how to, reviews, skin care

How To: Deal With Rosacea

I’m super excited to review my new favorite product, Paula’s Choice 1% BHA Lotion! But first, let’s talk a bit about rosacea. You’ve probably heard about rosacea (or might have even been diagnosed), but don’t fully understand what it is. Don’t feel bad! The medical community doesn’t fully understand what rosacea is or how to get rid of it either. Awesome, right? But don’t freak out. And trust me, if you start reading too much on the Internet, it’s easy to freak. Basically, rosacea is a skin condition that an estimated 14 million Americans deal with. It begins as redness on the cheeks and nose, but can get worse if left untreated. While almost anyone can get rosacea, those affected most are often lighter skinned women. People can go without knowing they have rosacea and treat it like dry skin, or even oily/acne-prone skin and treat it as such, which can make the issue worse. If you think you might have it, head to your dermatologist to get it diagnosed. Your dermatologist can even prescribe oral medication to treat rosacea if skin care changes don’t help your case. But first, eliminate the aspects of your skin care routine that increase inflammation, says skincare expert Paula Begoun.

Products to Eliminate:
– Harsh cleansers such as bar soaps and bar cleansers
– Drying liquid or lotion cleansers
– Toners with alcohol and fragrance
– Abrasive scrubs
– Rough washcloths
– At-home facial peels
– Using too many products at the same time

Some skin care ingredients can make rosacea worse, so you should avoid fragrant plant extracts, synthetic fragrances, alcohol, and witch hazel. Also, I have found direct and hot sunlight on my face to be a major trigger, as is hot water, spicy food, alcohol, caffeine (boo) and stress. Keep in mind that specific rosacea triggers can be different, which is why some of the lists you might find online are overwhelming. Just pay attention to what seems to affect your skin.

Tips for Managing Rosacea:
– Use a gentle, non-drying, water-soluble cleanser
– Use tepid water to wash your face and don’t wash your face in the shower
– Use sunscreen with at the very least SPF 15 and pick one with a physical filter like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide
– Once or twice a day, use a salicylic acid (BHA) exfoliant

That brings me to my new favorite product! Paula’s Choice 1% BHA Lotion, which is amazing and has helped my skin more than anything else I’ve tried. (I’ve also switched around some other products in my skincare routine, which I will address later in this post, but adding the right BHA has helped the most.) Paula’s Choice 1% BHA Lotion gently exfoliates and softens your skin with 1% salicylic acid in a matte finish lotion. It’s perfect for normal to slightly dry skin. It penetrates your pore and dislodges blackheads, helps to reduce acne, and the frequency of breakouts. Plus, it fades existing red marks from past blemishes and stimulates collagen production for firmer, less wrinkled skin. Salicylic acid is a natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent with anti-redness benefits, so it’s perfect for rosacea. It’s also suitable for all skin types, but best for combination to dry skin with flaky areas, which completely describes my skin. When I started using Paula’s Choice 1% BHA I noticed less dry spots and flakes immediately. And soon after noticed less redness and clogged pores. My skin feels and looks in better condition, no breakouts or reactions to this product.

I had been trying another BHA for a few weeks before I got Paula’s Choice 1%–Neutrogena 3-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment Oil-Free Acne Stress Control (could they have made that name any longer?) Neutrogena’s BHA was ok, but I was still getting clogged pores and my skin was still dry and flaky (I had to switch to every other night) and it’s highly fragranced, so my skin was still reacting to it. Paula’s Choice 1% is superior in my opinion because it’s 100% fragrance-free and contains no dyes or coloring agents, plus it’s gentle enough to use every night with no problem! NOTE: Those allergic to aspirin (acetylsalicylate) should not use products containing salicylic acid (Beta Hydroxy Acid or BHA). Final word: MAJOR LOVE for Paula’s Choice 1% BHA. Highly recommended!! Price: $18.95/4 oz or try the sample size $0.80/0.1 fl. oz

After the break, on to the other products I’ve been using & loving! In the months since I was diagnosed with a mild case of rosacea, learned a lot about it, and I’ve swapped out some of my old products for more “rosacea friendly” ones. Here’s the breakdown…

FACE WASH: I switched from Purpose face wash, which I was finding way too drying to Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, which is really mild. For some reason, an effective face was the most difficult product for me to find! Lots of things either clog my pores or dry me out… Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser seems to work for me though, although the one for normal/oily skin does not.

TONER: For toner I’ve been using La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water. It is 100% pure spring water that has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s great for intolerant skin, eczema, and rosacea specifically. You just mist your face after cleansing and then allow to dry before applying your lotion.

SUNSCREEN: I’m still using Elta MD UV Physical SPF 41 daily.

MAKEUP REMOVER: In the evening to remove my sunscreen and any makeup I have on I still use Boscia MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil. Love this stuff. Also, I barely wear any makeup on my skin unless I have to look extra special because everything seems to irritate my skin right now. Sucks! If I discover some good makeup for rosacea-prone skin, I will report back! (Or if you have any recommendations, let me know!)

EYE DROPS: I’ve always had super sensitive eyes, which I thought was just allergies, but lots of people with rosacea also deal with either ocular rosacea or just dry eyes. I have been using Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops and it’s made a lot of difference with my eyes. They are much less dry and irritated when I use these drops a few times a day. Plus, they’re one of the only eye drops that don’t burn my eyes when I apply them. They’re great.

MASCARA: My eyes react to a lot of products including most eyeshadows, which sucks big time since I love makeup so much. I limit my makeup use to mascara only on most days and major eye makeup for when I’m doing something fancy. Again, I plan on reporting back about which eye makeup I find most tolerable. (Or give me recommendations if you have sensitive eyes too and have found stuff that works!) The mascara that I’m currently using & loving is Josie Maran GOGO Instant Natural Volume Argan Mascara, which can be found at Sephora for $22.00. Love it! In fact, I am really digging the Josie Maran Argan Color Stick on my lips too. Her line seems really great.

One final thing that I’ve changed, I no longer even attempt to use any kind of manual exfoliation, like the Clarisonic Mia. Sadly, the Mia is now resting in my skincare product graveyard. (R.I.P.) It was just too harsh for my skin. I was noticing irritation and redness every time I tried to use it, which can lead to broken capillaries for those with rosacea. Boo! I used a Sephora gift certificate on that sucker. Oh well. Live & learn. 😉

Fore information on rosacea, check out:

An editorial sample of 1% BHA Lotion was provided by Paula’s Choice for review. Please see my About page for further information on Disclosure policies.