoms differently, all rosacea cases progress similarly over the course of a patient’s life and first appear with an onset of skin sensitivity. Rosacea usually starts around age 25-30 and can occur in any skin type. 

Sensitive skin is that which reacts with redness, stinging, burning, itching, or dryness to irritants in the environment. Common irritants include harsh cleansers, fragrance of any kind (in skincare and laundry detergents!), skincare products with “active ingredients” (like retinol, vitamin C, exfoliating acids or beads), and even harsh weather conditions like cold wind or a hot climate. Your rosacea skin may even be so overwhelmingly sensitive that you have trouble finding products to use, leaving your skin unprotected and more susceptible to irritation.  A dermatologist can diagnose the early signs of rosacea and intervene before symptoms worsen. 

Shop: Fragrance Free Skincare Products

About one quarter of rosacea cases present with papules and pustules, or what look like little pimples. These small, inflamed blemishes look like acne pimples, have a puss-filled white head, and usually appear around the nose and mouth area. 

Is Rosacea Permanent?

As rosacea progresses, the frequent and repetitive flushing produces ongoing visible redness and dilates surface capillaries as they fill with blood. Untreated, these capillaries, sometimes referred to as “broken blood vessels,” remain dilated and appear on the skin permanently. Some people with rosacea may notice the redness in their face come and go, while others, usually those with more advanced rosacea, will experience redness all the time. Rosacea worsens with age and so does redness; so, if your skin is constantly red and hot, it’s time to seek treatment from a dermatologist.

Often, patients with Papulopustular Rosacea mistake their rosacea flare-ups for acne, making their rosacea far worse with irritating or drying acne treatments. Left untreated, the inflammatory rosacea cycle can lead to skin-thickening in some (about 10% of cases; mostly men), leading to the appearance of a swollen, enlarged nose. It is absolutely key to see a dermatologist for treatment in the form of medication, a rosacea-centered skincare routine, and guidance on daily habits to improve rosacea.

What Does Rosacea Look Like?

Common rosacea concerns include redness, acne-like breakouts, and visible blood vessels. If your skin looks like any of the pictures below, you likely have rosacea.

what does rosacea look like

What Causes Rosacea?

While there is not a known root cause of rosacea, rosacea is genetic and impacted by the environment. Rosacea is ever-present, and though manageable, can “flare up” when aggravated by irritating or inflammatory products or conditions, or rosacea triggers.  

Some rosacea triggers to avoid include:

  • Excess heat in the form of hot drinks and spicy foods
  • Gut health disruptors like dairy products and gluten for those who are sensitive
  • Red wine and other alcoholic beverages
  • Temperature extremes
  • Sunlight and wind
  • Emotions, especially those associated with blushing, like anxiety or embarrassment
  • Exercise or physical exertion
  • Topical fragrances or fragrant essential oils
  • Drugs that dilate blood vessels, including some blood pressure medications

What is the Best Rosacea Treatment?

While there is no absolute cure for rosacea, creating a lifestyle and habits centered around addressing rosacea symptoms can provide immense relief to rosacea sufferers. By monitoring and minimizing triggers, developing a twice-daily skincare practice with products dedicated to relieving and preventing rosacea symptoms, and working with a dermatologist to find the best treatment for you, rosacea patients can find relief and uncover clear skin!

To help you navigate your way through the symptoms and flare-ups of rosacea, here's a breakdown of a dermatologist-recommended AM and PM skincare regimen:

The Best Morning Rosacea Skin Care Regimen

For a morning skincare regimen, board certified dermatologist, Dr. Lily Talakoub⁠, recommends skipping the possible dryness a cleanser can cause and, instead, rinsing with room-temperature water before patting your face dry. Next, apply a moisturizer to maintain the natural moisture barrier, your first line of defense against rosacea triggers. A fragrance-free moisturizer with antioxidants, skin-soothers, and barrier support goes one step further to prevent and relieve flare-ups. SkinKure Rosacea Cream Light does it all, plus the high concentration of green tea-derived caffeine aids circulation and targets dilated capillaries to soothe redness at its source. Sunscreen is absolutely the most important step in the daily routine of anyone with rosacea (and without!). Protecting already sensitive skin from additional heat and radiation is key to prevent worsening rosacea symptoms and permanent redness Dr. Lily recommends a broad-spectrum mineral-based sunscreen with at least SPF 30, but preferably SPF 50 with a tint for maximum protection from UVA, UVB, and visible light  (“blue light”).

The Best Evening Rosacea Skin Care Regimen

Before bed, Dr. Lily Talakoub recommends washing with a gentle cleanser. SkinKure Calming Cleanser doesn’t foam like other, harsher washes and delivers essential nutrients and antioxidants to soothe as it cleanses. SkinKure Rosacea Cream Heavy locks in hydration and treats redness as you sleep with its richer, silky texture. Sometimes, localized areas are so sensitized, they need some additional healing care that only Avéne Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream can deliver. 

Still not sure which products are right for your skin? Derm to Door can help! Text our Dermatologist on call at (703) 215-3087 to build your perfect skincare routine. 

The Best Solution: Prescription Rosacea Treatment

For some rosacea sufferers, a skincare routine doesn’t cut it, and they need medical intervention to find relief. With Derm to Door, you can receive a custom prescription medication formulated specifically for your skin and unique rosacea symptoms. Simply download our app, scan your skin, and your prescription rosacea medication will be at your door in a few days!  

Find relief from redness with our exclusive blends of rosacea-fighting ingredients like…

  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) calms irritation, soothes redness, decreases sensitivity, and evens skin tone.
  • Antibiotics and Blood-Vessel Constrictors treat stubborn Rosacea at the source 

Hyaluronic Acid draws 1000x its weight in water into the skin to deeply hydrate from the inside out.

More Rosacea Treatment Options

Still not sure which products are right for your skin? Derm to Door can help! Receive a free virtual diagnosis with our easy to use app: download for iOS, download for Android, that offers skin scan and treatment options (including prescription products from brand names you already love)... all from the comfort of your home at no extra cost.

Whether you’re noticing some skin sensitivity or struggling with redness and pustules, it's never too late to begin a skincare routine, learn your rosacea triggers, and seek prescription treatment from a dermatologist. Derm to Door has your back (but mostly your face) every step of the way!


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