Complex skin conditions such as rosacea don’t necessarily require complex solutions. In fact, where rosacea is concerned, the more basic the better. Applying too many products—especially those with harsh ingredients—won’t improve your condition and might even make it worse. Keep your regimen pure and simple for the best results. Here’s how to treat rosacea naturally at home.
Stash the washcloth and instead apply a gentle fragrance-free cleanser with your fingertips. Before actually using the product on your face, it’s essential to test an area—such as your neck—to see if any irritation occurs. As a general rule, a good choice for cleansing is zinc soap, medicated with 2 percent pyrithione zinc or sulfur-based cleansers, as opposed to products with harsh additives like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. These ingredients can easily aggravate delicate, rosacea-prone skin. After gently cleansing, rinse with lukewarm water, then wait five to 10 minutes for your face to fully dry before applying additional products.
To Tone or Not to Tone
Products that contain alcohol, witch hazel, peppermint, menthol, tea tree oil or rosemary—all common toner ingredients—can exacerbate rosacea. As a general rule, products designed to exfoliate the skin should be avoided. Only use a toner specifically designed for delicate, sensitive skin; if you notice any burning or increased redness, discontinue use immediately.
Many women find that exposure to sun triggers their rosacea flare-ups, so applying sunscreen daily is an absolute must. If you’re using a topical or prescription product, apply this first, then follow up with an SPF of 30 or higher. Naturally, it’s critical to look for gentle formulas: Sunscreens with titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and silicone or dimethicone typically won’t irritate rosacea-prone skin.
Consider your skin type when you choose a moisturizer; whether you’re oily, normal or dry, the proper amount of hydration is critical for staving off rosacea flare-ups. All formulas should be fragrance-free, but oily skin requires a lotion or gel formula, while dryer complexions call for heavier creams. Ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, green tea and other gentle antioxidants work to keep skin balanced and hydrated.
This article has been reviewed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Emmy Graber.