11 things that will definitely make your rosacea 100 times worse.

Rosacea is a shrewd, impossible jerk. He's red, angry and inflamed at least 80 per cent of the time, and it seems like almost *everything* pisses him off. 

If you're familiar with rosacea, you'll know the frustration of using product after product that are so-called 'sensitive' or 'natural', when they're really packed with sneaky synthetics and chemicals that make your skin flare-up and freak out. 

Watch: Here are some nifty products and ingredients you *should* know about. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Little old you can end up forking out a lot of money and trying hundreds of skincare brands and 'natural' remedies, only to see bugger all results. Sigh.

Our advice? Don't just read the stuff slapped on the front of the pretty packaging. You need to dig deeper and know what ingredients are red flags for your skin. 

Not only this, but you need to be aware of normal, everyday things that you should perhaps steer clear of (or at least only expose yourself to in teeny, baby mouthfuls).

Because it's all very confusing and you sometimes feel like you need to have a science degree to know what to avoid, we pulled together some useful advice from dermatologist Dr Katherine Armour from Bespoke Skin Technology. 

She told us exactly what kinds of things rosacea-sufferers should avoid.

1. Retinol

When asked if folk with rosacea should avoid retinol or retinoids (the stronger form of vitamin A that you need a prescription for), Dr Armour straight out said, "Absolutely". Sooo... we think this is a good indicator that this ingredient is a real no-no.

Listen: Confused about the difference between retinol and retinoids? We got you! Listen to Mamamia's podcast for your face, You Beauty, where we talk about the difference between the two ingredients. Post continues below.

So, what happens if you were to go ahead and use retinol or retinoids on rosacea-prone skin? Well, Dr Armour said you're not in for a good time. Especially if you suffer from a specific type of rosacea that sounds really long and confusing.

"Retinoids can definitely exacerbate rosacea. This is due to their ability to disrupt the skin barrier and cause irritation. If you have what dermatologists call 'erythematotelangiectatic rosacea' (which involves skin sensitivity, redness and flushing), I'd definitely steer clear of retinoids."


Right about now you're probably crushed that you have to skip what dermatologists refer to as 'the number one anti-ageing ingredient', hey? Good news is, there are plenty of other options.

"Whilst they are a very useful class of cosmeceutical ingredients, rosacea sufferers are better to steer towards soothing, anti-inflammatory cosmeceutical ingredients (e.g. niacinamide, resveratrol, green tea)."

See! It's not all bad.

2. Sun exposure

"This sets off the inflammatory pathways that drive rosacea," said Armour. Best thing to do? WEAR SUNSCREEN. All the time. Which you should be doing anyway, you silly thing. Throw in a hat and sunglasses while you're at it.

If you wanna know which sunscreen is best for rosacea suffers, go for a physical sunscreen over a chemical sunscreen.

"My mantra with rosacea is to keep your skincare simple and gentle, and use sun protection religiously. Physical sunscreens are useful in rosacea and are far less likely to cause irritation than chemical sunscreens," said Dr Armour.

3. Stress

Of course stress is in here, isn't it? "This can exacerbate any inflammatory skin disease," said Dr Armour. 

The next time you start to feel overwhelmed, try meditating. If you don't know how (same) there are a whole heap of free meditation apps out there, making it easy for you to chuck in your headphones and take five minutes to calm your mind - even if you're at work. 

Working out also helps combats stress by increasing feel-good endorphins. So, if you've had a rough day, put on your gym gear and smash out a HIIT workout (or better yet, head to a boxing class).

If you want some more advice, check out our favourite stress relief activities.

4. Eucalyptus oil, menthol and peppermint

Okay. You know that feeling when you apply a 'cooling' product and it's all tingly, minty and refreshing? That feeling is bad news for folks with rosacea. It can end up feeling like more of a burning, itchy feeling - pretty much everything someone with sensitive skin doesn't want.  

"Menthol, peppermint, and eucalyptus oil may produce a cooling sensation in those with a normal skin barrier. But, in those with an easily irritated skin barrier (read: rosacea) they are far more likely to cause burning and irritation."

5. Toners 

Two of the most common skincare ingredients to avoid for people with rosacea are alcohol and witch hazel - which both pretty much live in toners. 

So, ditch this step because you're just aggravating your poor face.

6. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid

These guys are no good for sensitive skin. Like, really very not good. 


"These are acne treatments and don't have a useful role in rosacea as they will cause irritation in the sensitive skin of rosacea sufferers," said Dr Armour. 


7. Fragrances

Yep. Hard no.

If you're using skincare products that smell *ridiculously* good, but feel like fire on your face when you use them, they're probably laden with fragrances. 

Ditch 'em, or give them to a lucky friend.

8. Exfoliation

If you haven't picked up on it yet (are you actually reading, or just skimming?) the key word here is 'gentle', so you want to stay away from any harsh ingredients that could potentially irritate your skin. 

This includes chemical exfoliators (like AHAs and BHAs) and physical exfoliation (your face scrubs and stuff). "Whilst AHAs and BHAs can be really useful in the settling of acne (which may sometimes mimic rosacea), rosacea is a completely different beast, and will likely be exacerbated by chemical exfoliants," said Dr Armour.

9. Vitamin C 

"I see so many women with flares of their rosacea after using too many cosmeceutical ingredients on their skin - especially vitamin C. Whilst there is a little bit of literature suggesting that certain vitamin C preparations may have an anti-inflammatory effect, and thus help rosacea, this ingredient is difficult to work with and hard to formulate." 

Instead of vitamin C, get on board with do-good skincare ingredients like niacinamide.

"Niacinamide is a soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredient which achieves all of the same outcomes as vitamin C. So, I'd suggest this if you have rosacea and would like to use active ingredients."

10. Alcohol

Welp, this just got disappointing. 

Alcohol can be a major trigger when it comes to flare-ups. According to a survey from the National Rosacea Society, red wine looks like it is the most reactive of them all. The least reactive alcohol was vodka... so there's that.

11. Spicy foods

You guessed it. Hot drinks and spicy foods can also cause flare-ups, because they are what's called thermogenic - which means they produce heat in the body. 

While it's different for everyone, things like cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and curry are common triggers.

"The type of alcohol, and which foods is often quite an individual issue," adds Armour. "Try keeping a symptom and food diary if you really can't put your finger on what is causing your rosacea flares."

Try cutting these things out and we bet rosacea will promise to not ever mess with your beautiful face again. 

Feature image: Getty

Do you suffer from rosacea? What are some of your common triggers? Share with us in the comment section below.