How to tell the difference between rosacea and acne?

It can be difficult, because the two skin conditions share many symptoms.

Knowing which you have, however, can help you choose the best treatment.

How to Tell the Difference Between Rosacea and Acne: Shared Symptoms

Acne and rosacea share similar symptoms. That’s why it can be difficult to tell which one you have.

Both conditions, for instance, can cause skin redness, bumps, and pustules on the nose and cheeks.

Both also tend to flare up in response to certain triggers, then fade for a while before flaring up again.

But as you look more carefully, you’ll see that there are significant differences between these two, including some key symptoms and who’s likely to get rosacea versus acne.

How to Tell the Difference Between Rosacea and Acne: What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes red, flushed, rough, or bumpy skin on the cheeks, nose, and forehead, and sometimes on the chin. It usually begins as redness and then can progress to small but visible dilated blood vessels. The redness may extend to the scalp, neck, chest, and upper back.

As the inflammation increases, bumps and pimples may occur and the eyes may get red or bloodshot. Rosacea can cause pimple-like breakouts without blackheads. In more advanced cases, the nose may become swollen with excess tissue.

People with rosacea usually describe their skin as sensitive, reacting to various triggers like harsh weather, heat, alcohol, spicy foods, strong emotions, and personal care products. This condition most often affects adults in their 30s or older and is more common in people with fairer skin types.

Body Repair Rosacea

How to Tell the Difference Between Rosacea and Acne: What is Acne?

Acne vulgaris is a common skin problem where the hair follicles become clogged with dead skin and oils resulting in inflammation. Like rosacea, acne causes redness, but that redness is usually isolated to the pimple or lump in the skin, rather than spreading throughout an area of the skin.

And like rosacea, acne can appear on the face, but it can also show up on the chest, back, shoulders, and buttocks. Acne creates whiteheads and blackheads, bumps or pimples, hard lumps, and swelling. It most often affects teenagers, but it can also affect adults.

How to Tell the Difference Between Rosacea and Acne: What Causes These Conditions?

The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, but scientists believe it has something to do with how your body regulates the temperature of your skin. There is also some research suggesting that rosacea may be linked to a malfunctioning immune system.

Acne can be caused by a multitude of factors, including stress, diet, and hormone imbalances during puberty and menstruation that cause the skin to produce too much oil (sebum). It can also come about after using certain skin care products that clog pores or exacerbate inflammation.

Both conditions are typically triggered by stress. When you’re stressed out, your nervous system can cause you to sweat and experience facial flushing that can trigger a rosacea flare-up. Stress also increases the body’s production of cortisol, a stress hormone that can cause the body to release more oil into the skin, resulting in an acne breakout.

How to Tell the Difference Between Rosacea and Acne: Differences in Symptoms

Let’s take a quick look at how these two conditions are different in what symptoms they may cause:

Rosacea Acne
Pimple-like breakouts in some cases will include only whiteheads Whiteheads, pimples, and sometimes painful cysts or nodules
No blackheads Blackheads
Skin warmness No sense of warmth
Itchiness and flushing Pimples may itch, but no flushing
Eye irritation No effect on the eyes
Affects the cheeks, nose, forehead Affects the face and possibly the neck/jawline, shoulders, back, chest
Inflammation affects a larger area and comes and goes Inflammation occurs only around the pimples
Redness covers a larger area like the cheeks or nose Redness and pain only around the pustules
No excess oil in the skin Oily skin, particularly in the T-zone area
Large pores Large, visible pores
Visible blood vessels No effect on blood vessels
Sensitive skin—may react to skin care products or makeup with stinging or burning Sometimes sensitive, but more likely to react with breakouts

Can You Have Both Rosacea and Acne?

It is possible to have both conditions at the same time, but it’s not common. If you’re an adult with rosacea, however, you may have periods of acne breakouts as well if you have adult acne.

Particularly if you’re going through a stressful period, you may notice that you suffer from acne breakouts along with your rosacea flare-ups.Calming Moisture Rosacea

How to Tell the Difference Between Rosacea and Acne: Treatment for Each

Once you know whether you have rosacea or acne (or both!), you can tailor your treatment to achieve the best results.

