Skincare for rosacea

Skincare for rosacea is not all that complicated, but you will need to read some labels.  Click here for my specific skincare products.

First step is how to wash your face. Choose a gentle cleanser. After all, you wash it down the drain, so a lot of fancy ingredients don't really make a difference, but they can be irritating. In general, benzoyl peroxide in anything is not our friend because it's very drying and irritating.

Also, avoid SLS, sodium lauryl sulfate and its sister, sodium laureth sulfate. They are very irritating and drying. Their original use was as a degreaser in mechanical shops. But because they foam really well, they are a cheap ingredient in shampoo, toothpaste, liquid soaps, and many common household products like dish soap.

There are great alternatives. Alba botanica makes some nice products at reasonable prices, and you can easily find them at Target or Walmart.

Toners can also be a huge irritant. I was using a 2% salicylic acid toner, but the pH was really low, so it was very drying. I was having major rosacea problems as a result. I switched to a different 2% salicylic acid toner with a higher pH, and that has worked really well.

Watch out for alcohol-based toners. They can be too drying and make your skin react. I like one from Alba, but I also use plain witch hazel with good results.


Many of us use exfoliants like salicylic acid or other acids today because they improve the skin texture and tone and help with anti-aging.  However, they can be very irritating.  I use mandelic acid because it's a larger molecule and so it stays more on the surface for exfoliation, and it has been very gentle.  

While I would love to use a moisturizer that smells really good, I have found that chemical fragrances give me problems. So do some of the anti-aging ingredients--another darn! I use a really wonderful face cream with MSM and no preservatives, and I dab an extra amount on any rosacea spots. It works for me, but I know it won't for everyone.

I know some people have really good luck with creams with squalene, but that didn't work for me.

I wear makeup that contains zinc oxide daily to smooth out my skin tone and for sun protection.  I also use a powder makeup on top that also has zinc oxide.

The chemical sunscreens like oxybenzone can cause sensitivities, so stick with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide sunscreens.

There are plenty of products now that are specifically marketed as skincare for rosacea. Not all of them are truly helpful, so double-check labels.