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11 Things People With Rosacea Should Know

The things I wish I'd known years ago.

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1. As it's Rosacea Awareness Month, I wanted to write a post with all the information I wish someone had told me years ago.

Lex Gillies

I found out I had rosacea when I was 21 and my doctor diagnosed me with a skin condition I'd never even heard of. Twelve years later, I have tried a lot of products, experienced countless flare-ups, and even built a career from talking about my passion for skincare and beauty on my blog. If you have rosacea, you will know all too well that every person is unique and therefore experiences symptoms in very different ways, so I've tried to keep the advice quite generic – but I hope it helps. There are some links at the bottom for further information if you would like to do more research.

2. Find your triggers.

This is easily the most important piece of advice I give to people. Rosacea is characterised by flare-ups that are a result of internal or external effects. There are many common triggers that most people with rosacea share (e.g. exposure to the sun, emotional stress, alcohol, exercise). However, everyone is different, so it's vital you pinpoint exactly what affects your skin and how it manifests itself so you can notice patterns. I kept a diary where I noted everything I could think of that could have had an impact – which is how I noticed triggers that I never would have considered, like lack of sleep.


3. Pick your battles.

Once you've found your triggers, try not to feel overwhelmed. Identifying your triggers doesn't mean you *have* to remove them – it's all about personal choice. For me, I notice the difference in my skin when I consume dairy, so I choose not to eat it 95% of the time. But for that 5% of the time, when I have an utterly terrible week and just need cheese (we've all been there), I go for it. I also understand that I will have to accept the consequences, a bit like a hangover. On my face.

4. SPF is your BFF.

In the words of Baz Luhrmann, wear sunscreen. The moment I go out in the sun, I can feel my skin prickling, itching, and getting warm. I wear SPF 50 every single day and never, ever sunbathe, because it's guaranteed to play havoc with my skin. Those with rosacea or sensitive skin should look for mineral sunscreens – often called physical sunscreens – because they reflect the sun's rays to protect you, as opposed to chemical sunscreens, which absorb the rays and can in turn heat up your skin. And we do not need any help in the warm-skin department!

I like La Roche Posay, £16.50 at Boots

5. You can still wear makeup.

Makeup doesn't have to be out of bounds just because you have reactive skin – if you want to wear it, it's just a case of finding the right products for you. Some people prefer a light BB cream or tinted moisturiser to take the edge off the redness, while others (like me) prefer a full coverage look. Just remember that "full coverage" doesn't have to mean heavy or thick: Brands are now a lot better at releasing products that feel light on the skin. Some of my favourites are also affordable products you can find on the high street/in the drugstore: L'Oréal Paris True Match and Infallible Matte are both wonderful and don't look or feel cake-y.

Get True Matte at Boots, £9.99

6. This egg will change your life.

Makeup application is just as important as the products you use. I find that using my fingers to apply makeup can make my face heat up, so I prefer using the Beauty Blender as it gives a flawless finish without aggravating the skin. I find that a few light layers looks a lot more natural than one heavy layer, something that took me years to realise. Looking back at old photos, you can't see my redness but I do look like I've coated myself in greasepaint and then been left in a dusty room... Not a good look.

Get it at Beauty Blender, £16


7. Don't fear green makeup!

If you have redness you would like to cover, colour-correcting makeup could be your new best friend. Green products may seem like crazy and intimidating products but they work incredibly well when applied properly. The basic premise is that red and green are opposite each other on the colour wheel, so by applying a green-toned cream it will neutralise the redness in the skin. Bear in mind that these products do tend to work better under foundation or concealer: It's rare that you find one subtle enough to be worn alone, so don't abandon your colour-correcting products just because you start out looking a bit like the Hulk!

I like NYX, £5.50 at Boots

8. Know your ingredients.

Knowledge is power. Learning how to read and understand ingredient lists is a brilliant way to help your rosacea. Menthol, tea tree, witch hazel, fragrance... I have found out (through some painful trial and error!) that these do not agree with my skin. I have also become very aware of the way that products are described in the blurb: If I read the words "tingly", "invigorating", or "a wake-up for the skin" then I know I should run in the opposite direction!

The whole Avene Tolérance Extrême skincare range is great for reactive skin: £13.50 at Boots

9. Learn how to deal with flare-ups.

Sometimes, even if you check ingredients very carefully, you can still have a reaction to a product. When I try any new skincare, I always do a patch test on a small area of my skin, and also make sure to try new products at the weekend so I have a few days to hide in my house until any irritation goes down! If you do experience a reaction, HERE are some tips to calm flare-ups that are also very useful for helping to soothe any kind of irritation.

10. Look after yourself.

Stress is definitely my biggest rosacea trigger, which is frustrating as it's often the one that's hardest to avoid or remove from your life. Look after yourself as much as you can, whether that's getting a good night's sleep, eating well, drinking lots of water, meditation, colouring-in... Do whatever makes you happy and feel calm.

11. You are still you.

You are not defined by your skin condition. This is probably the most important bit of advice I have been given and shared with others. Although having a visible skin condition can be incredibly damaging to your self-esteem and can make you feel like you have no control over your appearance, you are more than the way you look.

Hopefully these tips help you to feel happier, healthier, and as though you have some control over your skin. Please feel free to share your own tips for soothing, helping, or covering your rosacea in the comments below. Rosacea is so subjective and everyone experiences it slightly differently, so it's always great to hear from other people.

Contact Lex Gillies at

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