Some Tips on How to Treat Rosacea

  • Avoid harsh and drying soaps. Wash with gentle cleansers that are fragrance-free and made without sulfates, drying alcohols, phthalates, or other toxic ingredients.
  • Wash gently with lukewarm water. Avoid harsh scrubbing.
  • Use our Rescue + Relief Spray as a toner and mid-day spritz. It helps calm, soothe and reduce redness.
  • Moisturize every day with a nourishing, fragrance-free formula. We suggest our Calming Moisture for Face, Neck & Scalp. It instantly soothes and hydrates flushed skin, with oat extract to reduce redness and itch.
  • Choose a safe, non-chemical sunscreen like zinc oxide and use it every day.
  • Avoid typical dietary triggers like hot beverages, spicy foods, alcohol, and large, hot meals.
  • Practice regular relaxation and stress relief through exercise, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing. These may help reduce flushing.
  • Ask your dermatologist about topical or oral antibiotics as they may be helpful.

Some Tips on How to Treat Acne

  • Practice a daily stress-relieving activity.
  • Eat a healthy diet and try to limit refined sugar and high glycemic foods.
  • Take steps to the excess oil in your T-zone. Use a cleanser that is made for oily skin—a foam or gel cleanser is best. If your cheeks are usually dry, use the oily skin cleanser only in the T-zone, and stick with your creamier cleanser for your cheeks and other dry areas.
  • Use a clay mask 1-2 times a week in those oily areas to help soak up the excess oil.
  • Use skin care with anti-inflammatory ingredients. Start with Rescue + Relief as your toner, then follow with our Calming Moisture. Both have our exclusive Tri-Rescue Complex, a powerful anti-inflammatory, plus other calming ingredients like aloe, comfrey, and sunflower oil.
  • Avoid using skin care with pore-clogging ingredients like coconut oil, cocoa butter, palm oil, alcohol and stearates, and stearic acid.

Can you tell whether you have rosacea or acne?

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What are your rosacea triggers?

It can be hard to tell sometimes. You’re going about your day and everything is fine, and suddenly your skin is flushing.

Everybody is unique, and you may have some triggers that another person with rosacea wouldn’t have. But several common triggers seem to affect most people with rosacea. Avoiding these may help you reduce your flare-ups.

Rosacea Triggers 1: Sunlight

According to a national survey of more than 1,000 rosacea sufferers, sun exposure was the most common trigger for symptoms. Just a few minutes of sunlight on vulnerable skin can lead to flushing and redness.

Solutions: Your best approach is to protect your skin from the sun as much as you can. Clothes are your best option. Choose long-sleeved shirts and pants, hats, and sunglasses. Umbrellas can also come in handy. Use a safe sunscreen (like zinc oxide) with an SPF of 30 or higher, and stay out of the sun at the most intense times of day, between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

2: Stress

Stress is another common rosacea trigger. It increases inflammation inside the body, which can then contribute to changes in the skin that encourage flushing. Long-term stress can also contribute to more severe flares.

Solution: Practice regular stress management. That means doing something every day that helps you relax. Good options include exercise, deep breathing, meditation, yoga or tai chi, art therapy, spending time with a pet, and talking things over with a friend.

Hot WeatherRosacea Triggers 3: Hot Weather

Hot weather and humidity can both trigger rosacea and lead to a flare-up, which can make summertime particularly difficult.

Solutions: Do what you can to stay cool. Keep cold water with you throughout the day to sip. Wear light clothing and stay in the shade if you can. Eat cooling foods like watermelon and berries, and carry a cool spritz bottle with you so you can spray your skin when needed.

We suggest using our Rescue + Relief Spray as your cooling spritz. It has aloe, chamomile, water lily, and other calming ingredients that help tame inflammation while wicking away heat. It works particularly well if you store it in the refrigerator or a cooler.

4: Heavy Exercise

Speaking of heat, exercise is another common trigger for those with rosacea. Exercise is great for your overall health and can help reduce stress, but it also tends to get you hot and sweaty.

