How to Treat Rosacea-5 Things That Worked For Me

Close-up image of my skin before and after rosacea treatment plan
Sonia Roselli

Rosacea is a common skin condition that causes redness, visible blood vessels, and, in some cases, acne-like bumps on the face. 

Living with rosacea can be frustrating and affect our self-esteem, but I have discovered that taking the necessary steps to diagnose rosacea can significantly reduce its symptoms and help manage the condition.


After consulting with my dermatologist and doing some research, I found a few strategies that worked wonders in controlling my rosacea. I hope this helps you too!

Symptoms of Rosacea

Close-up of my severe rosacea flare with pustules
Sonia Roselli​​
My successful rosacea treatment using only eye makeup and SRB Skincare
Sonia Roselli​​

Here are some common symptoms of rosacea:


  1. Persistent Redness: Persistent facial redness is the most common individual sign of rosacea. This may resemble a blush or sunburn that does not go away.
  2. Flushing: Many people with rosacea experience frequent blushing or flushing. This facial redness may come and go and is often the earliest sign of the disorder.
  3. Bumps and Pimples: Small red solid bumps or pus-filled pimples often develop. While these may resemble acne, blackheads are absent, and burning or stinging may occur. (See my photo above).
  4. Visible Blood Vessels: In many people with rosacea, small blood vessels become visible on the skin.
  5. Eye Irritation: Many people with rosacea also experience dry, irritated, swollen eyes and red, swollen eyelids. This is known as ocular rosacea. In some people, eye symptoms precede skin symptoms.
  6. Enlarged Nose: In severe, rare cases, rosacea can cause the nose to become red, enlarged, and bulbous. This is known as rhinophyma.
  7. Other Symptoms: Other potential signs and symptoms of rosacea include facial swelling, burning or stinging sensation on the face, dry face, and areas of thicker skin.

It's important to note that rosacea symptoms can vary substantially from one individual to another, and not everyone will experience all these symptoms.


STRUGGLING WITH ROSACEA?

Understand Rosacea Triggers

When it comes to managing rosacea, one of the most critical steps is understanding the risk factors that cause flare-ups. 

As rosacea can be triggered differently in every individual, it's essential to learn the most common factors that led to rosacea and how to treat your flare-ups so you can manage it more effectively. What works for me may not work for you. So you need to test things out.

Woman wearing beach hat guarding against UV and rosacea triggers
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Identify Personal Triggers
 

I started by identifying my personal rosacea triggers. 

Some common triggers that rosacea affects include sunlight exposure, heat, stress, alcohol consumption, and specific personal products (source: Verywell Health)

I realized that for me, the sun and hot weather were particularly problematic. Additionally, using certain skincare products tended to aggravate my skin. Especially those with a lot of fragrance.
 

Keep a Trigger Diary


To help me understand my rosacea triggers, I started maintaining a trigger diary. 

This journal helped me track my flare-ups alongside my daily activities, environment, and the products I used. 

I wrote down everything, from the temperature to the specific names of the skincare products I applied to my face. 


Over time, I noticed patterns and correlations that allowed me to pinpoint my primary triggers.
 

By understanding my rosacea triggers and making an effort to avoid them, I have been able to keep my flare-ups under control. This has made a significant difference in the appearance of my skin and in my overall confidence. 


It's important to remember that everyone's triggers may be different, so taking the time to understand your own various skin conditions will be crucial in managing rosacea effectively.

How to Treat Rosacea: Targeted Treatments

In addition to using gentle products, incorporating rosacea-targeted treatments into my routine has helped me manage my symptoms effectively. One such treatment I found helpful is keeping my skincare routine ridiculously simple. 


That's why I created my line. Today, I only use products from my line.

How to treat rosacea, water balm in the hand
Sonia Roselli Beauty​​

Prescription Medications for Rosacea


Another treatment I found helpful is prescription medication. I consulted my dermatologist, who prescribed a topical medication specifically designed to target my rosacea symptoms.


This medication helps reduce redness and inflammation, and when used regularly, it has significantly improved the overall appearance of my skin. There are many on the market, and your doctor will choose the best one for you.

