The Best Rosacea Treatments, Ranked
If the flush of that first date blush doesn’t go away after dinner and Netflix, then yeah, that's a problem.
You may have the skin redness condition known as rosacea. The chronic, inflammatory skin condition affects at least 16 million Americans, both women and men, according to the National Rosacea Society.
"Rosacea is characterized by a red face or neck with broken blood vessels, with or without acne, and can run in families,” says dermatologist Jeanine Downie, M.D., founder of Image Dermatology. “You see it in light-skinned patients more, but you can see it in all races," she says.
The good news: There’s a lot you can do to calm this Santa situation down.
Good: Stop already with the sun and stress
Yep, direct sunlight and stress are the two main triggers of rosacea, according to the National Rosacea Society. Other triggers can then aggravate and worsen the condition, like drinking coffee, taking hot baths, sipping red wine, and eating spicy or steaming foods. (Whyyy.)
Simply cutting your exposure to this stuff can help quell redness, says Downie, especially if you have a less severe case of rosacea.
Ironically, even though exercise is commonly recommended to reduce stress, it also can trigger rosacea, says Downie. "I recommend my patients do exercise to decrease stress levels, but also that they drink a lot of ice water while working out so their face cools down faster,” Downie says.
Better: Go to the drugstore
Everyone should be using sunscreen, but you should REALLY be using it if you have rosacea. Sunscreen protects against the harmful rays that both create and worsen rosacea over time. (Plus, again, direct sunlight is a trigger.)
“This works for everyone, and should be used all the time with reapplication rain or shine, January through December, regardless of ethnicity or race,” advises Downie.
Since people with rosacea often have sensitive skin, pick up a natural sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide so your complexion doesn’t risk further irritation. And always aim for SPF 30 or higher for the best protection.
Even better: Make a dermatologist appointment
Still look red all the damn time? Well, you should probably take a trip to your derm.
Downie says there are two prescription creams that are currently the gold standard: Rhofade and Soolantra. Both creams are applied daily to target rosacea-related redness, bumps, and blemishes. They work for any gender, and may or may not be covered by insurance, depending on your health plan.
She says most patients begin to see a difference in a couple of weeks (hallelujah!), though it takes a full three months to see full results. Side effects can include itching, burning, and stinging, which are symptoms that often accompany the condition itself. As rosacea improves, these issues can get better, too.
Best: Try lasers
If you're really o-v-e-r it, Downie recommends trying a laser treatment for rosacea.
Lasers are generally used for more extreme cases of rosacea that have caused skin thickening and visible blood vessels in the skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. They can also help reduce redness.
How many treatments you get of course depends on how much redness you have, and how much you want to have left at the end. (Some people are happy with some pinkness left behind, while others want that rosacea to ghost.) Downie says most patients do a minimum of six laser sessions, while others can do more than 10.
After the initial group of sessions, Downie recommends maintenance treatments two to three times a year, along with diligent daily sunscreen use, to keep skin looking calm. A derm can evaluate your skin and let you know if you’re a good candidate.