Struggling with a rosy complexion? You aren't alone. I have rosacea and spoke to four other skin experts to discover how they manage the condition. Plus, the tried-and-tested products and treatments they use to tackle redness

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I have the sort of complexion that makes me look like I've committed an incredibly embarrassing social faux pas, but unfortunately, it's 24/7. 

I have rosacea – a chronic skin condition, characterised by redness and flushing.

It’s actually more common than you think.

One in ten of us reportedly has some degree of rosacea - although, for many, it’s low-level and not particularly noticeable. Key symptoms include red flushes, dilated veins, and an uncomfortably hot and prickly face, which is why (despite being a daily SPF wearer) I've also been asked if I've badly sunburnt my skin. At its worse, it can cause upsetting and sore acne-like bumps too.

Frustratingly, rosacea isn’t a well-understood condition, but it’s generally agreed that our genes and environmental factors, such as stress and diet, play their part. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, my twin has it as well). It’s also exacerbated by age, with women over 40 particularly prone to it.

More irritating still, rosacea isn’t curable. However, you can minimise its effect, by adopting good habits and strategies – none of them particularly complicated, nor necessarily expensive, promise. 

How I learnt to tackle my rosacea 

“My rosacea is now much more under control, but there was a time I wouldn't leave the house without full makeup - I was so self-conscious about my sunburn-like flush. At its worst, I really struggled with the red, angry papules, and broken capillaries, which I hated. So much so, I don't think I have a single photo of my skin without a thick layer of foundation from my late teens.

However, looking back, I wasn’t helping matters. I'd try any new product that I could get my hands on, inevitably causing a flare-up. Then I'd use just as many products trying to fix it. Luckily, deep-diving into skincare ingredients as part of my cosmetic science qualifications helped me realise that sensitive skin-safe skincare doesn’t have to be boring or restrictive. However, it should form part of a routine!”

My top tips for tackling rosacea

"Medication from my doctor helped clear the papules, but the true breakthrough was reframing my approach to my skincare regime. I think there’s a big misconception that rosacea-safe skincare can only focus on redness – which feels frustratingly limiting when we all have other skin goals too. While some exfoliating acids and retinoids are likely to cause too much irritation, there are brilliant formulas that treat things like fine lines and dark spots, while also being kind to rosacea-prone skin. Skinbetter Science (which is available via Get Harley) and Meder are two standout brands."

Here’s how four other beauty experts look after rosacea-prone skin and the best products for rosacea we recommend for keeping your complexion in check.

The makeup artist: Rose Gallagher

“I’ve been rosy for as long as I can remember,  but the issues with my skin's texture got worse when I moved to London in 2018. That’s when I was diagnosed," recalls makeup artist and beauty content creator, Rose Gallagher. “Stress is a real trigger for me, and my emotional well-being (or lack thereof!) can quite literally be written all over my face. Certain foods can have an impact, and sugary things will often bring out a flare-up. Temperature is also something my skin is very sensitive to. However, sometimes, it flares up with no rhyme or reason. I can have a weekend of partying and have completely clear skin, and then the weeks that I’ve exercised, eaten well, and slept like a baby, I have the battle of Hastings on my face!"

Rose's top tips for tackling rosacea

“The dermatologist Dr Emma Wedgeworth helped overhaul my skincare routine," reveals Gallagher. "Originally, it was filled with harsh exfoliants to try and smooth the texture. Now I know that they were simply hammering my already-compromised skin barrier. Once I kept things super simple - cream cleanser, rich moisturiser, daily SPF - I saw a big reduction in redness. The French pharmacy brands, such as La Roche Posay, are go-tos. A good tip is to check out their barrier repair franchises – quite often, I see better results from them than from anti-redness products.

“My next revelation, having tried metronidazole [an antibiotic] initially as my prescription cream, was introducing azelaic acid instead. This is the single most effective ingredient I’ve found in managing my skin. It drastically reduces my red texture and is the key to calming down a bad flare-up."

The beauty journalist: Lucy Partington

“My rosacea definitely isn’t as severe as some types although I flush quite easily, especially during facials, and I have certain triggers (mostly wine and champagne)," says the beauty journalist and influencer Lucy Partington. "I’ve always had it, but for ages, I just thought I had rosy cheeks – people would forever comment on them when I was growing up. Then, when I started working in beauty, a few people mentioned I might have rosacea. It was consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk who finally diagnosed it in around 2018."

Lucy's top tips for tackling rosacea 

“The visit to Dr Justine opened my eyes. Before that, I was half-heartedly using anti-redness serums which didn’t do a lot," reveals Partington. "She prescribed me Skinoren (a 20% azelaic acid cream) that made a world of difference; I buy it online from The Independent Pharmacy. I’ve switched from AHAs to PHAs (polyhydroxy acids) too, because they’re much gentler and don’t trigger my skin as much. 

“I’ve also been having regular laser facials at the D Thomas Clinic - I’ve seen such a big improvement after seven or eight sessions. Laser therapist Debbie Thomas uses IPL with yellow filters and the Fotona SP Dynamis laser to zap dilated veins, calm redness, and inflammation, and destroy the parasites that are thought to set off rosacea.”

