Whether individuals with Rosacea should exfoliate is a controversial topic, and opinions vary between professionals and experts on this topic.
On one hand, exfoliating can help to remove dead skin cells and improve skin texture.
On the other hand, it can irritate sensitive skin and exacerbate Rosacea symptoms.
In this blog post we will unpack whether individuals with Rosacea should exfoliate, arming you with the knowledge to make an informed decision if you have Rosacea.
1. What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a common skin condition that causes redness, flushing and pimple-like bumps on the face. It typically affects the cheeks, nose, chin and forehead, and can also cause eye irritation (something known as ocular rosacea).
The cause of rosacea is not fully understood, but factors including genetics, skin mites and the digestive system may play a role.
Symptoms of rosacea can range from mild to severe, and can include:
- Redness and flushing of the skin - especially after exposure to triggers (eg. spicy foods, alcohol, sun exposure, and stress).
- Pimple-like bumps on the face - which may be red, swollen, and contain pus.
- Eye irritation - including dryness, redness, and the feeling of having something in the eye.
- Thickened skin - in severe cases, the skin may thicken, particularly on the nose (which is known as rhinophyma).
2. How to Determine if I have Rosacea?
Rosacea can be diagnosed by a dermatologist based on the presence of symptoms. It is best to seek the help of a medical professional, rather than attempt a self-diagnosis!
There is no ‘cure’ for Rosacea, but treatment can help to control symptoms and prevent flare-ups.
The best way to manage Rosacea is to use mild, gentle skincare products and to stick to a routine that helps to improve the skin barrier.
3. Should I Exfoliate if I have Rosacea?
As mentioned previously, exfoliating can help to remove dead skin cells and improve skin texture, however it can also irritate sensitive skin and exacerbate rosacea symptoms.
If you have Rosacea, it is important that you are especially cautious when exfoliating. Here are some tips for exfoliating if you have Rosacea:
Choose Gentle Exfoliating Products
Look for exfoliating products that are gentle and free of harsh chemicals and abrasive ingredients. Physical exfoliants, such as scrubs, can sometimes be too harsh for sensitive skin and may irritate Rosacea.
Our Dragon Fruit Face Scrub is both a physical scrub and an enzyme peel. The best way to use this on Rosacea skin is not to rub at all.
Apply the scrub gently and leave on for 2 minutes. Then, gently rinse off being careful to avoid any rubbing of the physical exfoliant over the skin. The fruit enzymes will work their magic to remove your dead skin cells, even in the absence of any scrubbing.
You can find out more about our Dragon Fruit Face Scrub here.
Only Exfoliate Sparingly
Those with Rosacea should avoid over-exfoliating as this can strip the skin of its natural oils and cause irritation.
Generally speaking, exfoliating once a week is more than enough for anyone with very thin, red and easily inflamed skin.
Be Mindful of any Products you use on your Skin
Those with Rosacea should only use skincare products that are specially formulated for those with sensitive skin. Avoid products that contain fragrances, alcohol, and other irritants.
Use a mild cleanser for everyday use (like our Cucumber Milk Cleanser), followed by a toner to rebalance the pH. The toner is an important step, so do not be tempted to skip this!
4. Ingredients that may help Rosacea
The following are some hero ingredients which those with Rosacea may benefit from.
Aloe Vera - Aloe Vera has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce redness and irritation. Our Aloe Vera face cream contains Aloe Vera Leaf Juice which moisturises the skin without leaving a greasy feel. It contains a plethora of antioxidants including, beta carotene, vitamin C and E to help calm and soothe sensitive skin.
Oatmeal - Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties and can provide relief from itching and redness. Taking oatmeal baths or applying oatmeal based masks can help soothe irritated skin.
Why not take a soak in the bathtub on weekends with our Calendula Golden milk bath, which is made from natural Calendula essence and finely powdered Organic Oatmeal?
For those, who prefer a shower instead of a bath, our Oatmeal wash is a great alternative.
Honey - Honey has antimicrobial properties that may help with the acne-like bumps associated with Rosacea. Applying honey as a face mask can provide gentle moisturisation and help reduce inflammation.
For those who don’t like dealing with the mess that is sticky honey, you may wish to try our Collagen Honey Mask!
Probiotics - Consuming foods rich in probiotics or taking probiotic supplements may help to support your gut health, which has in turn been linked to skin health. Some studies suggest that probiotics can help reduce inflammation and improve symptoms in individuals with Rosacea.
Our Probiotic Face Cream is a light face cream and it is especially great for people who have oily skin and is prone to breakouts while also struggling with Rosacea. It contains lactobacilli probiotic (healthy bacteria) which cleans away the bad bacteria on your skin.
5. Other Lifestyle and Dietary Modifications which may help with Rosacea
Manage your Stress - Stress is a common trigger for Rosacea flare-ups. Some activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga can help you to manage stress levels and potentially reduce symptoms.
- Dietary Modifications - While there is limited scientific evidence linking diet with Rosacea, some individuals report improvement by avoiding spicy foods, alcohol and hot beverages. Keeping a food diary can help you to identify specific personal triggers for your symptoms.
If you are seeking natural remedies and/or lifestyle changes to complement your Rosacea treatment, be sure to run this past medical health professionals to ensure they align with your individual needs and do not interfere with any prescribed medications or treatments.
Rosacea can be managed well.
The key takeaways in terms of exfoliating if you have Rosacea is to choose gentle exfoliating products (avoid any rubbing!), only exfoliate sparingly (once a week is more than enough), and to only use skincare products that are specifically formulated for those with sensitive skin.