Why it happens, what to avoid and exactly what you need to treat it
Controlling skin flare-ups and covering up redness can seem like a constant battle, and with a rise in pollution and environmental aggressors, rosacea has never seemed more of an issue.
If you’re suffering from rosacea, you’re not alone. In fact, the NHS estimates that the condition affects one in ten people in the UK population.
Want to know exactly what it is and how to treat it? We sat down with Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist & British Skin Foundation spokesperson, to find out everything you need to know.
What is rosacea?
Rosacea is a common and long-term skin condition that mainly affects a person’s face.
It‘s generally more typical in females with fair skin, blue eyes or Celtic origin, aged between 30 and 60 and often begins with episodes of flushing (where the skin turns red for a short period of time). This is usually intermittent at first, but over time it can become fixed.
Other symptoms can develop as the condition progresses, like burning and stinging sensations, permanent redness, spots (papules and pustules) and visible small blood vessels in the skin.
What causes rosacea?
The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, however triggers that make it worse are well documented. These include things like alcohol, too much exercise, change in temperature, hot drinks, spicy foods, stress, and sunlight.
Prolonged and repetitive exposure to pollution can also be an aggressor. Air pollutants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), volatile organic compounds (VOC), oxides, particulate matter, ozone, and cigarette smoke harm the skin’s natural barrier and expose it to irritants.
Certain ingredients in skin care, like alcohol, retinoids, witch hazel, menthol, fragrance, and eucalyptus oil, can also aggravate rosacea, so always test a patch on your skin before applying products to your face.
How to treat rosacea
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for rosacea, but there are treatments that can help with symptoms.
Here are Marie Claire’s top five products to combat redness and inflammation:
REN Rosa Centifolia 3-in-1 Cleansing Water, £13: Remove make-up, cleanse and tone your skin with this calming micellar water, comprised of Rose Otto Oil to calm and soothe, tannins from Rosa Centifolia to tighten pores and Polyphenols to decongest your skin and protect facial vessels.
Clarin’s Sensitive Skin Beauty Repair Concentrate, £42: This comforting oil instantly calms extreme irritations and inflammations with the nurturing benefits of 90% pure plant extracts. Apply to any breakouts for an intensive treatment.
La Roche Posay Rosaliac AR Intense, £17: This lotion contains Ambophenol, a powerful vegetable extract rich in polyphenols to reduce the size of blood vessels and strengthen their walls; Neurosensine, a soothing active ingredient to reduce appearance of redness; and La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water, an anti-irritant and decongestant to help soothe and calm redness.
Darphin Intral Redness Relief Soothing Serum, £55: It’s packed with good-for-you ingredients like soothing chamomile and peony extract, which reduce redness quickly and keep irritation at bay.
Fresh Rose Face Mask, £47: A cooling gel formula infused with real rose petals that literally melt into the skin to calm and soothe any irritations. It’s so gentle, it can be used daily, but just twice a week will do the trick.