Solutions: Don’t stop exercising! Instead, look for ways to keep cool. Dress in layers so you can remove clothing when you need to. Keep a cold, wet cloth nearby that you can drape around your neck when you start getting hot. Sip a cold drink, and place a fan nearby to help you cool down.

It may be best to limit your exercise to indoor spaces during the hot summer months or try exercising at night as long as you know you will be safe.

Restorative Skin Balm RosaceaRosacea Triggers 5: Wind

Wind can be a big trigger for rosacea. The cold winter wind is particularly harsh. And if your skin is moist and you get windburn, that can cause even worse problems.

Solutions: Again, protect yourself with clothing. Use hats, scarves, high-necked shirts, facemasks, and more to keep your skin protected from the wind.

Then add a protective skin care product like our Restorative Skin Balm. It helps create a barrier to protect against harsh weather elements while encouraging skin to regenerate and heal.

Apply to the affected areas before going out.

6: Alcohol

Alcohol can not only trigger rosacea, but it may also increase your risk of developing it if you don’t have it already. Drinking alcohol seems to increase the production of inflammatory cells, which can lead to the widening of blood vessels and voila, flare-up.

Solutions: Drink slowly to measure your tolerance. Some people may be triggered after just one drink, but another may require two or more. Then track the effects of different types of alcohol.

You may be fine drinking beer, for instance, but unable to tolerate wine or champagne. It may also help to drink slowly, with little sips, dilute your drink with more ice, and alternate drinks with a glass of water.

Rosacea Triggers 7: Hot Baths

Oh, how disappointing. You were so relaxed in that warm tub, and then the redness started crawling up your arms.

Again, the heat is the problem. It widens blood vessels and can bring on flushing.

Solutions: Add some crushed oatmeal to your bath. It has anti-itch properties that may help prevent flushing. Then keep your water comfortable, but at a moderate temperature, and sip on a cool lemonade or similar drink while soaking.

8: Foods

Several foods have a reputation for triggering rosacea symptoms. Most are hot and spicy, like peppers, hot sauce, and Thai food. But you may also find that some dairy products trigger your symptoms, or certain foods with histamines in them like tomatoes, citrus fruit, legumes, chocolate, and nuts.

Solutions: Keep a diary for two weeks where you record everything you eat and any symptoms you have. Try to zero in on any foods that may lead to symptoms, then avoid those foods, or eat less of them.

Rosacea Triggers 9: Medications

This is a less common trigger, but it may affect about 15 percent of rosacea sufferers. Common culprits include topical steroids, some blood pressure drugs, and some opiate painkillers.

Solutions: Don’t stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor first. But if you suspect a new medication may be causing your symptoms, ask about trying an alternative.

10: Skin Care and Cosmetic Products

It may surprise you to learn that in the survey mentioned above, 41 percent of respondents said their flare-ups were triggered by skincare products and cosmetics.

Solutions: Surveys have identified some skincare ingredients that may lead to rosacea symptoms in those with the disorder. These include fragrances, camphor, lactic acid, menthol, peppermint oil, sodium laurel sulfate, witch hazel, propylene glycol, tretinoin, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, hydroquinone, chemical sunscreens (like oxybenzone), and any kind of bar soap.

Seek out gentle and natural skincare and cosmetic products, and avoid those with harsh ingredients like those listed above that may cause flare-ups. You can buy with peace of mind at CV Skinlabs. All of our formulas are free of the above-named ingredients, and they include anti-inflammatories and heat-removing ingredients.

Since we developed these products with our sensitive skin customers in mind, we also targeted them for skin concerns like rosacea. They’re fragrance-free and contain moisturizing ingredients and emollients like plant oils and bega-glucan (from oats) to help reduce redness and itch. What’s more, they’re clinically proven to reduce redness, irritation, and inflammation.

Taking care of your skin with calming products like those at CV Skinlabs can also repair the outer barrier, making your skin more resistant to rosacea triggers.

What are your most common rosacea triggers?

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Rosacea vs. Eczema: What’s the Difference?


Rosacea vs. eczema: do you know the difference?

It can be confusing. The two skin conditions do have some things in common, but they have differences too.

Whatever the case, if you’re suffering from one or the other—or even both—it can help to know more about them. Then you can target your skincare treatments to help ease your symptoms and enjoy healthier younger-looking skin.

