Rosacea mainly affects skin rich in sebaceous glands- especially the central face, nose, chin, and forehead, especially of light-skinned women, aged 30–50 years. But it can happen to anyone.

Rosacea skin is dry skin

Skin dryness and increased trans epidermal water loss are hallmarks of rosacea skin. In fact, in studies, skin dryness is the MOST common symptom of all! Studies have shown that the skin barrier in rosacea is severely impacted at multiple points making it a less effective.  

An intact skin barrier is essential for maintaining homeostasis as it protects the body against external agents and microbes and provides a waterproof cover. According to the literature, stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the epidermis, and tight junctions are considered the most important components of the skin permeability barrier 

Rosacea skin is too alkaline!

Yes, you read that correctly. Rosacea prone skin has a higher pH than unaffected skin. Researchers believe this contributes to greater skin dehydration. It’s important when it comes to choosing a moisturiser.

What moisturising does

The basic function of a moisturiser is to hydrate the outer layers of the skin or stratum corneum. They do this in a few ways. The first is pure occlusion which stops trans epidermal water loss or TEWL via evaporation. Examples of occlusives include such as petrolatum, mineral oil, silicone derivatives (eg dimethicone), lanolin, ceatyl alcohol, and stearyl alcohol. Humectants work by attracting and holding water in the skin itself. Examples include glycerin, propylene glycol and sodium lactate. Emollients make the skin feel and appear smooth. They also help reduce TEWL. Examples of emollients include glycerol stearate, lanolin, soy sterol and sunflower seed oil. 

The American Academy of Dermatologists recommendation to rosacea patients: “Moisturising helps hydrate your skin by trapping water in your skin. This can reduce irritation and make your skin feel more comfortable,” they say

The Academy adds that having the right moisturiser can also improve the results obtained from other treatments. 

What’s in a typical moisturiser?;

They actually have a bit of a formula. The standard components in a standard facial moisturiser include approximately 80% water, 5% humectants, 4% emollients/occlusives 6% emulsifiers, 2% silicate, 0.3% thickener, 0.4% preservative, and 0.2% fragrance

Here is what to look for in a mild moisturiser;

  • acidic-neutral pH: The evidence is still emerging, but it seems that between 4 and 5.5 is best 
  • without potential irritants and allergens

What are the potential irritants and allergens you should be on the lookout for?

  • Perfume!
  • AHAs such as lactic acid, which can cause stinging and irritation
  • Any steroid creams

Are there actives that might help rosacea?

If you’re using a moisturiser anyway, why not add some actives that can help manage your rosacea?

  1. Sunscreen. Avoiding the sun is essential to minimise inflammation to the skin and to avoid one of the key rosacea triggers. Go for a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Preferably a physical rather than a chemical sunscreen. Look for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Like ESK’s Zinc Shade with Zinc Oxide!

  2. Niacinamide. Few studies have specifically addressed TEWL in rosacea. But those that have, found it is better than a plain moisturiser. ESK’s B Quenched and B Calm both have 5% niacinamide.

  3. Retinal. There is some evidence that topical Vitamin A can help reduce redness, pustules and the little telangiectasia blood vessels in rosacea skin. Unlike retinol, retinal has been specifically studied for rosacea. Being less irritating than prescription vitamin A but equally effective in studies for acne and skin aging, it’s a good choice in rosacea prone skin. ESK’s Ultimate A has 0.06% Retinal and 4% Niacinamide.

Tips for applying moisturisers to rosacea prone skin;

  1. If your skin is inflamed, apply it gently. Don’t rub too vigorously as this might irritate your skin.
  2. Wait until the face is completely dry after cleansing before applying moisturiser. This is because dermatologists have found that many skin care products tend to be most irritating when the skin is wet.



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