I feel like everyone gets acne in high school but mine never really went away. It seemed to be subsiding throughout my first few years of college, although I was always a little red, but then it started to transform into this red blotchy sometimes bumpy mess that got progressively worse over the years. I could never seem to get it under control. I attributed it to adult acne and severely overactive skin but the reality is… I have rosacea.
Last year my face was at its absolute worse. I had giant red puffy dry patches all over my cheeks that would show up and take months to heal. I was getting multiple “eye lumps”(known as chalazions) on my eyelids that remained there for months, some nearly a year. The one on my upper left eyelid was so big it could have had its own zip code. When I looked in the mirror I didn’t feel like myself anymore, so I decided to see a doctor in hopes I could finally get my face under control. Alright, most people I know have never really seen my rosacea ridden skin… so here it goes… heres a close up of my face when it was nearing its worse about 8 months before I decided to see a dermatologist:
Wow, didn’t think anyone would ever see that photo when I took it 😅. I’m soooo glad I decided to see a dermatologist. Although I’m not thrilled to have a life long chronic skin condition, its much easier to control the problem when you know what the problem is. I’ve done a ton of research on rosacea and finally feel like I’ve found great products and have a good routine going. My face finally looks like my face again and I couldn’t be happier!
I decided to write this post because when I first got diagnosed with rosacea the information I found on the internet was really frustrating. First of all, theres no 100% known cause of rosacea. Triggers are different person to person. Some websites will tell you things like tomatoes are anti-inflammatory and good to eat if you have rosacea and other websites will say to stay away from tomatoes at all costs because it will aggravate your rosacea. That goes for a ton of different foods. What are you supposed to do with that information?
I also found that people with rosacea don’t have a very large internet presence. There’s not a lot of people out there with this skin condition commenting on products and routines that have helped them with their rosacea. All I really found were a bunch of posts on different beauty blogs and websites listing their “top 10 products for rosacea” but were clearly written by people that didn’t actually suffer from the condition and were just writing a list of the top ten products they “thought” would be good for rosacea based on one or two of the ingredients in the product… most of the products I tried from those websites made my rosacea worse not better.
So here I am writing my rosacea survival guide. I hope this guide is helpful to all you rosacea sufferers out there!
My Rosacea Survival Guide
1. Update your skin care routine. Alright guys, you don’t have acne you have rosacea so its time to get rid of all of your harsh facial cleansers and exfoliators containing salicylic acid, sodium sulfacetamide, glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Although these products typically help normal people with their skin problems… we’re not normal folks. These ingredients actually exacerbate problems for rosacea suffers. Even the new AHA and BHA exfoliators are to harsh for our delicate faces. We need gentle, fragrance-free, pH maintaining skin care products. Products that won’t irritate and dry out our skin. My skin care routine changed tremendously when I was diagnosed with rosacea. I’ll list all my favorite skin care products below.
♥ Must Have Facial Cleanser: First Aid Beauty Facial Cleanser
I’m absolutely in love with this cleanser. It’s perfect for my rosacea ridden skin. It’s super gentle and creamy, its free of all common skin irritants, and it has an antioxidant booster that helps protect your skin against environmental aggressors. Its pH-balanced formula helps to maintain skin’s natural acidity and helps reduce flare ups. All I can say is this stuff is great. If your having trouble finding a cleanser that works for your rosacea you should definitely try this one.
♥ Must Have Toner and Exfoliator: The Inkey List PHA Exfoliating Toner
I tried so many exfoliators before I found this holy grail of an exfoliator. I love this stuff. I was having issues with tiny little bumps all over my face that I would constantly scratch and pick at cause I didn’t have a good way to exfoliate my face without irritating the hell out of it. I was so happy when this product worked. Although this product isn’t marketed towards rosacea sufferers its honestly absolutely perfect for us. This product contains PHA 3%, which improves skin texture by exfoliating dead skin cells and allowing other skincare to penetrate deeper into the skin. It also contains Niacinamide 3%, which helps control excess oil, reduces blemishes, and tackles redness. Lastly, it contains Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, which helps soothe our inflamed skin. Only need to use this once a day.
♥ Must Have Moisturizer: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
First Aid Beauty coming to my rescue again! I’m convinced this is the best moisturizer on the planet. I’m obsessed with this stuff. I think what makes it so great for rosacea sufferers is that is has both calming and moisturizing properties. It doesn’t leave you feeling greasy and is safe for sensitive skin. It gives nearly immediate relief to dry, distressed. You have to try this stuff.
2. Check your hair care products. Your hair products will inevitably come into contact with the skin on your face. The main ingredients in hair care products that aggravate rosacea are sulfates. Make sure your shampoo and conditioner are sulfate free. Sulfates such as sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate are commonly found in shampoo and soap, its the ingredient that gives them their lathering effect. They’re also surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. When I checked my shampoo sodium lauryl sulfate was the first ingredient listed on the bottle… whoops. Needless to say I now use a different shampoo and conditioner.
♥ Must Have Shampoo and Conditioner: Aveeno Pure Renewal
I’ve been using Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo and Conditioner for about 10 months now and I really like it. It still lathers well, it smells good, doesn’t make my hair feel dry or gross and doesn’t flare up my rosacea.
♥ Must Have Deep Conditioner: Its A 10 Miracle Hair Mask Deep Conditioner
This stuff seems pricey at first but the 17.5oz bottle literally lasts me 6 months and seriously works wonders on split ends and dry damaged hair. You only have to use it a couple times a week for it to work. I straighten my hair every day and this product is a life savor. Its also sulfate free and uses a ton of natural ingredients. Ive never had a problem with this product flaring up my rosacea.