Rosacea vs. Eczema: Are They the Same?

First, let’s talk about what these two conditions have in common.

Both cause similar symptoms, like itchy, red skin, bumps, rashes, dryness, and irritation. These symptoms may come and go, flaring up sometimes and then fading away at other times.

Both conditions are chronic as well. That means that they are long-lasting. You may experience the symptoms again and again for years or even throughout your life.

Because of these similarities, it can sometimes be difficult to determine if you’re suffering from one or the other. But there are clear differences between them.

Rosacea vs. Eczema: What are the Differences?

Let’s look at each of these conditions separately to see the differences.

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that mainly targets the face. It starts with a tendency to blush or flush easily. Then the redness may slowly spread beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin. Sometimes, even the ears, chest, and back may be affected.

In addition to the redness, rosacea can also cause the blood vessels in the face to appear more visible, and can sometimes be mistaken for acne. The red skin may feel hot and tender, and over time, the nose may become enlarged.

For the most part, the redness comes and goes with flare-ups, but over time, it can become permanent, particularly in the center of the face.

What is Eczema?

Eczema is another chronic skin condition that makes the skin red and itchy. As opposed to rosacea, which is mostly about redness and swelling, eczema is about dryness and itching. The symptoms vary from person to person but may include dry skin, itching (sometimes severe), red to brownish-gray patches on the skin, bumpy skin that may leak fluid, and thick or scaly skin.

Whereas rosacea mainly targets the face, eczema can appear in different areas of the body at different times. It can affect the cheeks and scalp, particularly in young children, but it can also show up in the creases of the elbows and knees, wrists, neck, ankles, and the crease between the buttocks and legs.

Eczema also comes and goes in flare-ups.

Rosacea vs. Eczema: What Causes Them?

Scientists aren’t sure what causes rosacea, but they believe it could be related to an overactive immune system and may share similarities with autoimmune diseases. (See our post, “Is Rosacea an Autoimmune Disease?”)

Environmental factors and heredity also likely play a role. In most cases, it’s probably a combination of factors that cause people to develop rosacea.

Rosacea flare-ups may be triggered by a variety of things, including hot drinks, spicy foods, temperature extremes, sun and wind, stress, exercise, and even some skincare products.

Eczema—also called atopic dermatitis—is also believed to be caused by a combination of factors. These include allergies, genetics, and environmental factors.

Eczema flare-ups may be triggered by dry skin, irritants (like detergents, fabrics, and chemicals), stress, and allergens.

Rosacea RiskRosacea vs. Eczema: Who’s At Risk?

Rosacea seems to be more common in people of European descent, particularly those who have skin that burns easily in the sun. It is also more likely in adults, typically seen in men and women after thirty, though women are diagnosed with it more often. Men often experience more severe cases and are more often affected by a type of rosacea that attacks the nose.

If you have a family history of rosacea, or if you smoke, you are at a higher risk of developing it.

Eczema often starts in early childhood, though it can develop at any age. It’s thought to be mostly an inherited condition, associated with asthma or hay fever. Those with a family history of the condition, or who suffer from these types of allergies, may be more at risk.

A 2017 study found that some people with eczema have a deficiency in a protein called “filaggrin,” which helps keep moisture in the skin while keeping bacteria out.

Restorative Skin EczemaRosacea vs. Eczema: How to Treat Them?

So far, doctors can’t cure either of these conditions. But we can work on controlling the symptoms. Both require gentle, nourishing skincare treatment.

First, check with your dermatologist. An official diagnosis can give you a clearer understanding of what your skin is going through, and can help you create an effective treatment plan.

There are medications available to treat both conditions. These include creams, ointments, and gels. They help reduce flushing and constrict blood vessels in rosacea, and help control itching and repair the skin in eczema.

There are also oral drugs that may help. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics or acne drugs for more severe cases of rosacea that cause acne-like breakouts. They may also prescribe oral drugs to control inflammation in both conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a new injectable drug (called Dupixent) that can help treat severe cases of eczema.

