Topical Rosacea Treatments
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What is the best sunscreen for rosacea?
For the update on superior sun protection for rosacea, see Your Skin's Best Protection.
A question from Susan L. in Ohio:
What is the best sunscreen for rosacea? I am newly diagnosed and have been told how important it is to protect my skin from daylight on a daily basis and want to make sure I don't fumble on this. There are just too many sunscreens available on the market and most I have tried irritate my skin or make my complexion white and pasty.
Thank you for contacting us with your question, it's great to hear from someone who is concerned about what is meant by optimal sunscreen use.
For rosacea patients to benefit from sunscreen use, they must be able to apply their sunscreen 365 days a year, irrespective of season or cloud coverage.
This is because the most detrimental of the sun's rays are "ultraviolet," meaning beyond violet, the last colour in the rainbow of visible light.
Ultraviolet light cannot be seen or felt as warmth.
For all intensive purposes, in the medium to long term, ultraviolet light is as much a risk factor for worsening rosacea symptoms in the bright of summer as the relative dark of winter. Remember that ultraviolet light penetrates glass.
If you don't wear sunscreen year-long, those seemingly brief episodes of exposure sitting by windows, traveling in a car and running daily errands actually add up to several sunburns each year.
Although the damage is incremental and not accompanied by visible burning or tanning, your skin registers (and doesn't forget or adequately repair) the damage.
When applied on top of an antioxidant such as Reprieve Serum Pure, sunscreen also protects against skin-degrading enzymes and free radicals which contribute to reduced facial volume and wrinkling.
Fundamental Sunscreen Choices
Ideally sunscreen should be free of preservatives as some have been shown to heighten the damage which exacerbates rosacea. Therefore if possible, avoid preservatives in your sunscreen (and skin care).
The Attend SPF 50+ sunscreen developed for rosacea is preservative-free.
There are a lot of sunscreens available on the market and everyone has different preferences.
As a general rule, sunscreens available in drug stores, chemists and supermarkets (if not zinc + titanium dioxide) tend to irritate the skin of rosacea patients sooner or later. If purchasing sunscreen from these outlets, I recommend paediatric sunscreens.
When shopping on the mass market (through chemists/drug stores, general stores and beauty therapists/day spas), aim for sunscreens containing both zinc and titanium oxide as the sunscreening agents. Please be aware that by using a purely physical block with a "clear" finish you will have relatively poor protection.
I would generally avoid sunscreens which contain more than approximately 15% zinc because they tend to be very difficult to remove, with the zinc usually suspended in beeswax or mineral oil.
When sunscreen is difficult to remove, you're likely to do some damage to your skin's barrier and provoke redness and irritation, or alternatively, you won't get the sunscreen off completely at the end of the day, hampering the absorption and efficacy of any topical rosacea medications or skin care you apply.
To ensure complete and soothing removal of sunscreen use Pre-Cleansing Emulsifier.
The Clinic has developed three non-whitening sunscreens to meet the specific needs of rosacea patients:
These sunscreens do not contain the preservatives which increase photodamage and encourage provoke rosacea symptoms.
For a guide to selection derived from clinical experience, see Protect: Rosacea Sunscreens.
Author: Peter Wilson.
Reviewed: Saturday, March 4, 2017.
Further Information: New — Attend SPF 50+ : De-Sensitizing Barrier Fluid SPF 50 : Silymarin Crystal Sheer Matte Tinted Daily Face Protectant SPF 50 : Oil-Free Antioxidant Daily Wear Sunscreen SPF 50 : Rosacea Complete Sunscreen Set : Video: Types of Daylight (Visible, Invisible) : Sunscreens and Coneflower (Echinacea) : Video: Concerning Ultraviolet Light : Sunscreen Use Protects Rosacea Patient Autonomy : General Recommendations for Sun Protection in Rosacea Patients : Invisible Daylight Exposure Produces Dry Skin in Rosacea : Flawed Sunscreen Use and Lost "Anti-Aging" Effects : Rosacea Sunscreen SPF Updated (April 2008) : Paraben Preservatives and Sun Damage : SPF 20 Rosacea Sunscreen Inquiry : What is the best sunscreen for rosacea? : UVA (Ultraviolet A) : SPF (Sun Protection Factor) for Rosacea : Antioxidant Sunscreens :