6 Rosacea Treatments that Can Help End Redness
Dermatologists are using old and new rosacea treatments to combat redness. Here's what they're using and why it works.
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From lasers and lights to new prescription creams and calming over-the-counter skin care products, dermatologists share proven strategies for extinguishing the redness of rosacea for good.
Rosacea treatment: Lasers
Lasers are the gold standard for getting rid of the redness of rosacea, says Gary Goldenberg, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. His two go-tos for rosacea treatment are Syneron-Candela’s V-beam and Cutera’s Excel V. Both apply laser energy to get rid of the spider-like blood vessels that cause redness. The Excel V, however, boasts an enhanced cooling mechanism that targets the exact area being treated. A minimum of two treatments is usually needed for the full redness-reducing effect. “These laser treatments get rid of the blood vessels, but they don’t prevent new ones from forming,” he says. “It’s similar to dyeing your hair in that maintenance treatments will be needed every six to 12 months to keep redness away.”
courtesy American Academy of Dermatology
Rosacea treatment: Smart skin care
Choosing and using the right skin care products can stop rosacea redness from returning, says Dr. Goldenberg. For example, PCA Skin’s Dual Action Redness Relief serves double duty as a moisturizer and a concealer. “I pair it with all of my laser treatments because it reduces redness and inflammation on contact with the skin.” Just as important as what is in skin care products is what is not. For example, alcohol, witch hazel, fragrance, menthol, peppermint, and eucalyptus oil—which are commonly found in skin care products—are also rosacea triggers, according to the National Rosacea Society (NRS). Always choose mild, fragrance-free products and do a patch test first to make sure they won’t irritate your skin, says Dr. Goldenberg. Once you’ve chosen smart skin care products, these expert-approved makeup tricks will help it disappear.
Rosacea treatment: Sunscreen
popcorner/ShutterstockSun exposure is among the most common rosacea triggers, but the judicious use of sunscreen can help minimize the redness of rosacea, Dr. Goldenberg says. “Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen, and use it every single day,” he says. Some such as Colorescience’s All Calm Clinical Redness Corrector SPF 50 are designed for redness-prone skin and contain a green tint, so you can protect skin from the sun and help minimize visible redness, too. (Make sure you hit these trouble spots with sunscreen or your coverage may not be complete.)
Rosacea treatment: Rhofade (oxymetazoline HCl) cream
Rhofade is a vasoconstrictor, which means that it reduces the size of the blood vessels linked to redness. “Rhofade is my new favorite,” says Judith Hellman, MD, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “It reduces central face redness [and] unlike previous medications on the market, there is no rebound redness once it wears off after 10 hours,” she says. Many people with rosacea are anxious about the unpredictable nature of flares especially when an important event is on the calendar. “Count back 19 hours from an event and apply accordingly to have it most effective when needed,” advises Dr. Hellman. Finding medications like Rhofade helped Grammy- and Tony-winning star Kristin Chenoweth control her rosacea.
Rosacea treatment: Green tea-infused serums
“I tell my patients to put my Green Tea Antioxidant Cream in the fridge, so it’s cold and in addition to the other benefits, it constricts the blood vessels for reduced redness,” Dr. Hellman says. “Drinking green tea is not the same. Applying the serum directly to the skin is the most effective use.” (Though there are home remedies for rosacea if you’re interested in a more natural treatment.) Other green tea-powered creams and serums include Pevonia RS2 Gentle Care Cream and Replenix CF Serum with Caffeine. (Learn why there is caffeine in your skin care products.)
Rosacea treatment: Tight trigger control
Figuring out what triggers your rosacea—and avoiding these triggers—is one of the best ways to keep rosacea redness at arm’s length. Sun exposure, stress, hot weather, wind, exercise, alcohol, and spicy foods are among the most common rosacea triggers, according to an NRS survey. Keep a journal to identify any patterns, and take steps to avoid your personal rosacea triggers. Next, check out the best rosacea skin care routine.
- Gary Goldenberg, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City
- National Rosacea Society: "Rosacea Skin Care & Cosmetics"
- Judith Hellman, MD, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City
- National Rosacea Society: "Rosacea Triggers Survey"