How to Control Rosacea

Two Parts:Minimizing Flare-UpsManaging Flare-Ups and Breakouts

Rosacea is a common skin disease affecting people of all ages.[1] Rosacea often presents as redness, blushing, or flushed skin that can get worse over time and without treatment.[2] Although there is no cure for the disease, by minimizing the potential for flare-ups and treating rosacea breakouts, you may be able to control your rosacea.[3]

Part 1
Minimizing Flare-Ups

  1. Image titled Control Rosacea Step 1
    Avoid triggers. Doctors are unsure of what causes rosacea, but they do know that certain factors can trigger or make rosacea worse. In many cases, triggers of rosacea increase blood flow to the surface of the skin.[4] Avoid some of the following things that may exacerbate your rosacea:
    • Hot foods and drinks
    • Spicy foods
    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Sunlight
    • Stress, embarrassment, or anger
    • Vigorous exercise or activity
    • Hot baths, showers, and saunas
    • Drugs such as corticosteroids and blood pressure medication.[5]
    • Wind
    • Cold weather
    • Humidity
    • Certain cosmetics and skin-care products.[6]
  2. Image titled Control Rosacea Step 2
    Protect your skin. Exposing your skin to the elements can cause flare-ups or make ongoing rosacea worse. Protecting it against sun, wind, and the cold may minimize flare-ups and help you control your rosacea.[7]
    • Wear a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays with a minimum SPF 30. Make sure to reapply often.[8]
    • Keep your skin cool by staying out of the direct sun, using fans, and being in air-conditioned rooms during the summer.
    • Put on a scarf or face mask in the winter to protect against the wind and cold.[9]
  3. Image titled Control Rosacea Step 3
    Wash with gentle cleansers. Wash your face and any areas prone to rosacea with a gentle cleanser. This can not only prevent flare-ups but may also minimize the risk of breakouts or infection by clearing bacteria from your skin.[10]
    • Use with a gentle cleanser that has a neutral pH such as Dove or Cetaphil.[11]
    • Look for products that are fragrance-free and allergy tested. Note that “hypoallergenic” is not the same as “allergy tested,” which is what you should buy.[12]
    • Wash with your fingertips and avoid using a washcloth or sponge, which can irritate your skin.[13]
    • Rinse with lukewarm water to prevent flushing and stripping your skin of oils and irritating it.[14]
    • Blot your skin dry to avoid irritating it.[15]
    • Consider doing a skin patch test before using a product to make sure that you don’t have a reaction to it.[16]
  4. Image titled Control Rosacea Step 4
    Moisturize your skin. Doctors believe that moisturizing your skin not only can help create a barrier to prevent flare-ups but also soothe rosacea. Apply a skin-specific moisturizer to your skin after washing it.[17]
    • Ask your dermatologist to prescribe or suggest a moisturizer for you. There are many products on the market now specifically formulated for people with rosacea.[18]
    • Wait up to 10 minutes after washing your skin or a medical treatment to apply your moisturizer. This may minimize burning or stinging.[19]
    • Consider using a moisturizer that has a broad-spectrum sunscreen in it. Products with multiple functions can minimize the risk of flare-ups.[20]
  5. Image titled Control Rosacea Step 5
    Watch for products with known irritants. Some studies have shown that certain ingredients in products you use on your skin can trigger flare-ups or irritate your skin.[21] Reading product labels for these ingredients can help you prevent flare-ups. Watch for:
    • Alcohol
    • Witch hazel
    • Fragrance
    • Menthol
    • Peppermint
    • Eucalyptus oil
    • Exfoliating agents.[22]
  6. Image titled Control Rosacea Step 6
    Keep your fingers and hands away from your skin. Touching or rubbing your skin can irritate it and cause flare-ups. Make a conscious effort to not touch your face or any other areas of skin that are prone to rosacea.[23]
    • Avoid picking or popping any rosacea lesions that resemble acne.
    • Be careful to not rest your hands on your face or chin.