♥ Must Have Leave-In Heat Protectant: Its A 10 Leave-In Product
Its A 10 comes to the rescue again with this leave in spray. I use this product every day. It keeps my hair smooth and shiny, protects it from the heat, and works great as a defrizz/detangle spray. This product really does it all, its so worth the price. I buy the 10oz bottle on Amazon for about 25 dollars. This product usually lasts me anywhere between 4 and 6 months. This product has a ton of natural ingredients and has never given me a problem with my rosacea.
3. Protect your eyes/eyelids. 50% of people with rosacea have complications with their eyes/eyelids. They call this: ocular rosacea. People affected by ocular rosacea usually suffer from burning or stinging eyes, dry eyes, blood shot eyes, and clogged meibomian glands (oil glands) that form lumps on the eyelids. Unfortunately I’m part of the 50% of rosacea suffers that suffers from ocular rosacea but I finally feel like I’ve found the right products to fight back and thankfully I’m winning. Its been about a year now and I haven’t had any more issues with my eyelids. Hallelujah!
♥ Must Have Eyelid Scrub: Ocusoft Eye Lid Scrub
These little pre-moistened pads really do the trick to help combat and prevent me from getting those unsightly eyelid lumps. These little pads help cleanse and sooth mild to moderate conditions and remove debris and excess oil that clog the oil glands that help lubricate our eyes. I usually only use these bad boys during my night time face routine but if you want to use them in the morning as well, I would suggest cutting the package in half with some sterile scissors and folding over the packaging of the unused half to make sure it stays moist until night. This is an easy way to save some money and not waste any product.
♥ Must Have Eyelid Cleanser: Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo
This one may sound a little strange but baby shampoo is super gentle and perfect for cleansing your sensitive rosacea affected eyelids.Its also crazy affordable. I usually use this in the morning when I wake up and at night before I use my ocusoft lid scrubs. Some people out there use Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo as there lid scrub but I found this just wasn’t as effective for me.
♥ Must Have Eye Drops: Optimel Manuka Honey Eye Drops
These eye drops are God sent. I did extensive research to find a great eye drop to help with the burning/tearing sensation and chalazions on my eyelids. This stuff seriously works. At the moment its only sold in the UK and Australia but you can easily buy them online and ship them anywhere in the United States. I buy mine straight off Amazon. I usually buy 3 packs of eye drops at a time to save on international shipping. These eye drops help to stabilize the surface health of the eye from dry eye symptoms such as sore, irritated eyes and eyelids. Studies have found that meibomian glad disfunction significantly improved after use of this product consistently for 6 months. Ive been using these drops once a day during my night time face routine and I almost never have a tearing or burning sensation anymore. Ive also been eye lid lump free for about a year. Fair warning, these eye drops burn when you use them. I don’t find the burning sensation unbearable. I just keep my eyes closed for 30 seconds to a minute and let the burning subside. The long term affects are worth the temporary discomfort.
4. Check your cosmetics. If you’ve been living off of cheap drugstore brand foundations to cover the redness on your face, you might want to start investing in some higher quality face make up now that you know you have rosacea. You want to find a foundation that won’t leave your skin dry or irritated. Hypoallergenic make up and mineral based make up seems to really work for people. I personally like to stay away from oil free make up as my face is already really oily. I feel like this section I can’t really recommend a must have product because people seem to react so differently to foundations. After I was diagnosed with rosacea, I went to Sephora and grabbed a bunch of different samples of foundation. For me, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation worked best. Its expensive but I’ve been using it for about a year now and my face still loves it. ♥ Must Have Make Up Brush Cleaner: Electric Make Up Brush Cleaner Wand
Clean make up brushes are just as important as safe cosmetics when it comes to acne and rosacea. This make up brush cleaner wand is a fantastic tool to use when cleaning and drying your brushes. Over time, brushes accumulate bacteria. The more you clean them, the less acne-causing bacteria you’re spreading on your skin. Make up brushes also contain dead skin cells and oil, which can clog your pores and lead to irritation and breakouts. I use Jonson and Johnson Baby Shampoo with a couple drops of tea tree oil I buy from Trader Joe’s to clean my brushes. My favorite thing about the make up cleaner brush wand is that it drys my brushes in just a couple minutes!
5. Change your pillow cases. The friction from cotton on rosacea-prone skin can create more inflammation and can make your rosacea worse. Do yourself a favor and invest in some nice all natural silk pillow cases. Bacteria can also build up in pillow cases so I change mine every other night, which helps prevent pimples.
♥ Must Have Silk Pillow Case: Alaska Bear Natural Silk Pillow Case
These pillow cases are great and feel amazing on my face. They are 100% 19 momme mulberry silk. Its not just me, people can’t get enough of these extremely affordable all silk pillow cases. These pillow cases scored an average rating of 4.6 stars and over 7,000 reviews. Added bonus: silk pillow cases are also great for your hair and help prevent wrinkles.
There’s a lot of other factors, aside from products, that go into managing your rosacea. There are some factors that seem to rain true for a majority of rosacea sufferers such as stress, exposure to sunlight, alcohol, junk food, and heavy exercise. However, You’ll have to do some investigation to see whats affecting your body. For example, I find junk food affects my rosacea tremendously but I don’t really have an issue with alochol. You’ll figure out your triggers in time. Hopefully this rosacea product guide will help you feel a little more in control of your situation and help you get a jump start in finding the right products for your skin. Would love to hear what you guys think or if you have any product suggestions that work for you. Leave a comment!