Rosacea skincare can be a tricky subject, rosacea flares can be triggered by a wide variety of causes, each of which are super personal to the individual. You’ve probably heard about potential triggers in food like spice, dairy, sugar and alcohol, but triggers within skincare are rarely talked about.

If you’re looking for the best moisturiser for rosacea, for example, there’s not a lot of information on what ingredients contribute to that, and which can actually worsen a flare up. Don’t get me wrong, I am not proclaiming to be a rosacea expert, but I have learned a fair bit about it over the years, as well as dealing with my fair share of sensitive skin issues and speaking with dermatologists who have rosacea themselves.

Rosacea skincare ingredients to avoid

I’ve noticed there’s actually a fairly big crossover between creams and serums that work for rosacea, and sensitive skin in general. I actually prefer a lot of rosacea-oriented products, because they have a lot of qualities I’m looking for for my own skincare, so let’s talk about them.

Added fragrance and rosacea

Across all skincare, I generally prefer to avoid anything with added fragrance, even if it says it’s ‘natural’ fragrance – there’s not really any difference, one just sounds friendlier! Almost all fragrance comes from plants originally, but the way they are processed to become fragrance for cosmetics can make them very irritating to the skin. Especially with the sensitive nature of rosacea, it’s best to go fragrance free with all of your products.

Essential oils and rosacea

Similarly to added fragrance, essential oils sound lovely – relaxing, even! But they’re just not something your face wants to be bathed in every day. I often see everyday people preach about the benefits of them for your skin on social media, but you will rarely (hopefully never!) see a professional dermatologist preach the same, and that is for good reason.

With rosacea skincare and products, it’s all about keeping the skin as calm and irritant-free as possible, and essential oils are very volatile ingredients that make that difficult. Here are a few you can look out for on ingredient labels:

Once you start reading ingredients labels, you’ll start to realise just how many skincare products contain these – it’s quite disappointing!

Physical exfoliants like facial scrubs

Physical face scrubs have gotten a bad reputation in the last few years, and in all honesty I think this is pretty fair. They tend to make the skin feel immediately smoother, but actually tend to do way more harm than good. It’s safe to say that with rosacea skin, this is especially problematic. But don’t feel like you’re missing out – they really aren’t that beneficial and exfoliating with a chemical exfoliant like an acid, when done sparingly, can yield much better results.

Chemical exfoliants like acids

As I mentioned previously, rosacea skin can be quite unique to the individual, meaning some people may tolerate acids like BHA (salicylic) and AHA (glycolic and lactic acid) better or worse than others. Generally speaking, this is something to speak to your doctor or dermatologist about, but I would recommend trying to avoid using skincare products in your everyday routine that contain acids, and instead using them 1-2x a month maximum. So for example, instead of using a cleanser that contains AHA every day, make sure your daily routine is acid-free, and 1-2x a month use an AHA toner for your hit of exfoliation – then watch carefully to see how your rosacea reacts.

My pro tip is to remember that you can always patch-test products – people forget this! When you get a new skincare product, there’s really no need to apply it all over your face from the get go. Instead you can try it out on just one cheek or your forehead, for example.