Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey answers your questions about rosacea, seborrhea and clogged pores.
Rosacea, seborrhea and clogged pores often happen together. It's a common combination complexion challenge. I was sent this great question from a reader that I want to share.
Dear Dr. Bailey,
I have facial seborrhea dermatitis, rosacea and clogged pores in the T zone, plus age spots. I am 49 years of age. I recently tried Obagi Blender which caused acne. I have Solbar sunscreen which also causes some breakout and seems a bit heavy/oily. With my skin so problematic and sensitive, I thought to try your green tea cream, zinc soap for the seborrhea, but am unsure about sunscreen and when to work on the congestion and age spots. My dermatologist really isn't into cosmetic treatments, but does have me on Oracea for my rosacea, but is not approved for long-term use. Complicated, I know, but hope you can help. I thought about Rodan + Fields new line, but it has fragrance and is really pricey.
You sure have the double, triple, quadrupedal whammy of facial skin issues-and you're not alone!
I can't tell you how many patients I see with exactly your combination of skin problems, including myself. You have tried some good products; you have some good ideas and you're on the right track. Assuming that your doctor has correctly diagnosed your rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis, I totally agree with your idea to try the Calming Zinc ® soap and the Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy to quiet these skin conditions.
What is the best product combination to tackle all three of these problems - rosacea, seborrhea and clogged pores?
I have found Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy and Calming Zinc Soap to be wonderful skin care products for helping to calm both rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis. They work so well together that I combined them in my popular Redness Relief Kit.
These oil free products and should not clog your pores. Plus, they are non-irritating, and in fact very soothing for facial skin rashes. Both of those are key characteristics for skin care product tolerance in people with sensitive skin. Green tea is known to reduce oil production too!
I also applaud you for your determination to use a high quality, micro zinc oxide sunscreen like Solbar Zinc. I have loved this product for over 15 years, but it does have a heavy feel. It is actually oil free, but the water-resistant base feels oily.
We have much better zinc oxide and sunscreen technology and formulations now. I recommend instead that you try Sheer Strength Pure Physical Matte Tinted SPF 50+ Sunscreen or Sheer Strength Pure Physical Invisible SPF 50+ Creme. Both have a dry feel and the best UVA and UVB protection that you can get. Patients find that these are entirely non-irritating, do not sting sensitive eyes and won't clog pores. They are also oil-free and fragrance free.
I can't stress enough the need to wear a 5% or higher Micro Zinc Oxide Sunscreen EVERYDAY!
Touch up your SPF on days where you are exposed to extended UV rays using a powder sunscreen. My Sheer Strength SPF Refresh Sunscreen is a convenient way to stay protected. Like my other sunscreens, it will not clog pores.
Why is it so important to wear broad spectrum sunscreen on your face every day?
Broad spectrum UVA and UVB sun protection is critical for anyone who wants to lighten their age spots. Zinc Oxide is the best sun screen ingredient for complete, broad spectrum UVA and UVB sun protection in my opinion. Sunscreen needs to be applied every day, regardless of what activities are on the agenda and regardless of what time of year it is. I tell people to put their sunscreen on with their skin care products first thing in the morning.
How do you layer skin care products for rosacea treatment?
I have my patients wash their face with the Calming Zinc (once or twice a day) then put on the Green Tea Cream followed immediately by any other products they use. They then finish with moisturizer and sunscreen. This is Complete Skin Care to support complexions suffering from rosacea and seborrhea.
Get a dermatologist's Complete Skin Care Routine for Rosacea, Seborrhea and Clogged Pores with my Rosacea Skin Care Kit.
Makeup is applied on top as the last product. No need to wait and let things dry. Skin products are like the different foods we eat, they all get mixed up when they reach their final destination so they can be applied together.
Your last question is about products that actually fade age spots.
Picking age spot fading products is tricky for people with rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis because these conditions make the skin sensitive, and age spot lightening products are usually irritating. You need to choose these with your doctor's help.
My favorite anti aging and age spot fading skin care product for patients with rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis is Retin A (tretinoin) at the lowest strength. I find that if I can really quiet down the 2 rashes, I can sneak up on the skin and get it to tolerate the Retin A (starting twice a week and working up slowly as tolerated). This is tricky though, so you need your doctor's help. Plus, Retin A is a prescription, Retin A use makes skin more sun sensitive and it can't be used when pregnant.
Bring this information to your doctor and see what he/she has to say. Best of luck!
Cynthia Bailey MD, Dermatologist
Disclaimer: Please realize that availing yourself of the opportunity to submit and receive answers to your questions from Dr. Bailey does not confer a doctor/patient relationship with Dr. Bailey. The information provided by Dr. Bailey is general health information inspired by your question. It should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem (and is not an extension of the care Dr. Bailey has provided in her office for existing patients of her practice). Never ignore your own doctor’s advice because of something you read here; this information is for general informational purpose only.