A Surprising Discovery About Rosacea

Rosacea is a skin condition that includes reddening of face and sometimes breaking out.

Western medicine considers it a harmless cosmetic condition, but those who have it often feel otherwise. They will go to some lengths to get rid of it and at the very least cover it up.

Rosacea shows up mostly in fair-skinned people with Northern European ancestry. Dermatologists typically advise these people to avoid heat and sunlight, since these can aggravate the flushing red appearance of the condition. As a result, most people with this condition us a fair amount of sunscreen.

There are two types of sunscreens, physical and chemical.  Physical sunscreens include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.  Chemical sunscreens include Avobenzone, Parsol, PABA and Octinoxate.

Here’s where it gets interesting. It turns out that for people with sensitive skin, the chemical forms of sunscreen can actually make Rosacea worse!

Recently my wife had this experience. Here’s what she found in her own words:

“About 12 years ago I started using Physicians Formula Powder Finish SPF 15 green concealer to cover redness on my face. The active ingredients are Octinoxate and Titanium Dioxide. One is a chemical sunscreen and the other is a physical sunscreen.

“I had been using a foundation that also has Octinoxate in it and my skin was constantly red and irritated. Even my dermatologist thought I had Rosacea.

“This week I stopped both products with Chemical sunscreen and within a couple of days almost all of the redness was gone. My new makeup has only a physical sunscreen and does not seem to be irritating my skin at all.

“The irony is that I was using the green concealer to cover redness and it was one of the causes of the redness.”

Obviously everyone is different and will have different contributing causes for Rosacea. But I find it interesting that sometimes it can be the very things we do to fix a problem that turn out to be causing them.

This also reminds us of how many different influences there can be for a problem. This is true for just about any health issue you can think of. It’s not always easy to sort through everything to identify exactly what drives the process.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In fact, after almost 40 years of practicing alternative medicine, I’ve narrowed the most important variables down to less than a dozen. More on this in a future issue of Balance Point.


Hyperhealth Pro Database, In-Tele-Health, Hansville, WA, 2008.

Wikipedia Article on Rosacea

Marks, James G; Miller, Jeffery (2006). Lookingbill and Marks’ Principles of Dermatology (4th ed.). Elsevier Inc.

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