You can't cure rosacea. But here's how you can manage it, according to an expert.

If you have rosacea, you'll know just how fickle of a skin condition it can be.

Redness. Inflammation. Irritation. Bumps. That general uncomfortable feeling.

But for such a common condition (there's more than 500,000 cases per year in Australia), there's actually a surprising amount of confusion around rosacea.

While there's plenty of supposed 'rules' and dos and don'ts floating around, when it comes to potential triggers, treatments and remedies, the reality is that managing rosacea isn't easy. 

Watch: Here are seven ways to improve your skin while sleeping. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

Because in case you didn't already know, there's currently no cure for rosacea. It all comes down to management. 

This means you can end up trying and spending money on a lot of different things, only to see zero improvements.

That's why we decided to ask an expert for some actually useful advice. 

Here, Dr Imaan Joshi shares the very best way to manage the condition, including what kinds of things rosacea sufferers should do (and what they should avoid).


The most common mistakes with treating rosacea.

According to Dr Joshi, one of the most common mistakes she sees is the incorrect diagnosis of rosacea - saying that certain types can often be mistaken for acne. Meaning? People tend to go ham on acne treatments to get rid of these signs and symptoms - without knowing they're actually dealing with something completely separate from acne.

While they might both be common chronic inflammatory skin diseases and have some cross-overs in appearance (red lumps, bumps and pustules), acne and rosacea are very different beasts - and must be treated that way.

Moral of the story? If you're confused whether you have acne or rosacea, see an expert - they'll be able to tell you exactly what skin condition you have and how to best treat or manage it. Because the old trial and error is not ideal.

Dr Joshi said many people avoid "seeking a formal diagnosis and management plan," which not only leads to misdiagnosis but also "overdoing over-the-counter skincare that may exacerbate sensitivity and redness."

Another major issue experts see with rosacea is that many people think it's a curable condition, when really it's about controlling signs and symptoms. 

"A lot of people see rosacea as a one-and-done condition rather than as a chronic but non life-threatening illness that can have phases," said Dr Joshi.

So, while there's no run-of-the-mill treatment for rosacea, there are different things you can do to manage it.

Which brings us to...


The best way to manage rosacea.

Dr Joshi said rosacea is a "chronic disease with a waxing-waning profile," and to expect periods of exacerbations from things like stress, spicy foods, alcohol and exercise - depending on the person.

While there are different things that might trigger flare-ups for different people, there are some things you can do to keep symptoms under control. 

Just be wary that when it comes to results, Dr Joshi said realistic expectations are key. 

Below are four ways to manage rosacea, according to an expert.

1. Apply sunscreen.

But you're doing this one everyday anyway, right? (Please nod).

Sun exposure is actually one of the most common causes of rosacea. It's also a trigger for flare-ups, aggravating the condition and making it worse.

So, WEAR SUNSCREEN. All the time. Add a hat and sunnies in the mix, too.

"A lack of adequate sun protection can exacerbate rosacea, so applying daily SPF and sun protection is a must," said Dr Joshi.

2. Strip down your skincare routine. 

Along with religiously applying sunscreen, skin experts generally advise keeping your skincare simple and gentle. Dr Joshi stresses "less is more" and to pare everything back. 

So, ditch anything with fragrances, alcohol and exfoliating and cosmeceutical ingredients (no retinols, vitamin C, etc.) - as these kinds of things will only further irritate your skin and potentially make your rosacea worse.


"Keep your skincare super basic. For example, a cleanser, daily SPF and moisturiser," said Dr Joshi.

3. Focus on repairing your skin barrier.

We all know that a strong skin barrier equals healthy skin. But a common thing with rosacea is that your skin barrier can often be weak or compromised - meaning your skin is more sensitive to irritants, bacteria and all those other annoying things.

So, one thing you're going to want to do is look for ways to calm your skin and strengthen your skin barrier. Not only will this benefit the appearance of your skin but it will also make it more resilient - a win, win.

"If symptoms are worsened by an impaired skin barrier, I tend to focus on repairing this first before adding in actives," said Dr Joshi. 

One of the best ways to do this? Focus on using products that are loaded with moisture-boosting ingredients.

