Having a rosacea skin type does not mean you have rosacea, just that you have features of it, like sensitivity to ingredients and lots of redness! It may be caused by acne or too much sun and cold exposure or idiopathic reasons (doctor speak for "we don't know). You can have dry or oily skin with the rosacea skin type, and each requires a different type of product to help.
The key to treating this skin type is to reduce irritation and redness by using lots of anti-inflammatory ingredients. Ideally we could reduce those little blood vessels, neutralize free-radicals, and decrease the immune response that causes the inflammation...but those are really hard for the home crafter. And we want to prevent further damage by including occlusive ingredients in our products. So let's take a look at what we can use to help rosacea type skin.
Neutralizing free radicals is simple-ish. We can add oil soluble anti-oxidants to anhydrous things (like Vitamin E), or water soluble anti-oxidants to everything else. To get the Vitamin E, add it in or use an oil high in Vitamin E. For the water soluble anti-oxidants, there are tons of various extracts that will help us add anti-oxidizing and free radical scavenging properties to our products. (I would write a list of these things here, but it would take about 2 pages! Most of our oils and extracts contain anti-oxidants.)
Reducing inflammation is also simple-ish. We want to use lots of anti-inflammatory ingredients, which can include extracts, hydrosols, oils, butters, and other ingredients. Here are a few suggestions for anti-inflammatory ingredients suitable for dry or oily rosacea type skin...
- aloe vera
- cucumber extract
- salicylic acid
- chamomile (hydrosol and extract)
- collodial oatmeal
- witch hazel
- zinc oxide (great for adding to mineral make up products!)
For the oily skin type, we can't really use oils containing lots of ß-sitosterol, so we must turn to water based ingredients to find our anti-inflammatory, soothing, and moisturizing qualities. Consider using aloe vera or hydrolyzed proteins for the film forming properties of the polysaccharides, and use allantoin to act as a barrier from further damage.
Those of you with a dry skin type want to use moisturizing oils and butters, so choose those with lots of linoleic acid or GLA, ß-sitosterols, and other anti-inflammatory properties. Any of the butters will help here, and consider using these oils, all of which are high in phytosterols (to reduce inflammation) and Vitamin E (anti-oxidant).
As a note, I know olive oil doesn't contain a ton of linoleic acid or GLA, but it has great phytosterols and squalane, which is fantastic for dry skin. Use this in combination with another great oil if you are a particularly dry skinned person!
We can prevent further damage by using occlusive ingredients to prevent further sun or wind damage. Those of you with dry skin can use any of the three approved barrier ingredients - cocoa butter, dimethicone, or allantoin. Those of us with oily skin can use allantoin and, possibly, dimethicone. (Dimethicone at higher centistokes - like 1000 cs - will not penetrate your skin, and some oily skinned people could benefit from the layer of occlusion it can create.)
Use a sunscreen. (For the love of all that is good, do not make your own!) I know it can be hard for any sensitive skin type or oily skin type to find a sunscreen that works well because they can irritate or cause more break-outs, but it's a small price to pay for less wrinkly, less cancer prone, and more protected skin! If you have dry skin, choose whatever works for you. If you have oily skin, then try to find something that contains a lot of water soluble esters - look for words like "PEG" or "ester" - because these are better for oily skin types.
Join me tomorrow for the other two sensitive skin types - stinging and allergic.