By Kaitlyn McLintock

As someone who’s struggled with rosacea for years, I can confidently say that it’s is one of the most stubborn—not to mention irritating—skin conditions to manage. It’s not just the chronic redness (although that’s difficult to deal with in of itself); it’s also the sensitivity, the burning sensation, and the small red bumps that pop up in large expanses across my face. Luckily, over the course of a few years, I’ve found ways to quiet my rosacea, so that it doesn’t loom as large in my mind (or in my mirror), but it took time, research, and a lot of trial-and-error to do so.

What Is Rosacea?

What I’ve found is that the first step in managing rosacea is to understand what it is in the first place. While the causes of rosacea are still unknown, we do know that it’s an inflammatory skin condition that presents itself in a variety of ways. Signs and symptoms range from chronic redness and sensitivity to rash-like bumps, visible blood vessels, and thickening of the skin, among other things. While it’s best to see a dermatologist to diagnose and treat the condition, there are some things you can do at home to lessen its effects.

What Triggers Rosacea?

Common triggers of rosacea encompass everything from certain lifestyle habits to specific types of weather and skin and hair products. Things like stress, heat, cold, wind, exercise, spicy food, alcohol, and sunlight can all trigger flare-ups. Some people say excessive caffeine consumption triggers their rosacea, so all coffee lovers beware.

While my daily coffee doesn’t seem to make a difference in my case, I notice that sunlight, heat, and exercise do. In fact, my worst flare-ups are usually in the summertime, especially after I spend time at the beach on warm days. That’s why I’ve taken to wearing SPF daily and limiting my sun exposure in general. I also turn on the A/C when temperatures soar and cool down as quickly as possible after a workout.

What Skincare Products Should You Avoid?

We need to talk about the skincare products that can make rosacea worse, because there are quite a few. To calm and prevent flare-ups, it’s recommended that you stay away from products that contain strong acids (such as glycolic acid), artificial fragrance, and alcohol. Also be wary of sulfates and astringent ingredients, which can prove too irritating for skin that’s already sensitive and inflamed. Don’t use harsh physical exfoliators, either. One of the worst things you can do is inflame your skin further by rubbing it with harsh granules.

What Skincare Products Should You Use?

Dr. G recommends reaching for skincare products that contain soothing ingredients like vitamin K, arnica, and tea extracts. These ingredients reduce redness and inflammation. Try Dr. Goldfaden’s Pure Start Gentle Detoxifying Facial Cleanser, which will cleanse the skin from dirt, makeup, and impurities without stripping it of moisture (it’s safe for even the most sensitive skin). The Bright Eyes Dark Circle Radiance Concentrate is another good option for fellow rosacea sufferers. It contains the aforementioned arnica, which is helpful for calming skin around the eye area.

Another product worth investing in is the Radical Difference Advanced Antioxidant Serum, which contains tea extracts that calm and soothe the skin. Regular application of this fragrance-free serum can even reduce the appearance of redness.

As someone who’s tried it all, trust me. Recognizing your skin’s triggers and using the right products works wonders to calm and quiet rosacea. With that being said, you don’t have to find all the answers on your own. As with any skin concern or condition, it’s best to see a dermatologist if you think you’re struggling with rosacea. After all, only an expert can give you a true diagnose and thoroughly answer all questions pertaining to your unique skin.


Kaitlyn McLintock is a beauty and wellness writer based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in such publications as Popsugar, Byrdie, Hello Giggles, Who What Wear, and more. When she’s not writing, researching, and editing, or testing out the latest skincare and makeup products, she’s drinking coffee and spritzing Goldfaden’s Mist RX all over her skin.

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