7 Home Remedies for Rosacea You Should Try
Seeking treatment from a dermatologist can ease the redness and bumps of rosacea. But between doctor’s visits, there’s a lot you can do at home to control the disease and reduce its impact on your life.
Start by approaching your rosacea like a researcher: “Keep a skin journal for a few weeks—either on paper or on an electronic device—and note when the rosacea flares and what you did, ate, or were exposed to that day,” Robyn Gmyrek, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City, tells Health.
After six to eight weeks of journaling, you’ll have an idea of what makes your rosacea worse—and what can improve it. That way, you can aim to modify your routine, she says.
Need some ideas? Read on for home remedies for rosacea that actually work.
Over-the-counter creams and washes
Your doctor may write you prescriptions for medicated skincare products—if so, use those as directed, and ask before combining them with other remedies. But over-the-counter products can also decrease the inflammation rosacea causes, Dr. Gmyrek says.
Look for products that are sulfa-based—they’re often marketed to treat acne, but they can also act as home remedies for rosacea bumps. Topical azelaic acid can also be anti-inflammatory, she says. We like The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% ($8; sephora.com).
Because exercise is often a rosacea trigger, washing your face and applying cream soon after a workout is a good idea, says Richard Torbeck, MD, a dermatologist and Mohs surgeon in New York.
Anecdotally, some people have reported soothing from lavender or coconut oils, and aloe vera gel (we like Banana Boat Soothing Aloe After Sun Gel) may reduce rosacea redness. But steer clear of anything that contains steroids, including hydrocortisone—those products can actually worsen your symptoms, Dr. Gmyrek says.
There’s no ideal diet that serves as a one-size-fits-all home remedy for a rosacea flare-up. But there are foods that tend to trigger symptoms in many people, says Carolyn Jacob, MD, medical director of Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology.
These include spicy dishes, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and dairy products. Experimenting can help you determine the right recipe for calming your skin, Dr. Gmyrek says.
Dietary supplements may also have a role to play in rosacea management, Dr. Jacob says. Try omega-3 fatty acids, from sources like coldwater fish or flaxseed oil. They’re anti-inflammatory, meaning they may ease the underlying processes that contribute to redness and swelling.
Many people with rosacea find hot beverages—coffee, tea, and the like—trigger flushing and redness. If that’s true for you, it might be worth cutting that second cup of joe, or trying it iced.
Alcohol can also contribute to rosacea symptoms, because it dilates your blood vessels, Dr. Torbeck says. If you don’t want to avoid it completely, try experimenting with different beverages. Those with lower alcohol content—think beer instead of whiskey—might have less of an effect, and white wine may be less bothersome than red, he notes.
Being smart about sun protection can help control your symptoms, Dr. Torbeck says. Seek shade when you can, wear a wide-brimmed hat, and wear sunglasses, especially if your rosacea affects your eyes.
Wear sunscreen daily; choose a sunscreen formula with an SPF of at least 15 and labeled broad-spectrum to protect against UVA and UVB rays. Mineral formulas containing zinc or titanium oxide work well for many people with rosacea, Dr. Jacob says. Our pick: EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 ($33; amazon.com).
In some people, rosacea affects the eyes as well, a condition called ocular rosacea. Rosacea of the eye home remedies include placing warm compresses over the eyes to soothe gritty, uncomfortable sensations.
Medical experts also recommend artificial tears and proper eyelid hygiene for rosacea, which includes gently scrubbing your lids with diluted baby shampoo. This can help clear blockages in the meibomian glands, which secrete a fatty substance that keeps your eyes from drying out.
Makeup can’t change the progression of rosacea, but it can reduce its impact on your life. “For redness, green-tinted makeup can help as cosmetic camouflage,” says John Barbieri, MD, a research fellow in dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Avoiding heavy formulas or those with strong fragrances might also prevent flare-ups, Dr. Torbeck says. The green tones in L'Oréal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream Anti-Redness ($8; amazon.com) do wonders to counteract redness.