Do you struggle with rosacea like I do? The redness, irritation, bumps, and pimples of rosacea are not the perfect skin I always hoped to enjoy in my 30s.
While I have good days and bad days with my skin, I resist the temptation to go heavy on the concealer and foundation to cover up imperfections – certain cosmetics are actually known to make rosacea worse!
I suggest bringing your makeup to your dermatologist so they can review the ingredients to ensure they’re safe for your skin. It's a good time to ask about adding a prescription medication if you aren't happy with how your skin is looking. If you have persistent facial redness, a topical product like Mirvaso® (brimonidine) topical gel, 0.33%* might be a good option for you. If you have papulopustular rosacea (bumps and pimples), topical Soolantra® (ivermectin) Cream, 1% or oral Oracea® (doxycycline, USP) Capsules 40 mg** could both be good treatment options for you.
You can learn more about rosacea and rosacea treatments on the Break Up with Your Makeup page. While you’re there, be sure to vote for your favorite no makeup selfie and story, and you could win one of three $500 gift cards.
But for those days when you absolutely need some makeup help, check out my simple, subtle tricks below that have fooled even my closest friends, one of whom loves to talk about my "peaches and cream" complexion.
1. Always Moisturize
When my rosacea is flaring up, I have red and irritated skin. With that irritation, my skin gets scaly and flakes. Using a lightweight moisturizer under some very light makeup helps to prevent these areas of dryness, and plumps up the outer layers of my skin, making my skin texture look more even.
2. Prime For a Perfect Base
I also like to use a bit of silicone based primer to further even out my texture. With rosacea, my skin can become bumpy and my pores are exaggerated, and don’t get me started on the bumps. Applying a light layer of one of the silicone primers helps my makeup to glide on smoothly. I apply with my fingers and lightly pat the primer onto my t-zone and center of my face. Let it sit for about a minute before applying more makeup.
The layer of primer will add a layer of protection between your skin and makeup, helping to protect your skin from any additional irritation and flare ups.
3. Color Correct
When you have rosacea, green color corrector is your friend. Because green and red are opposites on the color wheel, they will cancel each other out. There are a ton of green correctors out there, and it can take a little trial and error to decide which color corrector is the best for you. Rule of thumb - the more intense the discoloration, the more vivid your color corrector should be. Apply only to the affected area to avoid turning your face green!
If you are applying to a large area, look for a color correcting liquid primer or powder. A smaller area is perfect for a color correcting concealer.
If you find that green isn't canceling out the red as well as you would like, try yellow instead. Yellow correctors also work well for redness and can be more subtle than a green toned corrector.
4. Go Luminous
While it is tempting to cover up just the areas affected by rosacea with a heavy concealer, stay strong and avoid this bad habit! It will actually call attention to your rosacea, and certain makeups can make rosacea worse. Instead, look for a lighter coverage, luminous foundation with light deflecting pigments, and gently apply it all over your face -- this will help make your skin appear more even.
For a very light and even application of your foundation, apply it with a brush rather than your fingertips, and blend it well with a damp sponge for a natural finish.
5. Take It Easy On The Powder
Powder will settle into fine lines and imperfections, calling attention to them. Rather than powdering your entire face, only dust a little in your t-zone to keep oil at bay. Don't sweep the powder into place, as it will smear the makeup you've spent so much time applying. Instead, lightly blot the powder into place.
6. Choose Peach
When choosing blush and lip colors, go for peach or apricot tones instead of reds and pinks. Pinks and reds will bring out any redness in your skin, but peach tones will just add a bit of color without enhancing your rosacea. Use a light hand with your blush; those with rosacea usually don't need much extra color.
As I said above, if you’re having trouble with rosacea, it’s best to talk to your dermatologist about prescription treatment – this can help you avoid having to use a heavy hand with your foundation, and risk irritation from harsh ingredients.
Note: I’m participating in the Break Up with Your Makeup contest sponsored by Galderma Laboratories, L.P. You should discuss any medications with your doctor.
Important Safety Information (Mirvaso)
Indication: Mirvaso® (brimonidine) topical gel, 0.33% is an alpha adrenergic agonist indicated for the topical treatment of persistent (nontransient) facial erythema of rosacea in adults 18 years of age or older.
Adverse Events: In clinical trials, the most common adverse reactions (≥1%) included erythema, flushing, skin burning sensation and contact dermatitis.
Warnings/Precautions: Mirvaso Gel should be used with caution in patients with depression, cerebral or coronary insufficiency, Raynaud's phenomenon, orthostatic hypotension, thromboangiitis obliterans, scleroderma, or Sjögren’s syndrome. Alpha-2 adrenergic agents can lower blood pressure. Mirvaso Gel should be used with caution in patients with severe or unstable or uncontrolled cardiovascular disease. Serious adverse reactions following accidental ingestion of Mirvaso Gel by children have been reported. Keep Mirvaso Gel out of reach of children. Not for oral, ophthalmic, or intravaginal use.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
*Each gram of gel contains 5 mg of brimonidine tartrate, equivalent to 3.3 mg of brimonidine free base.