How Sunscreen Affects Rosacea
Rosacea is a chronic, but harmless, inflammatory skin condition that causes redness in the face and may produce small, red pustules that can look like acne – it affects approximately 16 million or more adults in the United States. In most people Rosacea is cyclical – signs and symptoms may flare up for a period of weeks or months and then diminish before flaring up again. If left untreated, Rosacea tends to be progressive, and generally gets worse over time.
There is currently no cure for Rosacea – treatments can control and reduce the signs and symptoms – however, understanding the triggers that cause a flare-up is an important strategy for controlling Rosacea.
A number of factors can aggravate, or trigger, Rosacea by increasing blood flow to the surface of the skin. Things like spicy foods, hot foods or beverages, temperature extremes, stress, hot baths and sun exposure are some examples. For some people, one of the triggers may include the use of Sunscreen.
How Can Sunscreen Affect Rosacea?
That’s because rich oil-based creams can trap sweat on the skin. When that happens, the skin heats up, blood vessels dilate, and the next thing you know, you have another flare-up. Not only is the action of heat build-up a problem, added ingredients in many sunscreens can irritate and inflame the skin. Unfortunately, parabens (preservatives) and other chemicals found in many sunscreens can irritate the skin and exacerbate the condition.
So for those with Rosacea – less is more when it comes to sunscreen – the fewer irritating fillers, oils, fragrances and chemicals, the better. Rather, look for mineral blocks or ‘physical’ sunscreens like zinc and titanium.
Best Sunscreen Choices for Rosacea
Mineral or physical type sunscreens create a reflective surface on the skin that reflects UV light or scatters it off of the skin’s surface. The active ingredients in these sunscreens are zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide. They are very effective at blocking both UVB and UVA sun rays and are considered to be the safest sunscreens to use. Furthermore, Zinc and titanium are not absorbed into the skin and are generally nonirritating to the skin – zinc itself is mildly antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Other Things to Watch For
Although zinc and/or titanium will not irritate the skin, some zinc/titanium based sunscreens may contain additional active and inactive ingredients. Rosacea sufferers should review ingredient lists to find an effective and safe sunscreen without harmful ingredients. The best products of this type will contain all-natural ingredients – containing names that are recognizable to the average user.
Try to avoid sunscreens that contain more than 15% zinc because they tend to be very difficult to remove from the skin and can actually do damage to the skin barrier which can results in a flare-up. Look for gel formulas – these are easier to wash off at the end of the day and help to keep the skin even cooler.
Avoid chemical sunscreens – while these prevent the rays from penetrating to the deeper layer of the skin, they primarily work by absorbing the sun’s rays – not what people with Rosacea need for their skin
Finally, look for sunscreen products labeled noncomogenic – this designation means the product will not clog the pores, thereby avoiding a flare-up in the first place.
- The Face of Rosacea (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- Living with Rosacea (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- Covering the Signs of Rosacea (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- Photo Facials: Your Questions Answered (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
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