Shopping for Answers: With rosacea, use fewer, more gentle products

By Leigh Grogan -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PDT Wednesday, April 5, 2006
Story appeared in Scene section, Page E3

DEAR SHOPPING: I use MetroLotion for rosacea and have had acne since my teens. Is there a brand of makeup that I can use to cover the redness that will not irritate my skin and cause acne? I've tried Dermablend over MetroLotion, but it is difficult to apply and clogs my pores. Is there something I can use under the Dermablend to make it easier to apply and prevent it from blocking my pores? My doctor recommends avoiding products with heavy oils. Also, I have read where glycolic acid peels, washes and creams can help clear pores and reduce rosacea.

- Carol, Auburn

DEAR CAROL: Rosacea often presents a variety of symptoms and, according to cosmetics expert Paula Begoun, there are no easy answers for tackling it. The more products you use, the more likely the rosacea - and other skin problems such as breakouts - will be exacerbated. You should definitely talk to your doctor before using any products with glycolic acid or alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) because these products may cause further irritation. However, Begoun does recommend using a moisturizer with a low dose of salicylic acid (1 percent to 2 percent) with a pH of 3 to 4.

As for cosmetics, avoid anything with synthetic perfumes; the perfume is an irritant. Mineral-based makeup (either foundation or powder) is less likely to clog your pores. However, what works for one woman might not work for another. Here's a suggestion: Contact Illuminare Cosmetics, which is based in El Dorado Hills. In 2000, the company launched the first liquid mineral-based makeup, and it works for quite a few women - and men - who have rosacea and accompanying skin problems. They can answer any questions about your specific skin concerns and even recommend products. The toll-free number for Illuminare is (866) 999-2033, and the Web site is In Auburn, the line is carried at Ultimate Beauty Source, 13408 Lincoln Way.

Also, take a look at some of the recommendations at

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   Send questions to Shopping for Answers, Leigh Grogan, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852, or e-mail