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Everything You Want to Know About Rosacea—And How to Soothe It


Your cheeks are so flushed, wearing blush is pretty much a non-issue. When you take a sip of red wine, it’s a matter of seconds before your face starts feeling warm and tight. And forget hitting the gym before work—you’d look lobster-red for every morning meeting on your iCal. Sound familiar? You might have rosacea.

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a skin condition that isn't just having pink cheeks. “It’s a chronic condition characterized by skin sensitivity and a spectrum of facial redness, visible blood vessels, coarseness of the skin, and papules and pustules,” says New York City dermatologist Hadley King, MD. While some people have persistent rosacea, others experience flare-ups as a result of certain complexion triggers, which fade after a few days or weeks.

What are the different types of rosacea?

One person's rosacea flare-ups could look completely different than another person’s. That’s because there are actually four types of rosacea, each of which has distinct symptoms.

  • Erythematotelangiectatic: This is the form most people envision when they hear the word “rosacea.” “This type is characterized by facial flushing and redness of the central face and visible superficial blood vessels,” says Dr. King. “The skin is often sensitive and dry, and may burn and sting.”

  • Papulopustular: Those pimples on your cheeks might not actually be pimples at all. Otherwise known as acne rosacea, this type involves clusters of small acne-like breakouts in addition to red, sensitive skin and visible blood vessels.

  • Rhinophymatous: “Course, bumpy skin texture and thickened skin on the nose, chin, forehead, and cheeks signal this type of rosacea,” says Dr. King. “We also see large pores and visible blood vessels.”

  • Ocular rosacea: “This form of rosacea mostly affects the eye area, causing them to look swollen and bloodshot,” says Josie Holmes, an esthetician at SKINNEY MedSpa. In serious cases, painful, irritated cysts may form on the eyelids.

What causes rosacea?

A variety of factors typically contribute to rosacea. According to Dr. King, the condition is most common in lighter skin types with a family history of the skin condition. Internal and environmental triggers of vasodilation—or the widening of facial blood vessels, leading to increased blood flow to the face—are also primary culprits.

“Sun exposure, hot or spicy foods and drinks, alcohol, physical exercise, and abrupt changes of temperature can all trigger flare-ups,” says Dr. King. “Those with rosacea also often have an impairment of the skin barrier function, which makes the skin more sensitive and prone to drying out.” Noting and avoiding your personal triggers and working to improve your skin’s barrier function with gentle, emollient-rich products are some of the most effective ways to keep rosacea in check.

Skincare products to soothe rosacea



Packed with a gentle cleanser, light exfoliator, soothing toner, and irritation-fighting serum, this skincare kit has everything you could ever need to keep flare-ups at bay.

TAHNYC Niacinamide 3% + Peptides for Sensitive Skin & Rosacea

2. TAHNYC Niacinamide 3% + Peptides for Sensitive Skin & Rosacea

Niacinamide is one of the most effective ingredients out there for fighting inflammation and redness. In this serum, it’s paired with peptides and hyaluronic acid to hydrate, plump, and strengthen the skin’s barrier function.

TULA Super Calm Gentle Milk Cleanser

3. TULA Super Calm Gentle Milk Cleanser

It doesn’t matter how many calming products you use if you’re still starting your routine with a skin-stripping cleanser. This milky cleanser is loaded with gentle probiotics, colloidal oatmeal, and cucumber, and leaves out irritants like alcohol, fragrance phthalates, and sulfates.

Let us know which rosacea treatments and products are your favorite! Want in on all the Glam Bag fun? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. And don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

About the author
Kate Foster Kaplove
Kate is a freelance beauty editor in Brooklyn. She was previously a beauty editor at ELLE, Cosmopolitan, Women's Health, and Seventeen. Her favorite topics to write about are skincare and fragrance, especially as they relate to art, culture, & politics.
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Article Last Updated May 19, 2020 12:00 AM