The gut and emotional health doctor: Dr Radka Toms

“When my mum died young, I vowed to become a doctor to help others – and worked so hard to achieve my goals that I ended up physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted,” reveals the functional medicine specialist and founder of, Dr Radka Toms. “My metabolic and gut health collapsed, and, in my thirties, my face exploded with rosacea - the serious kind, with angry veins and pustules disfiguring my face. For about two years, I could not look in the mirror and went down a negative spiral, with my self-confidence taking a bad hit.”

Dr Radka’s lifestyle solutions for rosacea

“Around 2012 I learned about functional medicine and realised there must be a way to heal myself, without just subduing my symptoms with medication," explains Dr Toms. "I switched to an anti-inflammatory and gut-optimising diet. I cut out all refined sugar (including refined carbs and alcohol), limited my dairy intake, and piled my plate with a rainbow of vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and pulses full of healing polyphenols and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

“To optimise my digestion and to create balance overall, I started practicing daily yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques, and I do intermittent fasting too. Hot and cold therapy – think ice baths – is great, as it strengthens the system and the body’s ability to heal. Gradually, my rosacea disappeared.”

The dermatologist: Dr Justine Hextall

“When treating my rosacea patients, I take a very careful history and look at common triggers: gut issues, stress levels, history of antibiotic use, and day-to-day skincare,” says the consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall. “Depending on the presentation of rosacea I will vary my prescription medications, but I almost never prescribe antibiotics. What I frequently do is start the patient on probiotic supplements and encourage a prebiotic diet to feed a healthy gut. I work with an amazing therapist who helps to support individuals with stress and other mental health issues, which can be a trigger.”

Dr Justine's top tips for treating rosacea 

"It is not uncommon to see rosacea mistaken for acne but topical acne treatments will usually exacerbate rosacea," says Dr Hextall. “The right skincare for rosacea must hydrate and soothe the skin and help to build a more robust skin barrier. Ingredients to look for include azelaic acid to reduce inflammation, and niacinamide, which is anti-inflammatory and reduces post-flare skin marks. Ceramides help seal in hydration, making the skin robust and less prone to sensitivity, while humectants such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin draw moisture to the skin - perfect for rosacea-prone skin.” 

As for treatments, “LED light therapy will calm and strengthen skin over time,” concludes Dr Hextall. “Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and vascular lasers [those with wavelengths attracted to redness] will tackle spider veins and reduce persistent redness. Mesotherapy and skin boosters [such as Profhilo] increase hyaluronic acid in the skin to help support hydration too.”

Our experts’ favourite products for treating rosacea

The gentle cleanser: Cerave Hydrating Cleanser, £12.50

You should avoid irritating your skin at all costs with rosacea, which means never scrubbing away at your face with harsh cleansers. Dr Justine (and half of social media) recommends this Cerave hydrating cleanser as it's so gentle. 


Both Gallagher and Partington say that starting to use azelaic acid was a revelation for their rosacea. It's a skincare ingredient known for helping reduce red texture by tackling inflammation. This affordable serum from The Inkey List means you don't have to break the bank to see results.


The trusted SPF: Heliocare Mineral Tolerance Fluid, £31

Sun exposure can make rosacea flares more common, as the sun's UV rays cause inflammation in your skin. (Plus, you'll look even more flushed if you burn). That means you need a high-factor, broad-spectrum SPF. Heliocare's award-winning formula is 100% mineral meaning it's kind to sensitive complexions.


A compromised skin barrier exacerbates sensitivities, so your rosacea-tackling routine should contain a hydrating serum to draw moisture into your skin. This one from La Roche Posay contains 10% soothing panthenol (vitamin B5), which is intensely hydrating and has been shown in studies to support the skin barrier and reduce moisture loss.


The protective balm: Skinceuticals Epidermal Repair, £80

If you struggle with post-shower flare-ups, firstly, you may want to turn your water temperature down a degree or two. But, if you are still struggling, Gallagher and Dr Hextall recommend this simple trick; apply a thick layer of barrier-boosting moisturiser before you shower. This will lock moisture into your skin and form a protective film against your potentially skin-irritating shampoo. 


The accessible prescription product: Skin&Me Daily Doser, from £29.99

Getting an appointment with a dermatologist can be incredibly helpful if you suspect you have rosacea but we know that it can be costly and time-consuming. Online services such as Skin&Me offer a more accessible solution, whereby you can get tailored prescription formulas for your rosacea through digital-based consultations. 


The rosacea-safe wrinkle reducer: Skinbetter Science AlphaRet, available from Get Harley

If you thought you couldn't use retinoids when you have rosacea, think again. With the right formula, you can. This clever cream is recommended by multiple dermatologists for targeting fine lines and uneven tone, without causing a flare-up. You will want to start using it very slowly, but it proves rosacea doesn't have to limit your other skin goals.


The redness-reducing cover up: IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream SPF50+, £36.50

Open the makeup bags of many skin experts with rosacea and you're likely to find this CC cream inside. It's so loved because it gives you the coverage you need when your skin is particularly red, but leaves you with a natural-looking glow base that doesn't sit on your skin like a mask.