Look for products that hero ingredients like ceramides, niacinamide, panthenol and free fatty acids, because these will help soothe dryness and restore hydration - which is a good time for your skin barrier.

4. Follow oral or topical medication, as advised by a professional.

Lastly, Dr Joshi said you should incorporate any specific treatments into your routine on the advice of a professional. So, obviously don't go willy-nilly here. 


"Add in actives depending on type and severity of rosacea as advised by your treating doctor," she said.

"This may be a course of topical creams/gels to treat symptoms initially or oral tablets followed by maintenance with (usually topical) skincare to minimise relapse and slowly build skin integrity and tolerance."

"Keep your skincare super basic." Image: Canva.

The best in-clinic treatment options for managing rosacea.

When it comes to in-clinic treatments for managing rosacea, you have a couple of different options. "Depending on the type of rosacea and redness, vascular laser or Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) may be suitable," suggests Dr Joshi.


Just to give you an idea, usually more than one IPL treatment is required for the best results - so be prepared to go in for a few sessions, along with maintenance/top-up treatments to keep things under control. Again, the amount of treatments you'll need varies depending on the type of rosacea you're dealing with.

"As with many skin disorders, these are medical conditions and tend to wax and wane, so having realistic expectations is important," reminds Dr Joshi. 

"As is finding a doctor you can work with to guide you, as it’ll take weeks to months to calm skin down and effect improvement and then maintain it."

What people with rosacea actually recommend.

Now, if you're anything like us, there's nothing you hate than spending money on products and treatments that don't end up doing a whole lot for your skin. 

So, if you're wondering what *actually* works for real rosacea sufferers when it comes to managing the condition, we thought we'd ask.

Here's what four women from the You Beauty Facebook group recommend:


"I have literally tried every brand and everything that claims to help reduce redness. Some worked mildly, while others not at all. I've finally found a brand that truly does what it's supposed to do - Dr Natasha Cook Cosmeceuticals. Even my dermatologist has been impressed by the change."

"I have also tried topical prescription medication, [and] I have had laser on my face three times - this has helped massively. I tend to stay away from makeup brands that are heavily perfumed or have essential oils in them."


"I also recently purchased the Omnilux Light Therapy Mask - it has been amazing for my rosacea. I would highly recommend it to anyone."


"I have vascular rosacea, and have tried so many different products and treatments over the years. The best thing I ever did was to see a dermatologist and have [a treatment called] 'VBeam laser'. This has helped to diminish the background redness, but I'm still working on clearing some stubborn capillaries with more treatments."

"In terms of products, basic fragrance-free, no essential oils, gentle formulations work best for me. Working on improving my gut health and knowing my triggers has also really helped."


"I would say that IPL treatments have made the biggest difference for my rosacea. I'm in my early 60s and have suffered with rosacea for years - and after trying many different products, I only recently went down this route." 

"Results can take a while (and it certainly isn't cheap!) but after a series of treatments, I've noticed a vast improvement in redness and the overall tone of my skin. I would definitely recommend looking into professional treatments to help manage rosacea if this is something you're struggling with - I wish I had known about it sooner."


"Products and triggers that affect me can change [every] week; there seem to be contradictions everywhere as to what actives are okay. I think I'm coming to the realisation that my routine has to remain really simple." 


"I love Avene products - they're super calming, cheap and readily available. I use the Antirougeurs Redness Relief Cleansing Lotion and Tolerance Skin Repair Moisturiser. I also use La Roche-Posay B5 Baume as my night cream - it's lovely and thick. I use two products from Aspect Dr - the Multi B Plus Serum and Redless Serum. I'm in the process of trying to introduce some other things, but I have to do it steadily and one at a time."

Do you have rosacea? Share your treatment advice in the comment section below.

Dr Imaan Joshi is part of Mamamia's expert health panel. She is an Australian trained doctor specialising and a fellow of the Australian College of General Practice. 

Dr Joshi graduated from the University of Sydney, and has two decades of clinical experience, including numerous years as an accredited trainee with the College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 

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Feature image: Adre Beauty; Aspect; Omnilux; Mamamia.

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