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How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

How to treat rosacea and oily skin with the right ingredients

Rosacea and oily skin are common conditions. Here are some skincare ingredients that may help you address them.

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Curology Team
Oct 27, 2022

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We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.
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Dry, oily, sensitive—rosacea can affect all types of skin. At Curology, we know that symptoms of rosacea and oily skin can be frustrating (or downright uncomfortable)—especially when left untreated. You can’t change your skin type, just like you can’t cure rosacea. The good news? You can manage their symptoms to feel more confident and comfortable.

Rosacea and oily skin aren’t an unusual combination. Although rosacea is more common in fair-skinned people over the age of 30,¹ anyone can develop rosacea—though it may have a hereditary component.² While it’s best for a dermatology provider to officially diagnose you with rosacea, some common symptoms include facial redness, flushing, acne-like bumps, and visible blood vessels (telangiectasias). Some people with severe cases of rosacea can develop phymatous changes (thickened irregular skin). This most commonly occurs on the nose.³ 

An important tool for combating rosacea on oily skin is an effective skincare routine–and every good skincare routine needs the right ingredients. Here we’ll highlight some that may help you manage both rosacea and oily skin and take a look at a few others you may want to avoid. 

Why is it important to check ingredients?

Real talk, there’s currently no cure for rosacea. So, unfortunately, we can’t offer you a “How to get rid of rosacea permanently” guide. But it is something you can learn to manage by taking care of your skin to help lessen the symptoms. 

Rosacea may not be curable, but the good news is that it’s treatable. The even better news? You can help prevent flare-ups by identifying your triggers and avoiding them. Rosacea usually appears in cycles known as flare-ups, when your symptoms are visibly noticeable. How long flare-ups last and how often they happen varies from person to person, but knowing what triggers your flare-ups is an important step in managing the condition. Sometimes, certain ingredients found in skincare products can act as triggers. Identifying those ingredients (and removing them from your rosacea skincare routine) may help minimize your symptoms. 

As a general rule, it is recommended that people with rosacea should have a gentle skincare routine and use sunscreen daily (preferably a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide).⁴ For other products, like face washes and serums, it’s important to check the label for potentially irritating ingredients. The following is a (non-exhaustive) list of ingredients you may want to avoid if you have rosacea:⁵

  • Glycolic or lactic acid: These acids can usually be found in serums and toners.

  • Menthol: This ingredient is sometimes found in cleansers.

  • Fragrances: Added fragrances are popular in many skincare products, and they may irritate sensitive skin. Thankfully, fragrance-free alternatives exist, too.

  • Alcohol: This can be found in some toners, creams, and cleansers, but it’s a common irritant, too.

Though some ingredients may trigger your rosacea symptoms, others can help relieve them.⁶ Ingredients that can manage symptoms include azelaic acid, metronidazole, and ivermectin (all are accessible through Curology!):

  • Azelaic acid: This ingredient can be found in a variety of skincare products.  Some strengths of azelaic require a prescription from your healthcare provider.   

  • Metronidazole: For this, you need a prescription from your medical provider.

  • Ivermectin: Certain strengths of this ingredient also require a prescription from your medical provider while others can be obtained over the counter. 

Not all strengths of these ingredients are indicated for rosacea treatment, so talk to your dermatology provider about what’s right for you. Of course, skincare ingredients aren’t the only possible triggers of rosacea. Other common triggers include:⁷

  • Stress

  • Cold weather or humidity

  • Extreme wind

  • Intense workouts

  • Alcoholic beverages 

  • Spicy foods

Papulopustular rosacea close patients cheek

What about oily skin?

Most commonly, oily skin occurs when your sebaceous glands produce excess sebum (aka oil). Sebum is important—it helps moisturize and protect your skin. But when it mixes with other substances on your face, like bacteria and dead skin cells, it can clog your pores and result in breakouts. Some signs you may have oily skin include:

Like rosacea, you can help manage your oily skin with the proper skincare routine. Here are some tips that may aid you in reducing the symptoms of oily skin:⁸

  • Use a gentle, oil-free face wash: Washing with a cleanser twice daily may help clear your face of excess oil.  

  • Avoid pore-clogging products: Check the labels for products labeled as non-comedogenic. Products with comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients like these can contribute to oil build-up and acne. 

