The Skin Nerd - Seeing red over rosacea? Soothing serum is key

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I have been recently diagnosed with rosacea.

It was very inflamed with red bumps and very angry-looking. I think it was triggered by stress.

I’ve got it under control now, but I’d love if you could advise me on the best cleanser, moisturiser, foundation, and SPF to use.

I’m willing to pay, but are there budget options?

I have normal skin otherwise.

Maureen, Cork City

Jennifer Rock. Picture: Moya Nolan.

Hi Maureen,

I’m glad to hear that you have a handle on your rosacea, especially with April being Rosacea Awareness Month. As you’ve mentioned, rosacea does require ongoing maintenance: it is a long-term skin condition. Rosacea is inflammatory, so we simultaneously try to reduce the inflammation, protect the skin from the environment, and strengthen it.

Although this sounds complicated, it’s actually simpler than you’d think, and can be done on a budget, so long as the ingredients in the products are effective.

Before we discuss topical skincare, many people find relief from rosacea symptoms when they keep a close eye on their diet and their lifestyle.

Rosacea sufferers that we speak with, through our Nerd Network® online skin consultations, say that avoiding spicy food, caffeine, and sugar helps them immensely. Apologies if that’s not what you wanted to hear.

For the most part, when we’re talking about cleansers for rosacea skin, we’re looking for mild, inactive, nourishing cleansers.

The Biofresh Sensitive Probiotic Ultra Delicate Cleansing Milk (€18) contains a yoghurt probiotic and pure rose oil.

The probiotic assists in allowing the skin’s microbiome, the careful balance of bacteria on its surface, to balance itself, which can ease inflammatory symptoms, such as redness, itchiness and swelling.

Rose oil is anti-inflammatory and hydrating in nature, and promotes skin healing.

I’d always recommend a serum over a moisturiser. Serums are concentrated moisturisers that can penetrate deeper into the skin, for longer-lasting effects. For rosacea, you need a serum that hydrates, provides antioxidant protection, and soothes, all at the same time. A tall order? Maybe, but your skin needs it.

Opt for pure, fully mineral makeup. Mineral powders tend to have the cleanest formulations, but make sure that the brand you choose is mineral rather than simply ‘mineralised’, as this is just cosmetic makeup with minerals added to it.

Cosmetic makeup sometimes contains drying alcohols and sensitising fragrances, which can exacerbate symptoms in those with rosacea.

The Neostrata Restore Redness Neutralising Serum (€50) contains Neostrata’s trademarked BioCalm Complex, which reduces skin flushing and blocks the process that allows inflammation to occur.

It also contains antioxidants vitamin E and white tea extract, and polyhydroxy acids to strengthen the barrier and improve skin hydration.

Wearing SPF daily is essential for everyone, as damaging UVA rays get to us no matter the weather and through windows, but it is particularly important for people with rosacea, as UV rays can be a trigger for flare-ups. Once again, go mineral when it comes to your broad spectrum SPF. Some find chemical SPF can irritate their skin, but that mineral SPF doesn’t.

A routine that contains the ingredients mentioned will help with your rosacea self-care, but that shouldn’t replace the need for medical advice.


Jane Iredale PurePressed Base, (€35, selected salons and Chemco Pharmacies nationwide)

Jane Iredale PurePressed Base is a mineral powder foundation that can be dusted across the skin for a natural look or built up to full coverage.

It’s oil-free, feels like nothing on the skin, and provides additional UVA and UVB protection. When it comes to colour-matching for rosacea, it is worthwhile to opt for a tone that is a tiny bit more yellow than your skin.

The yellow will help to reduce the appearance of any redness, while the naturally anti-inflammatory minerals actually calm the skin. It has a matte finish, without being drying or chalky, so it works for all!

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