Part 2
Managing Flare-Ups and Breakouts

  1. Image titled Control Rosacea Step 7
    See your doctor. If you are having bad flare-ups, can’t control breakouts, or aren’t sure if you have rosacea, schedule an appointment with your doctor. She can suggest a treatment that works for the specific variant of the disease you have. The four types of rosacea are:
    • Erythematotelangiectatic, which presents as flushing and persistent facial redness or visible blood vessels.
    • Papulopustular, which presents as persistent facial redness and bumps and pimples resembling acne.
    • Phymatous rosacea, which presents as skin thickening and enlargement, often around the nose of men.
    • Ocular, which presents in the eyes as a watery or bloodshot appearance, sensations of foreign body, burning or stinging, dryness, itching, light sensitivity and blurred vision.[24]
  2. Image titled Control Rosacea Step 8
    Put an emollient cream on your skin. There is some evidence that a prescription emollient cream can help repair skin that suffers from rosacea.[25] Use one of these creams in addition to your moisturizer to help control and prevent flare-ups.
    • Read product labels for ingredients that include emollients.[26] Examples of emollients are glycerol stearate, lanolin, soy sterol, and sunflower seed oil.[27]
  3. Image titled Control Rosacea Step 9
    Take medication. Many people will need medication and avoiding triggers to control their rosacea. Taking or applying prescription medication can help control inflammation and any infection that may result from a flare-up of most types of rosacea.[28] Two types of medication your doctor may prescribe are:
    • Antibiotics. These are often creams, lotions, or gels that control inflammation.[29] Wait ½ hour after washing your face to minimize a burning sensation.[30] Antibiotic pills may be slightly more effective, but also come with more side effects.[31]
    • Acne drugs. Many doctors may prescribe isotretinoin, a drug usually for severe cystic acne, to help clear up acne-like flare-ups of rosacea.[32] Avoid isotretinoin if you are pregnant because it can cause birth defects.[33]
  4. Image titled Control Rosacea Step 10
    Undergo surgery. In some cases, including thickening of the skin or enlarged blood vessels, it may be necessary to control your rosacea with surgery. Consider this option if conventional treatments doesn’t control your rosacea.[34]
    • Get dermabrasion to remove thickened skin.[35]
    • Reduce the visibility of blood vessels and thickened skin or tissue buildup with laser or electrosurgery.[36]
    • Discuss other surgical options with your doctor such as cryosurgery, radiofrequency ablation, and skin grafting if you are not comfortable with laser or electrosurgery.[37]
  5. Image titled Control Rosacea Step 11
    Try probiotics. Early research has shown that use of probiotics can help clear your skin of rosacea. Try either a topical cream or an oral probiotic to help manage and prevent flare-ups.[38]
    • Apply a probiotic cream, cleanser or mask. Any of these products can shield, calm, and protect your skin from flare-ups.[39]
    • Take oral probiotics, which you can find daily supplements containing Lactobacilli and/or Bifidobacterium.[40] You can buy probiotic products at most pharmacies and health food stores.
  6. Image titled Control Rosacea Step 12
    Go with yogurt. There is also some evidence that yogurt may help control your rosacea.[41] Try eating yogurt with live bacteria cultures daily or using Greek yogurt as a mask.[42]
    • Make sure your yogurt has live cultures by reading the label. Only these yogurt products may help your rosacea.[43]
    • Put a Greek yogurt mask on your skin. There is currently no formal research on the efficacy of Greek yogurt masks, but some doctors have reported their patients having success with this home remedy.[44]
    • Yogurt masks have the benefit of moisturizing your skin, which may also calm and soothe your rosacea.
  7. Image titled Control Rosacea Step 13
    Keep your skin moisturized. Many doctors believe that keeping your skin moisturized is a key component to dealing with rosacea. Make sure you moisturize your skin even during flare-ups to help them heal and minimize your risk for further breakouts.
    • Use an unscented and allergy-free moisturizer during flare-ups to avoid irritating your skin.[45]
    • Putting moisturizer on every day helps to build a moisture barrier that protects your skin from triggers and irritants.[46]
  8. Image titled Control Rosacea Step 14
    Take a supplement. There is also no medical evidence that supplements can control rosacea, but you may want to try one in addition to another treatment. Consider taking:
    • A supplement with a gamma-linolenic acid, such as evening primrose oil or black currant oil. Take 500mg twice a day and be aware that it can take at least six weeks to see results.
    • Herbal supplements containing ginger or turmeric. You can also add these in their natural form to food.[47]
  9. Image titled Control Rosacea Step 15
    Consider other alternative therapies. There is some evidence that other alternative therapies may help control rosacea flare-ups and prevent breakouts.[48] Consider these alternative options and discuss them with your doctor before using them. You might try:
    • Colloidal silver
    • Emu oil
    • Laurelwood
    • Oregano oil
    • Vitamin K.[49]
    • A diet of anti-inflammatory foods may also help.[50]

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