Everyone wants great looking skin, especially those that suffer from a chronic skin condition like rosacea. Life would be easier if we could just make one small change in our skincare routine and have the result be glowing, beautiful skin that lasts for a long time. Unfortunately, when it comes to the health and appearance of your skin, there is no magical fix. Great skin, especially for those of us with rosacea, is the result of consistent, hard work and paying close attention to your skin.
When treating your rosacea, your dermatologist will be working very closely with you to help your skin improve. However, there are a few things that they may, or may not, tell you about your rosacea that you need to know! Dr. Doris Day, a board certified dermatologist in New York City, shared a few insights with me about rosacea and what every patient needs to know.
1. Rosacea is Chronic Unfortunately, rosacea is a chronic condition. You won’t use a medication or product for a week or two and have it “clear up” and no longer be an issue. Instead you’ll need to work to keep it under control with daily products and medications. You’ll have times that it gets worse and times that it gets better. Keep up with your routine and keep follow up appointments with your dermatologist.
2. Your Skin’s Needs Change Over Time While you may have had an amazing regimen for your skin in the past, if your skin is no longer responding and your rosacea is flaring up, you may need to change something you are doing. I’ve had friends mention not wanting to “bother” their physician with an office visit or a phone call. However, if something isn’t working for your skin, go back to your doctor! You are not bothering them, they expect to hear back from you and they don’t have a crystal ball to know exactly how your skin will react to a treatment. Your physician wants your skin to improve and they want to work with you to make the changes needed to get those results.
3. Be Gentle “Having a gentle daily skin care regimen is crucial to rosacea management,” shares Dr. Day. “Many patients that come in think that exfoliating or scrubbing their skin will wash away the rosacea. Rosacea patients should actually avoid harsh scrubs and astringents as their skin may be sensitive and easily irritated, leading to an unwanted flare-up.”
Instead, try a gentle cleanser that will remove dirt and makeup without stripping your skin of essential hydration. Use treatment products that are non-irritating and gently exfoliate your skin every day rather than using a more intensive product. Avoiding irritation will help prevent your rosacea from flaring up and keep it healthy.
4. Wear Sunscreen Every Day “Since sun exposure has been identified as the #1 rosacea trigger, it’s especially important to remember to apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher as part of your daily routine,” says Dr. Day.
Yes, that means you should be wearing sun protection even on days that it isn’t sunny (UV radiation still comes through the clouds) or your only sun exposure is likely to be through a window. Most of us don’t use enough makeup to make the SPF of our foundation really work for us, instead look for a gentle, broad spectrum sunscreen that you can apply every day under your makeup.
5. Keep a Diary Your rosacea flare-ups can be linked to almost anything that your skin is exposed to, whether that is a change in the weather, a new skin care product or even something that you eat. “Food, temperature and other environmental factors can trigger a rosacea flare-up. I recommend that patients keep a trigger journal to track how their skin reacts to these types of triggers and try to avoid them, whenever possible,” says Dr. Day. Looking back through your diary for patterns in how your skin is reacting can make identifying, and then avoiding, those triggers much easier.