Rosacea Treatment: Doxycycline Pill on Black Table
Sonia Roselli Beauty
Close-up of hands  with Topical Medication
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Medications used to treat rosacea:


  1. Topical Medications: These are applied directly to the skin and can reduce inflammation and redness. Some commonly prescribed topical medications include metronidazole, azelaic acid, and ivermectin.
  2. Oral Antibiotics: These can help reduce inflammation from the inside out. Commonly prescribed oral antibiotics include doxycycline, minocycline, and tetracycline. Low-dose doxycycline, specifically designed for rosacea (Oracea), is often used because it has anti-inflammatory properties without the antibiotic side effects.
  3. Brimonidine (Mirvaso): This gel can reduce redness by constricting blood vessels. It has a quick onset, but the redness can return once the medication wears off. *This is the one I take, and I have had good success.
  4. Topical Steroids: While not typically the first line of treatment due to potential side effects, low-dose topical steroids may be used for short-term treatment of acute flare-ups. But talk to your doctor to be sure this would work for you. It's not something you want to do on a regular.
  5. Eye Medications: If you have ocular rosacea, your doctor might suggest treatments such as artificial tears, oral antibiotics, or steroid eye drops.

It's important to remember that the effectiveness of these and other treatments can vary greatly from person to person, and it may take some trial and error to find the treatment plan that works best for you. 

Always consult your healthcare provider or dermatologist for personalized treatment advice. Please note that while these medications can help manage rosacea symptoms, there's currently no cure for rosacea. However, with the right treatment plan, you can see significant improvement in their symptoms.


Remember to always consult a dermatologist before trying any new treatment, as individual experiences and skin types may vary.

Woman applying artificial tears for eye to soothe her eyes
Sonia Roselli Beauty
Doctor prescribing medication for a patient
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Lifestyle Changes Treat My Rosacea

As someone who struggled with rosacea for years, I finally found ways to manage it and improve my skin. Through trial and error, I discovered several lifestyle modifications that have worked wonders for me. Let me share these helpful tips, which might work for you as well.
 

Manage Stress (I know, easier said than done)
 

Stress can be a significant trigger for rosacea flare-ups. I learned to manage rosacea affect and my stress through various techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and a date with my Peloton. It took some time and practice, but these activities have helped keep my stress levels in check and reduced the frequency of my rosacea flare-ups.

 Woman Meditating at Home to Reduce Stress
Sonia Roselli Beauty
Woman doing morning workout on stationary bike at home
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Invest in A Water Softener
 

Hard water can be harsh on sensitive skin, so I decided to invest in a water softener for my home. This has made a noticeable difference in my skin's overall health and hydration. By removing excess minerals from water, the water softener has reduced the irritation I used to experience during cleansing and showering. I would say this one tip alone really helped 75% of my irritation in my dry skin too!

Homeowner replenishes water softener with salt
Sonia Roselli Beauty
Woman taking a shower and cleansing herself
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Switch to Half-Caf Coffee
 

Caffeine can be a trigger for rosacea, but I didn't want to eliminate it from my routine entirely. My ancestors would roll in their graves! 


I discovered that switching to half-caf coffee was the perfect solution for me: enough caffeine to stay alert but not enough to exacerbate my rosacea. Check out Peet's Half Caf options; they are seriously delish. 

They have a subscription too!

A cup of steaming hot coffee on a wooden table
Sonia Roselli Beauty
Happy woman savoring fresh brewed coffee at home
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Take a Daily Probiotic
 

I started taking a daily probiotic supplement to promote gut health, which is closely related to skin health. The probiotics have not only improved my digestion but also contributed to a more balanced complexion.

3D rendering of probiotic pills in a bottle
Sonia Roselli Beauty
Cheerful and gorgeous woman applying sunscreen
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Try wearing SPF 30 and Zinc Only Sunscreen


Sun exposure is a major trigger for rosacea, so I started wearing a gentle, broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 and zinc only. 


During the development of a sunscreen we're trying to develop, the chemist taught us that anything over SPF 30 can cause irritation in the skin types with rosacea. A double-edged sword, yeah? But all zinc sunscreens tend to have the least problems with irritation at a higher SPF level.


On the one hand, we MUST have sunscreen to keep redness and flare-ups at bay. But the sunscreen itself is irritating. So finding one is hard, I know.

