If just the thought of an awkward moment makes your cheeks flush tomato-red and makeup promising to inject a 'rosey glow' has you running a mile, you might be experiencing rosacea. This common inflammatory skin condition, sometimes mistaken for acne, causes cheeks to redden easily and small pustules to form on the face although symptoms can vary from person to person. And while there's no cure, as such, for the condition – that affects one in ten people, according to the NHS – there are many simple ways in which it can be managed for happy, healthy skin. From a cosseting, 'comfort blanket' oil to easy lifestyle switch-ups, read on as I share my top tips and the best rosacea-fighting products to try...
"This facial oil is great on my sensitive skin and continues to calm my rosacea down every day." - Feefo customer review
What are the symptoms of rosacea?
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition which tends to affect the cheeks, chin, nose and forehead. Symptoms include persistent redness (caused by dilated blood vessels and visible broken capillaries), sensitivity, a burning sensation, prominent blood vessels or thread veins, small bumps and pus-filled spots – although not everyone will suffer from all of these. Some experts believe abnormalities in the blood vessels, as well as a reaction to microscopic mites that are commonly found on the face, are the primary causes of rosacea although genetics, the immune system and environmental factors can all have an impact, too.
Know your rosacea triggers
There are many factors that can trigger rosacea, such as stress, exposure to sunlight, hot temperatures (even hairdryers), cold temperatures (think air conditioning or blustery winds), food groups such as dairy and gluten and some skincare products that may compromise the skin barrier. The causes can be quite individual so I often advise people to keep a journal, including food and drink, so you can identify anything that seems to worsen your own condition.
"I cannot recommend this company and products enough! I have been using them for over 2 years now and my roseacea is completely under control and my skin health has improved a lot." - Feefo customer review
Avoid long-term inflammatory treatments
Antibiotics (such as tetracycline, lymecycline and erythromycin) and IPL treatment (Intense Pulsed Light) are often prescribed as immediate solutions for rosacea. The latter involves directing a beam of light straight into the blood vessels in the skin to break them down. While each of these options may provide some short-term relief, these can can cause long-term inflammation and end up making the problem worse. And there is an alternative...
"I emailed Sarah to ask advice as I have very sensitive/reactive skin and rosacea. She replied quickly with lots of helpful information about her products. All have been so lovely! The oil cleanser makes my skin feel squeaky clean and soft, without appearing agitated." - Anna L., customer review
Treat rosacea with plant-based skincare products
Consider your skin's protective barrier function an essential weapon in your battle against rosacea. When this is weakened, it becomes easier for irritants to get in and water to get out leaving skin dry, dehydrated and reactive. The fix? Opt for soothing, hydrating plant oils to help strengthen that all-important wall and prevent the water from escaping (a process known as 'transepidermal water loss.') This is particularly important if you have dark skin as damage to the skin's barrier may lead to hyperpigmentation.
Start with a gentle, hydrating plant-based cleanser that won't disrupt your skin's natural pH balance. Harsh face scrubs or washes containing sulphates and soap can make rosacea worse. Instead go for our By Sarah London Balancer Oil-to-milk Cleanser, blended with soothing Marula Seed and Olive Squalane, to help your skin retain moisture. Perfumed skincare products are another no-go for rosacea-prone complexions.
"I love this facial oil for my rosacea-prone skin!" - Silke, customer review
Follow your morning and evening facial cleanse with a spritz of the prebiotic Reviver Hydrating Mist for scientifically-proven hydration and long-lasting moisture, and massage a few drops of our restorative unfragranced By Sarah London Hero Facial Oil into your face and neck. Abundant in a variety of omegas, minerals and vitamins A, B, C and E, it helps strengthen your skin's natural barrier function and lends an instant 'ahh' feeling when your skin's feeling particularly tight and uncomfortable.
Knowing the unbelievable skin benefits Vitamin C can deliver, we've been determined to bring you a blend that lets sensitive skin in on the action, too! And we didn't stop there. We spent many months working hard behind-the-scenes to bring you an alternative to retinol. A plant-powered oil – suitable for even the most sensitive of skins – that offers retinol-like properties without the irritation. Both our Vitamin C+E Daily Radiance Booster and Bakuchiol Daily Recovery Booster have been designed with the most sensitive skin in mind, and slot seamlessly into your morning and evening skincare routine as the final "boosted" step. The result? A visible skin transformation without redness, irritation or sensitivity – for day and night.
Going plant-based with your diet can also help to amp up your skin's protective powers. Food groups such as dairy and gluten are often linked to rosacea, as well as alcohol, spicy foods and caffeine. Instead, enjoy foods that are light on the digestive system, plenty of green leafy vegetables and adequate omega 3. Rosacea rescue plan? Sorted.
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