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Natural cosmetics for rosacea: mild alternative or irritating?

Posted by Lara Schimweg on
Naturkosmetik bei Rosacea: Warum es auf die richtigen Produkte ankommt
The cream in this picture has hidden. Finding natural cosmetics for rosacea can sometimes be quite difficult.

There are some ingredients in conventional cosmetic products that can trigger rosacea, such as mineral oil, silicone or synthetic fragrances. So should I use natural cosmetics for rosacea?

What is rosacea?

Rosacea or couperose is a skin disease that is associated with reddening of the face and often with inflammatory papules and pustules . The first symptoms usually do not appear until the mid or late 20s. Many people did not necessarily have skin problems when they were young.

How is rosacea treated?

When treating rosacea, it is particularly important to avoid triggers in cosmetics, nutrition or the environment. Rosacea triggers can make redness and other symptoms worse. The impact of the triggers is very individual. Some people with couperose can also tolerate some of the known triggers.

Depending on the severity, there are also medicinal or surgical therapies.

There are a few things to consider when it comes to cosmetics for rosacea, because many ingredients in cosmetic products are triggers. Redness can be reduced or covered with the right rosacea care with soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients and appropriate make-up. This can lead to more well-being and serenity.

Pros and cons of natural cosmetics for rosacea

Pro natural cosmetics

  1. Genuine natural cosmetics do without some trigger factors that can occur in conventional cosmetics. These include cortisone, perfume, PEG, parabens, mineral oil, urea or silicone.
  2. Some natural ingredients that are also used in natural cosmetics, such as green tea, oats or liquorice root, are very suitable for rosacea.
  3. Has nothing directly to do with rosacea: natural cosmetics are more sustainable than conventional cosmetics.

Against natural cosmetics

However, many ingredients that are often found in natural cosmetics can also be trigger factors for rosacea:

  1. Natural fragrances , such as essential oils (e.g. linalool) and flower hydrosols, such as rose water or witch hazel water, are not only strong allergens but can also significantly intensify rosacea. Otherwise, essential oils are not a healthy idea for people without rosacea either, because they become a stressor when they come into contact with sunlight and generate free radicals. This means stress for rosacea as well as any other skin. In the long term, essential oils can also trigger contact allergies.
  2. Alkaline cosmetics: Many natural cosmetic products do not correspond to the pH value of the skin. This is between 5 and 6. Some natural cosmetic products, such as soaps, have a pH of 8 or higher. This attacks the acid mantle of the skin and it becomes more susceptible to germs. Incidentally, soaps contain very harsh surfactants, which also dry out the skin. It is often claimed that particularly greasy natural soaps do not have a drying effect on the skin. Unfortunately this is not the case. The same applies to soaps that are supposedly made especially for sensitive skin: These should not be used for rosacea either. A soap is not a mild form of facial cleansing .
  3. Drying alcohols : Natural cosmetics are usually preserved with alcohol. Many alcohols dry out the skin and can irritate it.
  4. Unprocessed (vegetable or animal) oils and fats: Under a layer of oil, rosacea skin can start to sweat. Such a build-up of heat can lead to the blood circulation being stimulated too much and the skin becoming very red. This leads to the so-called flush. Learn more about the pros and cons of oils here.
  5. Mechanical peels contain sharp-edged peeling grains that are far too large and can damage your skin. Micro tears can appear in your skin that you cannot see with the naked eye. And these are ideal entry points for germs that can cause inflammation. This also includes clay / healing earth or products with salt or sugar grains.
  6. Fruit Acids : Pineapple, papaya, hibiscus extract, and other fruit acids act like strong chemical peels (which don't work well for couperose), with the added disadvantage that natural acid levels can vary widely. In individual cases, these products can therefore be far too acidic for the skin – especially in the case of rosacea.

My experiences with natural cosmetics for rosacea

I first became aware of my rosacea when I tried to switch my skin care and make-up completely to natural cosmetics . Suddenly my skin turned red and I got pimples. No typical hormonal pimples, but small red pustules.

When I then used my conventional pharmacy products again, which I had never changed years before, the nightmare was suddenly over. My skin was okay again. Personally, though, I wasn't comfortable with supporting brands that test on animals and use unsustainable ingredients. That was a real dilemma for me.

So are natural cosmetics not suitable for rosacea?

Many have given up and are of the opinion that natural cosmetics do not work for rosacea. And if you look at the natural cosmetics market, we quickly realize that it is almost hopeless to find products that do without the triggers mentioned. Some niche brands are already doing without essential oils or have at least reduced them - but the problem with the vegetable oils used carelessly for rosacea, flower hydrosols instead of water, fruit acids, the pH value, the stimulating extracts, etc., remains

However, this is not because it is simply not possible to produce compatible natural cosmetics for rosacea. Just because many natural substances are irritating to the skin doesn't mean they have to be used. It takes a different mindset to create natural cosmetics for rosacea and sensitive skin. That is why it is part of our philosophy that all Xeno ® products should be as compatible as possible for all skin types.

