Skin Care
The Rosacea Cure - Reversing Redness
Apr 16, 2013 - 3:04:28 PM

( - Rosacea can cause more than ruddy, red cheeks and flushing for the 16 million people who live with the condition. Some types of rosacea can cause breakouts, eye irritation and even thick and bumpy skin.

According to Gary Marder, Palm Beach dermatologist, "The exact causes of rosacea are not fully understood, but research is ongoing and treatments are getting better and more plentiful." There are some triggers that seem to be clear, he says. For example, hormones play a strong role in rosacea, and many women notice rosacea flare-ups around their menstrual period and/or the onset of menopause. Other triggers include stress, sun exposure, extreme cold, heat or windy conditions, spicy foods, alcohol, and hot beverages.

"There are things in development now that will change how we treat rosacea," says Michele Green, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. For example, a new school of thought suggests that tiny mites living on the skin may release bacteria that cause the redness and inflammation.  People with rosacea have more than 10 times as many of these mites on their skin than people without it. If this research pans out, it may open the doors to new ways to treat rosacea, she predicts.

Know Your Triggers

Keep a symptom diary and try to find out what triggers your rosacea flares, and avoid them where you can. For example, do you get flushed after taking a hot yoga class? Or after you have a glass of red wine? Keep track and a pattern will start to emerge.

While there is no known cure for rosacea, the use of mild or specially formulated skincare and cosmetics, and/or professional medical treatments for aggressive cases, can ease symptoms and keep your complexion clear.

Choose fragrance-free cosmetics and skincare products that won't irritate your already inflamed skin. Avoid known irritants, such as alcohol, preservatives, harsh detergents and synthetic dyes. Look for the words like, "hypoallergenic" and "paraben-free" on the label.

Gentle cleansing is extremely important for skin with rosacea to remove excess oil, debris, bacteria and makeup residue. Unless your skin is oily, non-soap cleansers are the best option. ZO® Skin Health Offects® Hydrating Cleanser ($35 on is formulated for dry skin types and includes soothing ingredients like panthenol. You can use it twice a day without disturbing the skin's natural moisture barrier.

Use only a light daytime moisturizer to calm and hydrate skin. DDF Ultra Light Oil Free Moisturizing Dew ($42 on is an oil -free moisturizer that contains Aloe Vera, Vitamins A, E and C, and Grapeseed and offers gentle protection.

A rosacea-proof prevention regimen must include a potent sunscreen. Choose a non-chemical sunscreen with Zinc or Titanium dioxide for broad-spectrum protection. Lumixyl MoistureLock Sunscreen SPF 30 ($58 on protects your skin from the sun and also helps create a moisture barrier to lock out impurities and irritants that may cause a rosacea flare.

For evening use, try ZO Skin Health Ommerse® Overnight Recovery Crème ($95) to repair and regenerate your skin. Formulated for dry skin, this reparative crème includes Canadian Willowherb, which has been clinically proven to significantly reduce chemical and UV-induced redness, inflammation and irritation.

If your skin is already inflamed, the goal is to calm it down quickly, Green says. "Topical vitamin C gets rid of redness and so do some green tea extracts."

Sometimes bigger guns such as lasers are needed to reduce flushing, redness, and visible blood vessels that can accompany rosacea.

The Red in the Face Fixers

And as far as lasers go, the Candela VBeam Perfecta is the one to beat, says New York Plastic Surgeon David M Shafer, MD.  "The wavelength of the laser specifically targets redness and pigmentation so the range of conditions which can be treated extends beyond redness and includes the treatment of small capillaries and veins, age spots and even bruising after surgery," he says. The VBeam Perfecta has a cooling mechanism that helps reduce discomfort.  "Most patients see a noticeable difference after the first treatment but depending on the severity of the patient's condition, several treatments may be required."

Intense pulsed light therapy including Syneron Medical's elos technology also has a role in treating rosacea and flushing.

Sometimes treatments are matched to the specific subtype of rosacea. If yours involves acne-like bumps and pimples, antibiotics may help treat a flare. These can be taken orally or applied to the skin.

April is Rosacea Awareness Month - a gentle reminder to make sure you are doing all that you can to keep your skin a rosacea-free zone. For more information, visit, and

Wendy Lewis is President of Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd, Global Aesthetics Consultancy, author of 11 beauty books and the Founder and Editor of [email protected]


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