By Erin Lukas
Updated Jan 20, 2017 @ 1:00 pm
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Dealing with rosacea is a catch-22. If you have the skin disease that’s characterized by redness along with tiny, acne-like bumps and legions on the face, chances are vices like your beloved bottle of red wine and Seamless order of spicy food trigger the condition.

Controlling rosacea by minimizing flushness and bumps can be frustrating to say the least. Since there’s a number of factors that cause the disease such as genetics, altered skin nerves, an overgrowth of demodex mites, immune system irregularities, and a connection to digestive system disorders, each person’s case is unique. Some of the treatments for the skin disease can be irritating in themselves and further exacerbate symptoms.

“Since so many factors go into it [rosacea], sometimes it is trial and error to find the right thing that works for treating it,” says New York-based dermatologist Dr. Cybele Fishman. “Some medicines themselves can be irritating, and disrupt the skin barrier. Rosacea patients need a healthy, intact skin barrier to keep their rosacea quiet.”

While treating rosacea with antibiotics is one method of eliminating some of the trial and error of determining which topical treatments can work for you, this route can also aggravate the disease. “If you treat rosacea with high-dose antibiotics, you can mess up the balance of micro-organisms in the gut further, which in turn will exacerbate the disease,” explains Dr. Fishman. “However, a low-dose doxycycline seems to not do this because it’s an anti-inflammatory, rather than an antibiotic.”

You can take preventative measures by adopting natural remedies instead of methods that may cause flare-ups. Since reducing inflammation in the skin and body is key in ridding skin of redness, Dr. Fishman recommends topical products with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as green tea extract, acai, rosehip oil, and starflower, which are all soothing. On the diet end, she suggests avoiding processed sugars and incorporating turmeric and omega-3 EPA (found in flax oil) and omega-6 GLA (found in black currant seed oil) fatty acids into your meals or supplements.

In addition, because of the link between rosacea and the digestive system, she also recommends getting tested for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) because if positive, treating the digestive disorder often improves rosacea’s state. How to Choose the Best Rosacea-Friendly Beauty Products

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Image zoom Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser

Cleansing is an important step in any skincare routine because it removes makeup, impurities, excess oil, dead skin, and toxins. More often than not, if you’re dealing with rosacea, your skin is on the dry side, so Dr. Gmyrek recommends using a non-soap cleanser, which contains less than 10-percent soap in its formula. “Soap emulsifies and removes oils from the skin creating further dryness,” she explains. “Non-soap cleansers also have a more neutral pH (i.e. they are not acidic) so they tend to be less irritating than soap based cleansers.” The cleanser should be applied using your fingers and cold to lukewarm water to prevent aggravating your skin.

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Image zoom Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid

Moisturizers act like Saran Wrap for the skin, by helping support its barrier function that keeps water in and harmful environmental elements out. “When the barrier of the skin is damaged by the inflammation associated with rosacea, then allergens and irritants can enter the skin more easily, causing more redness and inflammation,” says Dr. Gmyrek.

When picking out a moisturizer, the doctor suggests a product with ceramides and humectants that aid in repairing the skin’s barrier and that bring hydration to the skin, such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid. As for ingredients from which you should keep your distance? Alcohol, witch hazel, fragrance, menthol, peppermint, and eucalyptus oil will all spur further irritation and redness. A moisturizer should be applied following a cleanser, but Dr. Gmyrek recommends waiting several minutes after you gently dry off the cleanser for your skin to damp skin to dry even further before moving on to the moisturizer.

$39; sephora.com Courtesy

Image zoom Bare Minerals Originial Broad Spectrum SPF 15

If you’re self-conscious about redness caused by rosacea, a foundation can help even out your skin tone. Dr. Gmyrek suggests using mineral-based makeup because they don’t penetrate the skin but simply sit on top of it, and are less likely to result in additional inflammation. For extra prevention against potential irritation, the doctor says to choose a foundation with no preservatives.

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Image zoom NYX Concealer Wand

To target specific areas that require extra attention when masking redness, apply the color wheel theory of complementary colors by dabbing on a green-based concealer to cancel out the harsher red spots.

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Image zoom Radical Skincare Skin Perfecting Sunscreen SPF 30

The sun has a significant relationship with rosacea. According to a National Rosacea Society survey, 81 percent identified sun as a major trigger of their rosacea. Needless to say, if you have rosacea, wearing sunscreen year-round should be a priority. Dr. Gmyrek recommends that “sunscreen should be applied every 4 hours and it should be labeled ‘broad spectrum’ meaning that it blocks both UVA and UVB rays. It should have an SPF of at least 30.” When it comes to choosing a sunscreen, she suggests one that is mineral-based that contains titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide to block out damaging rays, because chemical-based sunscreens that absorb rays have been found to trigger irritation.

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