Hair, Skin, Nails

How to Treat Rosacea: The 5 Biggest Mistakes

BY Susanna Shi TIMEJune 7, 2022 PRINT

Rosacea, a chronic and frequently relapsing inflammatory skin disease primarily affecting the central areas of the face, is said by some to be among the trickiest of skin conditions. The medical community currently considers it of unknown origin.

While certain foods like omega-3 fatty acids might play protective roles, the most frequently reported triggers implicated in rosacea include spicy foods; histamine-rich foods (aged cheeses, wine, processed meats); foods containing cinnamaldehyde (tomatoes, citrus fruits, chocolate); hot drinks; and alcohol, according to a recent study of rosacea and diet. Alcohol in particular worsens flushing, and fatty foods can trigger both vascular (erythematotelangiectatic) and phymatous rosacea flare-ups.

With rosacea, five of the biggest mistakes you can make when handling your skin share a common theme: consistency. If there’s one thing rosacea doesn’t like, it’s a surprise. Anything out of the ordinary can immediately put your skin on red alert.


When exposed to heat, the blood vessels in our skin open up (vasodilate) to cool us down, typically turning the skin red as a result. With rosacea, those blood vessels are overly sensitive to begin with and prone to vasodilating. When you allow yourself to become overheated, you provoke this extreme dilation process unnecessarily, encouraging your skin to redden. For those with rosacea, the vasodilation process is extended and can sometimes encourage blood vessels to vasodilate on their own—this is not what we want. Instead, give up saunas, shower briefly using tepid water, and skip steaming all together.


Most individuals with rosacea have an impaired skin barrier, meaning the skin tends to lose water more readily and is prone to dehydration. The last thing anybody with rosacea needs is something abrasive chafing the skin. Do away with flannels, facial scrubs, and aggressive toweling. Stick to cleansing with nothing rougher than your fingertips. Your skin will thank you.


It isn’t uncommon for people with rosacea to think they have cosmetic issues, and go to see facialists; but, rosacea is a medical condition with effects that range in seriousness from redness of the skin to loss of vision. It’s important to know when to ask for help. That might mean talking to your local doctor or getting expert care from a dermatologist; either way, know when you’ve reached your limits. If your skin is playing on your mind and stopping you from doing things, creating anxiety, or affecting your mood, then it’s time to find some proper help and work out a structured plan. Sometimes, even just one visit can make all the difference in the world—there’s no need to suffer alone.


It’s strongly suggested to avoid facials with any chronic inflammatory skin disorder, rosacea included. Any number of products might be used for a facial, drastically increasing the likelihood of aggravating your skin and triggering a flare-up. Rosacea is best managed with your own toolkit, one that you have complete control over, with no elements that might potentially irritate your skin. Remember, no one knows your skin better than you do.

Skin Care Products

Have you ever been stuck using someone else’s skin care products? With rosacea, borrowing products or taking recommendations from friends can be fraught with problems. It’s best to be rigorous and disciplined with your skin care routine. The simpler the products you use on your skin, the better. That way, you’ll have safe, reliable products to help control your skin and tackle any premature signs of aging—a primary concern for many rosacea sufferers. Stick with your own products and follow your instincts about which products are best for you.

Considering all the pitfalls we’ve mentioned, the most important thing in rosacea management is to be strict with your skin care. Learn which products are safe for you, and consider keeping extra supply on hand; that way, you’ll have a buffer against emergencies and unforeseen changes. In dealing with rosacea, consistency is your best friend.

This isn’t a complete list of factors that cause rosacea flare-ups, but it’s an important selection of them. It’s best to be mindful and get to know your own triggers.

Susanna Shi
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