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Ingrédients cosmétiques à éviter couperose.

Rosacea-prone skin: ingredients to avoid.

Rosacea, a chronic dermatological condition, often manifests as couperose, frequently affecting women. This condition can be very challenging to manage daily and significantly impacts the quality of life of those affected. Various factors contribute to the onset of couperose, including the use of unsuitable skincare products. This article will discuss the cosmetic ingredients to avoid if you have couperose.

Published February 6, 2024, by Sandrine, Head of Scientific Communication — 7 min read

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a very common chronic dermatological disease. In France, it affects 4 million people, predominantly women.

This disease affects the small vessels of the face. It can present in 4 different forms : vascular (rosacea), ocular, papulopustular, or hypertrophic. The presence of redness on the face, due to an exaggerated reaction of the blood vessels, is the common point among the 4 forms, but other symptoms such as rosacea acne can also appear.

Note : Rosacea and redness are often confused due to the common presence of redness on the face. However, these conditions are completely different.

Various factors contribute to the onset of rosacea: the genetics, the dysregulation of the immune system related to the skin, the excessive presence of skin mites (Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis) and of certain bacteria, an abnormality in the functioning of blood vessels or even the dysfunction of the Meibomian glands which are located at the edge of the eyelids in the case of ocular rosacea.

Couperose, a form of rosacea.

As previously mentioned, the couperose is the most common form of rosacea.

Rosacea is characterized by temporary redness (erythema) or permanent redness (erythrosis) associated with the development on the skin surface of small blood vessels that are thin, red or purple, and individualized, becoming visible to the naked eye (telangiectasias). These rednesses are located in the center of the face (forehead-eyes-nose-cheeks-chin).

This condition is also accompanied by repeated sensations of heat (hot flashes), and the skin may have a dry appearance with flaking. Rosacea results from excessive dilation of the blood vessels in the face. This skin disease frequently affects people with fair complexions with eyes and light hair.

Cosmetic ingredients to avoid for rosacea-prone skin.

Rosacea-prone skin is sensitive and tends to be dry. This skin sensitivity is due to a high number of nerve endings in the deeper layers of the skin and the presence of a substance called "substance P" which is found locally and in the blood, leading to local inflammation. Therefore, special attention should be given to the choice of cosmetic products.

These should have the simplest and most minimalist formulation possible. Choose skincare products without alcohol and without fragrance, as they are very irritating to the skin.

Furthermore, certain active ingredients must be avoided such as:

  • Retinol :

Derived from Vitamin A, retinol is a highly effective ingredient for combating oxidative stress and accelerated skin aging. However, the most common side effect following the use of a retinol-based skincare product is an irritated skin characterized by the onset of redness, itching, and even slight burning. This is why this active ingredient is not recommended for sensitive skin.

All cosmetics or topicals (prescription-based) containing retinoids are not recommended for skin exhibiting rosacea.

  • Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (A.H.A.):

A.H.A.s are potent keratolytic agents that offer numerous benefits for the skin. This family encompasses various molecules such as theglycolic acid, mandelic acid, or even tartaric acid.

Despite their numerous benefits, A.H.A.s can be irritating just like retinol. Therefore, they should be avoided in case of rosacea.

Note : for exfoliating your skin, consider turning to poly-hydroxy acids (P.H.A.). Contrary to A.H.A., P.H.A. are gentle exfoliants. With a larger molecular size than A.H.A., P.H.A. penetrate less deeply into the epidermis and are more suitable for atopic, sensitive and/or skin with conditions. Moreover, P.H.A. are alsohydrating: they capture and retain water in the epidermis andreduceskin dryness by half.

When it comes to makeup, opt for light textures and non-comedogenic formulas that do not clog the skin's pores.

What can be done to alleviate rosacea?

Rosacea, being a dermatological disease, necessitates a consultation with a dermatologist. The latter will prescribe a treatment tailored to your specific case.

The dermatologist may prescribe you a brimonidine-based gel which is to be applied locally or suggest other techniques such as electrocoagulation or even, the laser treatment (KTP laser, pulsed dye laser and Nd: Yag laser).

Generally, medical treatments are most often effective, but they require maintenance treatment such as the use of suitable cosmetics.

Thus, use cosmetics that contain healing active ingredients,soothing,anti-inflammatory and vasoconstrictor agents (beta-glucan, hemp oil, azelaic acid, niacinamide, Centella asiatica, allantoin, bisabolol, calendula macerate, etc).

A skin with rosacea being hypersensitive, therefore opt for active ingredients that strengthen the skin barrier (ceramides, vegetable oils, vegetable butters, panthenol etc), thus ensuring protection against external aggressions.

Note : Antibiotics from the tetracycline family may also be prescribed in conjunction with the treatment.

In order to conceal redness, one can use a makeup specifically formulated for sensitive skin, particularly a green-tinted complexion corrector. This significantly improves the quality of life for those affected.


  • NAVARINI A.A. & al, Swiss S1 guideline for the treatment of rosacea (2017)


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