6 Things You Should Avoid if You Have Rosacea

Rosacea outbreaks can occur due to contact with irritating substances in cosmetic products. They can even occur due to stress. In this article, discover what you should avoid if you have rosacea.
6 Things You Should Avoid if You Have Rosacea

Last update: 23 June, 2020

Rosacea is a common skin condition that causes redness and visible blood vessels on the face. Also, it can cause small, red bumps that can fill with pus in some cases.

This condition can appear in any person. However, it most often affects middle-aged women with fair skin. The symptoms can flare up over a period of weeks to months, and then decrease for a time.

Sometimes, its symptoms are confused with acne, an allergic reaction, or other skin problems. How to avoid outbreaks if you have rosacea? Some lifestyle changes can help.

Things to avoid if you have rosacea

If you have rosacea, you may have noticed that some products irritate and worsen your skin. Even those that claim to be for sensitive skin can cause adverse effects.

Although each person’s skin reacts differently, and not all ingredients affect it equally, we’re going to share six things you should avoid so this problem doesn’t worsen. Discover them below!

A woman with rosacea.
Rosacea manifests with visible blood capillaries on the surface of the skin, in addition to symptoms such as heat and irritation in some cases.

1. Alcohols

According to a publication by the National Rosacea Society, in a survey of 1,066 participants, alcohol was an irritating factor in 66% of the studied cases.

In this regard, it’s important to avoid them, since they dehydrate and damage protective skin barriers. In fact, they can prevent it from regenerating naturally, causing even more irritation.

Alcohol is used in lotions for oily or acne-prone skin, and is often listed as ingredients such as denatured alcohol, SD alcohol, or propanol. Therefore, it’s always advisable to read the labels.

2. Certain exfoliating ingredients

The exfoliations that require a brush, a towel, or applying a product such as sugar on the skin aren’t recommended for this skin condition.

For their part, some exfoliating ingredients that act at a chemical level, without harming the skin, could help remove dead skin cells in a delicate way.

Keep in mind that the following products aren’t suitable for sensitive skin, and much less for people with rosacea.

  • Charcoal powder. It doesn’t distinguish between dead cells and healthy skin tissue, making it a very aggressive exfoliating agent, especially for rosacea.
  • Grapefruit seed extract. Makes blood vessels come closer to the surface, causing redness and increased cases of irritant contact dermatitis.
  • Alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs. Although they’re common chemical exfoliants, they’re abrasive for sensitive skin or skin with rosacea. Some of them are citric acid, lactic acid, or glycolic acid.

3. Perfumes and fragrances

If you’re one of those people who likes products with aromas, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise. This is because the fragrances that are added to products, whether synthetic or of natural origin, frequently irritate the skin.

According to the publication we mentioned above, one of the main causes of allergic contact dermatitis is fragrances. These cause more skin problems than contact with any other ingredient. In addition, to fix fragrances and preserve their aroma, some products contain alcohol, another irritating element.

A woman putting on perfume.
Fragrances can be irritating to people with rosacea skin.

4. Stress

Stress is also a common activator of rosacea. It’s important to follow stress management techniques, such as relaxation, yoga, deep breathing, or tai chi, among others. These activities can help lower stress levels and control symptoms.

5. Sunlight

Sunlight is one of the usual triggers of rosacea. If you have this skin condition, it’s important to wear sunscreen of at least 30 SPF whenever possible, even when it’s cloudy.

This article may interest you: 9 Natural Remedies for Rosacea

6. Diet

Intestinal and skin health go hand in hand. In this regard, a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology suggests that there could be a link between some gastrointestinal diseases and the appearance of rosacea.

Therefore, you should limit your consumption of certain products such as alcohol, spicy foods, large meals, trans fats, and refined products, among others.

How to know if you have rosacea

This condition must be evaluated by a dermatologist. This professional will be in charge of examining your skin and determining if it’s rosacea or some other skin condition. In addition, they’ll indicate the appropriate treatment, depending on the case. Although there’s no cure for this condition, these tips may help reduce your symptoms.

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  • Bodom RD, James WG, Berger T. Andrew’s Diseases of the Skin. Dermatology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: WB Saunders Company; 2004. p. 300-3.
  • Vin-Christian K. Acne rosácea as a cutáneos manifestation of VIH infection. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1994;(30):139.
  • Plewig G, Jansen T. Rosácea. En: Fitzpatrick. Dermatología en Medicina General. 6ta ed. Santa Fe de Bogotá: Editorial Médica Panamericana; 2005.
  • Egeberg, A., Weinstock, L. B., Thyssen, E. P., Gislason, G. H., & Thyssen, J. P. (2017). Rosacea and gastrointestinal disorders: a population-based cohort study. British Journal of Dermatology. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjd.14930