Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes facial redness, dilated capillaries or visible blood vessels, and, in some people, small hard bumps or pimples. I've been wary of it since my teens after clueing in to the fact that my mother's rosy flush was the result of more than just too much sun.
Rosacea is pretty common, affecting more than 2 million Canadians—mostly fair-skinned women over the age of 30—although many others are suffering but don't know it. Symptoms, which typically appear on the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead, may be triggered by a number of factors, including spicy food, alcohol, sunlight, and extreme weather.
So what's a ruddy-cheeked gal to do? Consistent use of gentle skin care and makeup can make a difference and improve the look of your skin. A good rule of thumb is to search for products that are designed for sensitive or rosacea-prone skin and to avoid astringents, exfoliating agents, or other harsh irritants. Keep it simple—the more products you apply to your skin, the more likely you are expose yourself to an ingredient that may aggravate it. Daily sun protection is a must for any skin type, but rosacea sufferers should be especially vigilant. Sun exposure is linked to the visible blood vessels and severe redness often associated with the condition.
Give these gentle cleansers a try:
Choose moisturizers intended to help soothe and hydrate sensitive skin.
Feed your skin the nutrients it needs by adding an oil to your daily skin care routine.
Stick to mineral sunscreens that sit on top of the skin and reflect UVA and UVB rays.
A green-tinted primer can help correct the appearance of redness and even out skin tone. Clean mineral makeup is the perfect choice for rosacea sufferers as it typically doesn't contain potentially irritating ingredients.
Most of us have become diligent about including sunscreen in our daily skin care routines, but it turns out there's more to choosing a good one than just the SPF number on the label. Protection is always a good idea, but the chemical filters used in most sunscreens—including oxybenzone, octinoxate, and avobenzone—are quickly absorbed through the skin.
These chemicals are meant to protect you by absorbing the sun's harmful rays, but in the process they're absorbed into the body and fail to offer long-term protection (they break down after a few hours in the sun). The most common ingredient in conventional sunscreen is oxybenzone, which penetrates the skin in relatively large amounts, can trigger allergic reactions, is a potential hormone disruptor, says the Environmental Working Group (EWG). A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that a whopping 96 percent of six- to eight-year-old girls had detectable levels of oxybenzone in their urine.
And according to the EWG, oxybenzone is a penetration enhancer, which means it's a chemical that helps other chemicals penetrate the skin. Another con: Sunlight causes oxybenzone to create free radicals that may be linked to cell damage.
So what's a summer-loving gal to do? Since 2007, the EWG has touted two minerals—zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—as the best available sunscreen ingredients. Instead of being absorbed into the body, mineral sunscreens work by sitting on top of the skin and reflecting the sun's rays. They're also less irritating for problem or sensitive skin, are non-allergenic, and do not break down in sunlight or disrupt the body's hormones.
Another no-no is combining retinol or retinyl palmitate products with sunscreen, either mineral or conventional. An active form of vitamin A, retinol is an anti-aging antioxidant used in hundreds of sunscreens, moisturizers, and lip balms. Vitamin A increases photosensitivity in the skin, which means it makes you more susceptible to UV exposure and therefore does more harm than good when used on bright, sunny days.
Our mineral sunscreens are free of oxybenzone, retinol products, and other harmful ingredients.
For the face:
For the body: