Have you found yourself looking like you just got out of a hot yoga class after being in the air-conditioning all day? Well, I have. And if you have, too, you probably have rosacea, a skin condition characterized by redness of the cheeks and swelling of small blood vessels. After a glass of wine, I find myself looking like Petite Meller. On her, it's cute. On me, not so much. Even if your rosacea isn't out in full force all the time, it's still something you want to take care of. If left untreated, rosacea can spread to the forehead, nose, neck, and chin, and red bumps and pimples can form.
"Stress causes rosacea to flare, particularly in patients that have flushing." -Dr. Erin Gilbert
As with many skin conditions, there's no single cause for rosacea, though genetics and an overgrowth of inflamed blood vessels play into it. "It's also thought that an overly active immune response to skin or gut bacteria plays a role, as does diet and lifestyle," says dermatologist Dr. Erin Gilbert.
Unfortunately, there's no magical cure for rosacea, but there are some ways that you can manage it. Ahead, find six tips to help you keep your rosacea in check.
Tip No. 1: Change Your Diet
Spicy food and alcohol are common triggers, so depending on the severity of your rosacea, you'll either want to indulge in moderation or avoid these entirely. Be sure to drink a lot of water to keep your skin hydrated, too.
Tip No. 2: Just Chill Out
"Stress also causes rosacea to flare, particularly in patients that have flushing," says Dr. Gilbert. If something is worrying you, take a yoga class, try a micro-meditation, or use an app like Breathe to guide you through some mindful breathing exercises. If you have a stressful week ahead, try a calming mask like Origins' RitualiTea Feeling Rosy Mask.
RitualiTea Feeling Rosy Mask, $36, origins.com.
Breathe App, free, available for iOS.
Tip No. 3: No, *Actually* Chill Out
Exposure to heat and UV radiation also agitate rosacea. Drink some ice water to stay cool, and make sure to always wear sunscreen. "Sunscreen is a must if you have rosacea," says Dr. Gilbert. "A light allergy-tested sunscreen like Vichy Capital Soleil SPF 50 not only protects against aging and skin cancer, but also reduces the tendency to grow more blood vessels that cause redness and inflammation." If you want to conceal a flare-up, opt for a green-tinted moisturizer, which will help cancel out red tones.
Idéal Capital Soleil SPF 50, $25, vichyusa.com.
Cicapair Tiger Grass Color-Correcting Treatment SPF 30 by Dr.Jart+, $52, sephora.com.
Tip No. 4: Pick the Right Cleanser
It might be tempting to reach for a cleanser that removes excess oil, but rosacea sufferers should be especially wary of harsh products. "Using gentle cleansers and moisturizers with calming ingredients can improve the appearance of rosacea," says Dr. Gilbert.
Pureté Thermale 3-in-1 One-Step Solution, $15, vichyusa.com.
Gentle Cleanser, $34, skinceuticals.com.
Tip No. 5: Search for These Refreshing Ingredients
Alpha or beta-hydroxy acids (commonly found in moisturizing products, serums, and exfoliators) and retinols and retinoids (found in anti-aging and anti-acne creams) irritate the skin and increase its sensitivity to the sun. Instead, opt for fragrance-free and natural products that contain calming ingredients like chamomile, white tea, and ascorbyl palmitate (a form of Vitamin C).
Fountain of Truth Facial Water by Ole Henriksen, $22, sephora.com.
Purifying Day and Night Cream by Kora Organics, $64, net-a-porter.com.
Tip No. 6: Try This D.I.Y. Remedy
Soak a washcloth in freshly brewed green tea, let it cool in the fridge, and rest it on your face for 10 minutes once a day. "The caffeine constricts the blood vessels, and the anti-inflammatory properties of the tea soothe the skin and reduce redness," explains Dr. Gilbert.
Delicate Washcloth, set of two, $15, fairfacewashcloths.com.
Gunpowder Green Tea, $7, numitea.com.