Natural cosmetics without rosacea triggers

Facial care for rosacea with natural cosmetics

There are good alternatives for vegetable oils in natural cosmetics: caprylic / capric triglycerides , squalane and lecithin are derived from plants and processed in such a way that they correspond to the fat in the skin or are very similar to it. This allows the skin to fully absorb these oils if their fat is lacking. As a component of natural cosmetic creams, these oils can protect your skin from moisture loss. However, couperose creams should be very light and contain a large proportion of water with moisturizers such as hyaluronic acid or glycerin.

For a mild preservation , there are moisturizing alcohols that are also well tolerated by rosacea: These include the fatty alcohol pentylene glycol . It naturally moisturizes your skin and has a preservative effect at the same time. Pentylene Glycol is very mild and also extremely well tolerated by very sensitive skin and is therefore recommended for rosacea.

A mild cleanser for rosacea should only contain very mild surfactants . Mild sugar surfactants are among the most tolerable.

You can also wash yourself with a cleansing oil. These should not consist of pure oils but always contain a skin-friendly emulsifier. Cleansing oil is especially useful for heavy make-up. The vegetable oils it contains are not always easy to wash off the skin. As a result, many people with rosacea do not tolerate cleansing oils very well.

Tip: Heavier make-up can also be removed with natural shea butter or jojoba oil if you can tolerate it. Then you should wash off the oil film with a mild cleaner based on sugar surfactants .

To soothe the skin , natural cosmetics for rosacea should contain antioxidants and soothing ingredients such as green tea, oats, licorice root or bisabolol. Fermented lactic acid bacteria strengthen the microbiome and reduce bad bacteria. This can reduce redness and make the skin less sensitive.

Vitamin C derivatives also strengthen the skin and make it more robust against environmental stress. Please try out individually how well you tolerate vitamin C derivatives. Pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is too potent for most people with sensitive rosacea skin and is therefore not recommended.

Sun protection is important for the prevention of skin cancer and is also the best "anti-aging agent" because pigment spots and wrinkles do not form so quickly. Sun protection is even more important for rosacea because the sun can be a trigger.

Finding a well-tolerated sunscreen for rosacea is difficult in general and even more difficult when the choice is limited. Sun protection needs a film former so that the sun protection factors can be distributed evenly on the skin. Therefore, sunscreen must inevitably contain vegetable oil, silicone, mineral oil, alcohol, or other film formers, all of which are thought to be triggers for rosacea. Some sunscreen filters can also be rosacea triggers. It is therefore important that you find the sun protection that works best for you individually. Because the best sun protection is not the natural or the conventional, but the one that you wear regularly.

Tip: free sun protection guide for sensitive skin

Here you will find tips and sunscreens from different brands that may be suitable for sensitive skin and therefore also for rosacea, so that you can find the right sunscreen for you.

To the sun protection guide

Natural cosmetic makeup for rosacea

In natural cosmetic make-up there are usually many vegetable oils and butters that are too encapsulating. In addition, there are only a few products without exotic extracts, fruit extracts, essential oils, etc.

The most tolerable option for rosacea is mineral makeup powder, which consists only of natural non-reactive mineral pigments. Although this somewhat limits the possibilities in terms of look and application, it is always a solution if other make-up products do not work at the moment. By the way: Mineral powder make-up contains zinc oxide, which can reduce papules and pustules because it counteracts inflammation.

With cream products, it is worth making sure that they contain as few vegetable oils as possible. Anyone who tolerates certain vegetable oils can of course look for make-up with these oils.

Tip: Instead of makeup, you can use tinted sunscreen. The mineral filters in natural cosmetic sunscreen are usually well tolerated, you need one less product and the tint means you don't have a "whitening" effect. The oils could be a disadvantage. See also the skin care section above.

Unfortunately, there is not yet much make-up in natural cosmetics that is well suited for rosacea. Don't put any pressure on yourself: Especially with make-up, it's ok to make compromises if the market doesn't offer what you want.


Rosacea is very individual and what works for one person may not be the perfect solution for another.

Natural cosmetics are also possible with rosacea, but unfortunately there is very little choice. Most natural cosmetic products contain unprocessed vegetable oils or irritating ingredients. This is a real problem, especially for rosacea, if you don't want to go back to conventional products from the pharmacy. Always pay attention to how your skin reacts, because it is your best feedback. Find out more about rosacea skin care here. And here on the EPY Podcast, you can learn more about my hacks for everyday life with rosacea .

If you are looking for natural cosmetics that are well tolerated by the skin, then take a look at our skin care products . Maybe you will finally find suitable natural cosmetics for your skin.

Do you have further questions? Then write below in the comments.

This article originally appeared as a guest article on

Lara Schimweg

about the author

Lara Schimweg is the founder of Xeno ® . She studied sports science and health research and is a trained health worker. Lara has rosacea and very sensitive skin.

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