If the blood vessels are enlarged and visible, laser therapy can help them appear less visible. There are some potential side effects, like swelling and bruising, but usually, these go away within a few days. Talk to your dermatologist about the benefits and risks.

Rosacea vs. Eczema: How to Manage Them?

There are several self-care practices you can use to help control your symptoms and reduce your flare-ups of both of these conditions.

Identify and Avoid Triggers

Find out what causes your flare-ups and work to avoid those triggers.

Protect Your Skin

Apply sunscreen daily and always protect your skin from damaging UV rays. If you have rosacea, this is especially important, as the sun can trigger a flare-up. Those with eczema, however, may benefit from short periods of unprotected sun exposure.

Moisturize Well!

Both of these conditions lead to dry, irritated skin that needs moisture. Use a product with natural and non-toxic ingredients that helps drive moisture deep into the skin where it can help with symptoms. We recommend our Calming Moisture and Body Repair Lotion, as they both contain anti-itch, hydrating ingredients.

Treat Rough Areas

If you have rough areas of skin that are cracked, dry, and flaky, give them some extra TLC. We recommend our Restorative Skin Balm, the all-natural healing bond and steroid-free ointment. It provides a seal of moisture over the rough area and can help soften and soothe the skin. Great for using overnight!

Be Gentle

If you have either of these skin conditions, your skin naturally qualifies as sensitive skin. That means it’s important not to rub or touch your face too much, and to use gentle, natural products. Your cleanser is especially important—make sure it does not contain sulfates and has some moisturizing properties.

Try Natural Ingredients

Aloe vera, calendula, sunflower oil, and other natural skin care products contain a lot of natural anti-inflammatory and protective compounds. (See our post, “12 Natural Solutions for Eczema.”)

Control the Itch

It’s not a good idea to scratch when your skin itches, as that can lead to open sores, infection, and scarring. Control the itch with our CV Skinlabs products, and with cold compresses, oatmeal baths, apple cider vinegar, and soft, gentle clothing fabrics. Our Rescue + Relief Spray has special anti-inflammatory ingredients that can be particularly soothing if you store it in the refrigerator.

Use a Humidifier

If you live in a dry climate, your skin is likely to feel worse. Use a humidifier in your bedroom at night to help keep your skin hydrated and less likely to itch.

How do you tell the difference between rosacea and eczema?

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Is Rosacea an Autoimmune Disease?


You may have seen the headlines online or on social media: Is rosacea an autoimmune disease?

The simple answer is, we don’t know yet. There have been some studies over the past few years, though, that have suggested there may be a link.

If you have rosacea, this is something you should know. After all, treating any autoimmune condition you may have could make a difference in your skin, too.

What Is an Autoimmune Disease?

An autoimmune disease is caused by a malfunctioning immune system. In most cases, the immune cells mistakenly attack the body’s own healthy cells, causing inflammation and damage.

Usually, immune cells protect us from invaders like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The immune system produces antibodies against these invaders that enable it to destroy them when they enter the body. This helps keep us from getting sick.

When you have an autoimmune disorder, the immune system cannot tell the difference between healthy tissues and potentially harmful invaders. So it attacks healthy parts of the body, thinking it’s doing its job when in reality, it’s harming you.

What part of the body the immune system attacks depends on the type of autoimmune disease at play. Areas usually affected include:

  • Blood vessels
  • Connective tissues
  • Endocrine glands like the thyroid or pancreas
  • Joints
  • Muscles
  • Red blood cells
  • Skin

Scientists don’t yet know what causes autoimmune disorders. Some examples include celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, Graves disease, and Hashimoto thyroiditis.

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a common skin condition that creates redness and visible blood vessels in the face, and sometimes also produces red pus-filled bumps. Typically, the symptoms flare up at certain times, last for weeks to months, then go away for a while.

So far, scientists don’t know what causes rosacea. They believe it comes from a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. They also know that women with light skin are typically more at risk for it, as are those with a family history of rosacea.

Beyond that, the condition has been puzzling. Recently, though, some studies have suggested that rosacea may be linked to a malfunctioning immune system.

Rosacea scientistsIs Rosacea an Autoimmune Disease? What the Studies Say

In April 2016, Dermatology Times posted an article entitled, “More evidence of rosacea, autoimmune link.”