 

This sunscreen has helped protect my skin from harmful UV rays while minimizing skin irritation often caused by chemical-based sunscreens.


Oh, and don't forget to reapply often. Always follow the instructions on the label.

Exfoliate Once or Twice a Week

Over-exfoliation can be detrimental to the skin, especially for those with rosacea. I have seen people come into my makeup studio who exfoliate several times a day, then wonder why their face is on fire. I can't be hating though, I did it too. Social media sure does give out some bad info, and we've all been guilty of trying it. (Note, for people like us, this is DANGER!)


I reduced exfoliation to only 1-2 times a week, and my skin has thanked me for it. This change has allowed my skin barrier to repair and maintain its integrity.

I usually will do it before a big event or going somewhere fancy. However, I can use Sexapeel 1x a week on my face, but it's so gentle and doesn't go that deep.  Sexapeel seems to be enough for me to allow moisturizers to work well and not cause irritation.

Captivating Close-up of a Gentle Exfoliator Sexapeel
Sonia Roselli Beauty​​

Simplify Your Skincare Routine


I opted for a simple, gentle skincare routine using products from our line. It's one of the reasons I created it.

Our line offers products specifically designed for sensitive skin, and I've noticed significant improvements since incorporating them into my skincare routine. We don't test on animals, just on me. If I can use it, we know its a winner.
 

By implementing these lifestyle modifications, I have been successful in getting my rosacea under control. 


Remember that everyone's skin is different, so be patient and keep experimenting to find out what works best for you.

Stay Cool While Working Out

Female group on aqua aerobics in swimming pool
Sonia Roselli Beauty
Happy woman with a water bottle and towel in the gym
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Stay chill when you're working out, you know? Like anything that gets your body all heated up, like exercise, can totally set off rosacea. But hey, don't sweat it! You can still get your workout on. Personally, I'm a big fan of my Peloton bike, especially when I crank up the fan to full blast. It keeps me cool as a cucumber while I break a sweat.


Here are some cool tips to help you exercise without setting off a nasty flare-up:


  • Take it down a notch: Opt for a low- or medium-intensity workout. You can still reap the benefits without overheating.
  • Find a cool spot: If it's summertime, consider hitting up an air-conditioned gym or finding a shaded trail to exercise during the coolest part of the day.
  • Dive into water workouts: Give aqua aerobics or swimming in cool water a try. It can help limit those pesky flares. Plus, pool time!
  • Keep your cool supplies handy: Carry some essentials to help you cool down. 

    A towel that you can soak in cold water and wrap around your neck, a refreshing bottle of cold water, or even ice cubes can work wonders in keeping you chilled out. 

    I always have a cold water bottle. The stainless steel ones are fantastic!

Protect your face from wind and cold

Wearing scarf for cold and wind protection from rosacea
Sonia Roselli ​​
Rosacea Success Story: Intense Barrier Cream in hand
Sonia Roselli ​​

Windburn is common in rosacea-prone skin. A windburn can trigger a severe rosacea flare-up, especially in the winter. Cold weather can also trigger rosacea symptoms, worse still. Coming from the cold, windy city of Chicago, ask me how I know!
 

The following can reduce flares from sun exposure, wind, and cold:

  • Cover your face (up to just beneath your eyes) with a scarf. Silk or acrylic works best. Avoid putting wool and other rough-feeling fabrics next to your face, as this can trigger a flare-up.
  • Protect your skin by wearing rosacea-friendly sunscreen (see "Think sun protection") and an emollient every day.
  • Limit your time outdoors.
  • Use Water Oil & Intense Barrier Cream, and Water Balm before going out. It creates a feel-good shield to prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL).
Gorgeous woman caring for her skin with winter skincare cream
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Check out your medication

When it comes to your medications, it's worth checking if any of them could be causing your rosacea to act up. But hold on a sec, don't just go ahead and stop taking them without consulting your doctor.
 

First things first, reach out to the doctor who prescribed the medication and ask if it could potentially be triggering your rosacea. It's important to get their input on this matter.


Certain medications have been known to worsen the symptoms of rosacea, such as those used to treat high blood pressure, various heart problems, anxiety, migraines, glaucoma, and even good ol' Vitamin B3 can be a culprit in triggering a flare-up.
 

