The run down on rosacea

Fight the flush with this handy guide
Woman rubbing cream on her face to sooth her RosaceaImage: Getty

Many of us achieve rosy cheeks with the magic of makeup, but for celebrities such as Cynthia Nixon, Renée Zellweger and Sofía Vergara, or the estimated 10% of New Zealanders who have rosacea, a flushed face often doesn’t feel so glam.

“It’s hard because I get really red, so I’ve realised that I’ve had to treat my skin like sensitive skin, where I didn’t before,” tells Sofía, who developed the skin condition as an adult. We spoke to dermal therapist Danielle Joubert, who chats through everything you need to know.

Sofia Vergara deals with rosacea daily.

What exactly is Rosacea?

Tricky to treat and sometimes occurring in outbreaks, rosacea is “a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterised by redness, sensitivity and often acne-like bumps”, says Danielle.

While it typically affects the face, symptoms can also show up in other areas like the neck and chest. There are several forms, but up among the four most common are erythematotelangiectatic rosacea (visible blood vessels and flushing), papulopustular rosacea (a pimple-like type of breakout), phymatous rosacea (thickened skin and enlarged pores) and ocular rosacea (affecting the eyes and eyelids).

What causes it?

Although there’s no exact cause, research shows it can be due to a combination of many factors, including our genetic makeup and environmental aggravators. “Triggers for rosacea flare-ups can include alcohol, extreme weather conditions, sunlight exposure, certain medications, spicy food and, of course, stress,” says Danielle.

Actress Renée Zellweger has mentioned she suffers from rosacea as well.

What can you do?

There’s no known cure, but luckily there’s plenty we can do to help calm the condition. “It’s all about understanding your skin’s unique needs and avoiding triggers,” says Danielle. “Opting for gentle skincare products tailored to rosacea or sensitive skin, formulated without irritants and fragrances, is the key to strengthening and soothing your skin’s barrier.”

For chronic sufferers, there are various clinical treatments available that may be of help. “Laser therapy and LED light therapy, with the guidance of healthcare professionals, can offer relief,” suggests Danielle.

Tailor your skincare

Just because your skin’s a little more sensitive doesn’t mean you have to ditch your regime completely. Instead, Danielle recommends being mindful when selecting skincare and beauty products, and always favouring those with soothing and calming properties.

“Ingredients may include peptides, known for their ability to support skin health, ceramides for enhancing the skin barrier, niacinamide for its anti-inflammatory properties and hyaluronic acid for optimal hydration,” she explains. It’s always best to opt for gentle formulas that don’t contain harsh ingredients, along with fragrance-free products, to prevent further irritation.

Cynthia Nixon is very open about her battle with rosacea.

Skin soothers

Nurture your skin with gentle formulas and kind ingredients


Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup SPF 15

$75 at Adore Beauty

This product helps reduce facial redness with an oil-free ingredients list.


Mukti Gentle Melt Cleansing Balm

$80.94 at Adore Beauty

This Mukti Gentle Melt Cleansing Balm transforms from a jelly cleanser into a milk emulsion to gently melt away the day without irritation, making it ideal for sensitive skin and impaired barriers.


Make Up For Ever Redness Corrector Step 1 Face Primer

$71 at Sephora

This product is a lightweight lotion that’s kind on skin and great for all skin types.


Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

$39.99 at Life Pharmacy

This Cetaphil cleanser boasts a generous dose of vitamin E, and works to gently remove dirt, makeup and impurities without drying the skin.


La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+

$42.65 at Adore Beauty

This sunscreen targets sensitive skin, as well as offering sun protection with nurturing properties and a fragrance-free formula.


Avène Antirougeurs Fort Concentrate

$49.45 at Adore Beauty

This product uses ruscus extract and thermal spring water to minimise redness and soothe stressed skin.


Radiant Balance Cream

$69 at Atopis

This valuable product protects from everyday environmental stresses and restores the skin microbiome. This hard-working day cream also reduces the appearance of blemishes and redness.

Related stories

Get NZ Woman’s Weekly home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 29% on a magazine subscription.