In that article, the author presented evidence supporting the idea that rosacea may be related to an immune malfunction.

For one, it seems that female rosacea patients have higher rates of autoimmune disorders including type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. In male patients, the connection wasn’t as strong, though there is some evidence of a connection between rosacea and rheumatoid arthritis.

This, from a recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology involving over 6,700 patients with rosacea.

As for why the gender gap, researchers noted that rosacea itself is more frequent in women and that women are also more at risk for autoimmune diseases in general. It may have something to do with female hormones and sex chromosome abnormalities.

Is Rosacea an Autoimmune Disease? The Evidence is Limited So Far

Other studies have also hinted at an association between these two conditions.

In one, scientists studied genes and found shared genetic markers in people with type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. Research has also found that rosacea, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis may be linked genetically.

We already know that rosacea involves an immune reaction. It’s the immune system, after all, that causes the inflammation. In a 2012 study, researchers noted that those with rosacea-prone skin have an abnormal immune response system that seems to overreact to various triggers in the environment.

This exaggerated immune response is what creates the inflammation, the redness, the irritation, and all the rest.

So the implications are there, but so far, we don’t have enough evidence to say for sure that rosacea is an autoimmune disease. Researchers are still looking into it.

Is Rosacea an Autoimmune Disease—Why Does it Matter?

The more we can discover about rosacea, the better we should be able to treat it. That is the goal of the research, and why some dermatologists are now suggesting that physicians ask their patients if they’ve experienced symptoms of other autoimmune diseases.

In an editorial published alongside the 2016 study mentioned above, Dr. Graeme Lipper, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Vermont Medical College, wrote:

“It would be easy to screen patients with rosacea (especially women) for potential autoimmune comorbidities by asking a few simple, targeted questions: ‘Do you get numbness and tingling or weakness in your hands? Gastrointestinal upset or diarrhea when you eat wheat or other sources of gluten? How about joint pain and stiffness?’”

This could be helpful because if, indeed, you have rosacea and you have symptoms of autoimmune disease, addressing those symptoms and potentially treating that autoimmune condition could potentially help your skin improve, too.

Calming Moisture RosaceaIs Rosacea an Autoimmune Disease…or Not?

All this is very interesting—but what if you don’t have symptoms of an autoimmune disorder?

Indeed, many people don’t, and they may be disappointed about that. If you could address the disease, after all, that could give you hope that you could fix the rosacea too. If that’s not the case, you’re still stuck with these irritating and difficult symptoms.

It can be frustrating, for sure. We hope to help by offering a few tips below.

Keep Your Mental Health in Mind

Whether rosacea is connected to an autoimmune condition is still uncertain—but we do know that depression is one of the most common comorbidities associated with rosacea, followed closely by anxiety and after that, stress.

If you suffer from any of these, make sure you’re getting the treatment you need. Then practice a stress-relieving, relaxing activity every day. Good options include journaling, meditating, exercising, and spending time with positive people.

Watch Your Cardiovascular Health

Several cardiovascular-related conditions have been associated with rosacea, particularly high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Get tested so you know your numbers, and take steps to keep your heart healthy, as it may help keep your skin healthy too.

Ask Your Dermatologist

There are some FDA-approved treatments for rosacea that your dermatologist may be able to prescribe. They’ve been shown to improve the symptoms of rosacea.

Practice Preventive Skincare

The more you can take care of your skin, the more resistant it should be to rosacea flare-ups.

  • Always protect your skin from the sun.
  • Use only gentle, non-toxic skincare products. Avoid those with harsh ingredients like menthol, camphor, sulfates, petrolatum, and fragrances. Our Calming Moisture is perfect for those with rosacea, as it has ingredients that help ease inflammation and fade redness.
  • Avoid overheating. That means staying away from spicy foods if they trigger your symptoms, and opting for cool or cold beverages over hot ones.
  • Alcohol can be a trigger for some people—watch how it affects you and decide.
  • Use rosacea-friendly makeup. Avoid waterproof items, heavy foundations, products with synthetic fragrance, and talc-based products.

Have you found a connection between your rosacea and an autoimmune disease?

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