A Patient's Guide to Rosacea
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Rosacea Self Care:

Rosacea Skin Care: Sunscreens

Sunscreens are considered to be the most important anti-aging cosmetic by most dermatologists. Sun damage is the biggest environmental factor in skin aging, and in most skin conditions that dermatologists see. For those with rosacea, using sunscreens is absolutely crucial in controlling their condition effectively. Sun exposure is one of the most common triggers that cause flare-ups: A sudden worsening of the rosacea symptoms. Sunscreens are one of the most important and convenient ways to protect from sun exposure.

  • UVA penetrates deep into the skin, and is thought to aggravate broken blood vessels
  • Increased redness is one of the most common reactions to sun exposure
  • Reactions can be caused by the heat from the sun as well as the UV

Broad Spectrum:

Broad spectrum protection is an absolutely essential feature to look out for in a sunscreen. Broad spectrum means that the sunscreen offers protection from both UVA and UVB. Remember that SPF only measures the amount of protection from UVB light, and not UVA money. Protection from UVA is important because it is the spectrum of light that causes long term skin aging, and is responsible for causing certain skin cancers. It can also trigger rosacea flares.


SPF or sun protection factor is a measurement of the amount of protection from UVB light that the sunscreen provides. Look for products with an SPF rating of 30 or higher. Generally SPF 15 provides adequate coverage, but for those with rosacea, extra protection is appropriate for those with rosacea. At SPF 30, the sunscreen shuts out 97% of UVB light. After this, SPF has sharp diminishing returns after SPF 30.

Physical and Chemical Sunscreens:

It's not a well known distinction, but sunscreens are broadly divided into physical sunscreens and chemical sunscreens. They describe the way that the sunscreens work: Chemical sunscreens cause a reaction in the skin that produces heat in the process of providing protection. We recommend physical sunscreens as they do not produce heat in the process, which can aggravate rosacea symptoms. Look for titanium oxide or zinc oxide in the ingredients of the sunscreen.