If it turns out that the medicine (or even a vitamin) you're taking is making your face redder than a tomato, have a chat with your doctor about possible alternatives. They might be able to suggest a different medication that won't aggravate your rosacea.
 

Remember, open communication with your healthcare provider is key, so don't hesitate to discuss any concerns you have. They'll be able to guide you in finding the best solution for managing your rosacea while taking your necessary medications.

Using the Skin Prep Brush/Sonia Roselli for effective rosacea skincare application
Sonia Roselli Beauty​​

Haircare & Skincare Products


Selecting the right skin and hair care products is crucial. If you experience burning, stinging, or itching when using certain, gentle skin care products often, or if they leave your face dry and scaly, they may irritate your skin and trigger rosacea.
 

To avoid flare-ups, here are some tips:


  • Avoid astringent and toners as they can be harsh on sensitive skin.
  • Apply skincare with a skincare brush. You never know what is on your hands that could be coming in contact with your skin.
  • Check the ingredients in your skin and hair care products and avoid those that contain common rosacea triggers like menthol, camphor, or sodium lauryl sulfate.

Keep in mind that sodium lauryl sulfate is often found in shampoos and toothpaste, so it's best to steer clear of such products around your face. And if you break out around your mouth, toothpaste might be to blame.

Woman carefully inspecting the ingredients on a hair care bottle
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Rethink Spicy Foods

This is literally a punch in the gut for me. Spicy foods are life. However, whenever I eat too much of it, I can easily have a flare-up. Thank goodness I can pretty much get mild symptoms of it back under control with a few lifestyles changes a few days afterward, but some people are super reactive to spicy and hot foods. 

All I can say is, "I'm so incredibly sorry!"


If eating spicy foods does tend to make your face turn red, you can try the following approaches to enjoy your favorite dishes still:

 

  • Opt for milder versions of spicy foods. For example, choose mild wings instead of hot ones, or go for a mild salsa rather than a hot variant.
  • If even mild versions trigger rosacea flares, it's best to avoid spicy foods altogether. Which totally sucks, trust me.
Woman rejecting spicy foods, giving a thumbs-down to a red hot chilli pepper
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Rethink Hot Beverages

Reconsider your hot beverage choices, as studies indicate that the heat from such drinks can trigger rosacea flare-ups for some individuals.
 

To still enjoy beverages typically consumed in hot or cold weather, consider these options:


  • Opt for iced coffee or tea instead.
  • Allow your beverage to cool until it reaches a warm or lukewarm temperature.
Young woman joyfully sipping iced coffee
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Rethink Your Alcohol Routine

When it comes to alcohol and its impact on acne rosacea flare-ups, red wine seems to be a common culprit. But don't worry; you can still indulge in party favors!
 

To potentially reduce alcohol-related and acne rosacea flares, you can:


  • Switch to white wine instead of red. (I still flare, but not as bad, so take that with a grain of salt)
  • Dilute white wine, beer, or other alcoholic beverages with soda or lemonade to decrease the alcohol concentration.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption to 1 or 2 drinks, and have a refreshing glass of cold water after each drink. (This is defiantly my secret weapon when I indulge)

Alternatively, avoiding alcohol altogether is also an option. (I have pretty much given up on booze, but I am ok with it). There are many alcohol-free options out there now that let you drink socially but still avoid that red face (and hangover!) By being mindful of your beverage choices, alcohol consumption, and spicy food intake, you can potentially manage and minimize rosacea flare-ups.

Dinner paired with a glass of white wine
Sonia Roselli Beauty
Close-up of two cocktail glasses, toasting in celebration
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Medical Treatments for Rosacea

As someone who has struggled with rosacea, I've tried various medical and topical treatments and laser therapy treatments here and there to control my symptoms.
 

In this section, I'll share the three main medical treatments that have worked for me in 2023 and in years past. 

Topical medications, oral medications, and laser therapy treatments.

Topical Medications


Over the years since my diagnosis of rosacea, I've experimented with several topical medications to help manage my rosacea symptoms. 

One of the most effective treatments for rosacea that I've found is topical ivermectin, which is an anti-inflammatory and antiparasitic medication. 