  • Use water-based makeup. Like your cleanser, you may want to avoid makeup products that contain oil, as they may make your skin feel greasier and contribute to blocked pores. 

Curology can treat rosacea

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Curology was founded by dermatologists whose mission is to offer accessible dermatology services to all for skin concerns like rosacea, acne, and signs of aging. We help take the guesswork out of your skincare routine—licensed dermatology providers work with you to examine your skin, assess your skincare goals, and provide custom treatment options.

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Subject to consultation. 30-day trial. Just cover $4.95 in S&H.
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Becoming a member is easy. Just answer a few questions and snap a couple of selfies to help us get to know your skin. If Curology is right for you, one of our licensed dermatology providers will develop a personalized rosacea treatment with ingredients proven to treat the condition, like ivermectin, metronidazole, and azelaic acid. We’ll even cover your first month!* Just pay $4.95 (plus tax) to cover shipping and handling and your personalized Curology formula and other recommended products will arrive at your door. Sign up now

FAQs

Why am I suddenly getting rosacea?

Unfortunately, despite all the research, no one knows exactly why rosacea develops. What we do know is that the following may be factors that increase your likelihood of developing the condition:

  • Genetics: If a close family member has rosacea, you may be more likely to develop it yourself.⁹

  • Skin Mites: Tiny skin mites (Demodex) may contribute to rosacea, although more research is needed.

  • Age: Rosacea most often affects people with fair skin who are older than 30.

Does drinking water help rosacea?

While drinking water doesn't directly help improve symptoms of rosacea, staying hydrated is important overall because it helps keep your skin (and the rest of your body) healthy and happy. So keep that water bottle full!

Is rosacea a vitamin deficiency?

In short, no, rosacea isn’t related to a vitamin deficiency. Again, experts have yet to discover what causes it to develop, but some possible contributing factors include:

  • Genetics

  • Age

  • Mites on your skin (Demodex)

  • Abnormal immune response

Why is it important to check ingredients?

The following is a (non-exhaustive) list of ingredients you may want to avoid if you have rosacea:

  • Glycolic or lactic acid

  • Menthol

  • Fragrances

  • Alcohol

Though some ingredients may trigger your rosacea symptoms, others can help relieve them. Ingredients that can manage symptoms include azelaic acid, metronidazole, and ivermectin (all are accessible through Curology!):

Skincare ingredients aren’t the only possible triggers of rosacea. Other common triggers include:

  • Stress

  • Cold weather or humidity

  • Extreme wind

  • Intense workouts

  • Alcoholic beverages 

  • Spicy foods

What about oily skin?

Most commonly, oily skin occurs when your sebaceous glands produce excess sebum (aka oil). Sebum is important—it helps moisturize and protect your skin. But when it mixes with other substances on your face, like bacteria and dead skin cells, it can clog your pores and result in breakouts. Some signs you may have oily skin include:

Like rosacea, you can help manage your oily skin with the proper skincare routine. Here are some tips that may aid you in reducing the symptoms of oily skin:

  • Use a gentle, oil-free face wash

  • Avoid pore-clogging products

  • Use water-based makeup

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Gallo, R. L., et al.Standard classification and pathophysiology of rosacea: The 2017 update by the National Rosacea Society Expert Committee. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (2017, October 28).

  2. Huynh, T. T.Burden of disease: The psychosocial impact of rosacea on a patient’s quality of life. American Health and Drug Benefits. (2013, August).

  3. Dick, M. K., et al.Rhinophyma. National Library of Medicine. (2022, May 24).

  4. Thiboutot, D., et al. Standard management options for rosacea: The 2019 update by the National Rosacea Society Expert Committee. National Library of Medicine. (2020, February 7).

  5. American Academy of Dermatology Association.6 rosacea skincare tips dermatologists give their patients. American Academy of Dermatology Association. (n.d.).

  6. Diane Thiboutot MD, et al. Standard management options for rosacea: The 2019 update by the National Rosacea Society Expert Committee. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (2020, February 6). 

  7. National Rosacea Society.Factors That May Trigger Rosacea Flare-ups. (2022).

  8. American Academy of Dermatology.How to control oily skin. (n.d.)

  9. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Rosacea: Who Gets and Causes. (n.d.).

* Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Trial is 30 days. Results may vary.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Elise Griffin, Physician Assistant Curology

Elise Griffin, PA-C

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