These properties have helped reduce the inflammatory papules and pustules (bumps and pimples) of thickened skin that are characteristics of rosacea.
 

Another topical medication I've had success with is a combination of sodium sulfacetamide and sulfur. 


This treatment has been around for more than 60 years and is available both over the counter and by prescription. 


It has been effective in controlling the acne-like breakouts that accompany my rosacea flare-ups. I don't use it much anymore since I've gotten it under control over the last 3 years.

Close-up of a woman applying topical ivermectin cream to red, blotchy cheek and under eye
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Oral Medications

 

When my rosacea symptoms were at their worst, my healthcare provider recommended that I try oral medications. In my experience, oral antibiotics such as doxycycline have been helpful in reducing inflammation and redness associated with rosacea. 

Keep in mind that antibiotics should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare provider to ensure proper dosing and duration.
 

Another oral medication I've used is isotretinoin, which is typically prescribed for severe acne. While this medication can have significant side effects, it was effective for me in managing my most severe rosacea symptoms. Again, consulting with a healthcare provider is essential before starting isotretinoin treatment. That said, I would say this is a last resort. The side effects of this drug are not cute. But talk to your healthcare provider.

My rosacea image taken on the day of the session before laser treatment
Sonia Roselli​​
My rosacea 48 hours after post-treatment laser treatment
Sonia Roselli​​

LASER TREATMENTS FOR ROSACEA

Although not strictly medication-based treatment, I found that laser treatments have been incredibly helpful in combating my rosacea symptoms. 

By targeting the broken and damaged blood vessels beneath my skin, the treatments have reduced the redness and flushing that are hallmarks of my skin condition often.

 

There are various laser treatments available, and for me, pulsed-dye laser therapy (PDL) has been the most effective. 

After several sessions of laser treatment, I noticed a significant improvement in my skin's appearance, and I continue to undergo maintenance treatments as needed.


In conclusion, my journey toward rosacea control hasn't been easy, but these medical treatments have made a noticeable difference in my life. I hope this helps you on your journey for healthy skin you'll feel good about. 


By combining these treatments with thorough skincare and lifestyle modifications, I've managed to get my rosacea symptoms under control.

XO
Sonia

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Some questions my clients have asked me over the years:


What are the most effective rosacea treatments?


In my experience treating rosacea, I found that a combination of good skincare practices and prescription medications worked well for controlling my rosacea symptoms. 

I also consulted with my dermatologist, who recommended topical creams, antihistamines, or antibiotics such as tetracycline, depending on the severity of my rosacea condition. 

It's important to follow your doctor's advice and find the right treatment for rosacea how to treat your specific needs. Everyone's skin needs different things.


Best way to calm pustules?

 

Calm pustules can be addressed with various options depending on their severity. 

Personally, I found that using a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser and over-the-counter products with azelaic acid or topical metronidazole has effectively reduced the inflammation and appearance of pustules. 

Moreover, I applied these products on my skin gently on a regular basis as per the instructions provided by my dermatologist.


Does age affect rosacea?

 

From what I've gathered, rosacea can develop at any age, but it typically affects people between the ages of 30 and 60. 

In my case, I started experiencing rosacea symptoms in my mid-30s. It is essential to stay proactive about managing your symptoms of rosacea, as age may contribute to a progression in the severity of the condition.


Healing rosacea naturally?


While there is no definitive cure for rosacea, I found that certain lifestyle changes helped me manage and alleviate symptoms. I focused on identifying and avoiding my personal triggers, which included spicy foods, alcohol, and stress.
 

I also made an effort to protect my skin from the sun by using broad-spectrum sunscreen and wearing a wide-brimmed hat. Including rosacea-friendly skin care tips in my daily routine contributed to the betterment of my skin's overall health.


How long do flare-ups last?

 

The duration of rosacea flare-ups varies from person to person, and in my case, they could last anywhere from a few hours to several days, and sometimes even weeks. 

I noticed that identifying and avoiding my triggers helped minimize the duration and intensity of my flare-ups. 


Also, staying consistent with my treatment plan played a vital role in reducing the frequency and severity of these episodes.


Please note that I'm not a medical professional, and it's always best to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare provider for personalized advice and treatment options for rosacea. This blog post is a journey of my experience.

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