Skincare ingredients to avoid if you suffer with rosacea

women with rosacea skincare ingredients to avoid finca skin organics

This week, we’re going to dive into the ingredients that you should watch out for and approach with caution if you have rosacea prone skin. If you’re like myself to be in the constant rosacea battle it's more things to think about and actively avoid. Yes, annoying to have to think through every little thing you put on, in or around your body. But we move!

While rosacea might not be life-threatening or of detrimental effect to your health, the mental and physical effects can still be very draining. The redness, warmth, pain, lumps and bumps do take a toll on you that only us living with rosacea will understand.

Luckily, we live in a time where the understanding around the condition has evolved massively. There’s an abundance of information and products out there nowadays that can help you live a normal life.

Ingredients to avoid if you have rosacea


Anything involving fragrance - natural, essential oils or otherwise should be avoided. The NRS (National Rosacea Society) did a survey which found that 30% of people with rosacea mentioned fragrance as a trigger for them.

Our Calming Serum 2 contains active ingredients which include tea tree oil and oil of oregano. This is because they play an active role in the product's ingredients rather than used as fragrance. 

Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid

Benzoyl peroxide is a well-known ingredient for the treatment of acne. You might be tempted to think that because it works for acne, it could be good for rosacea. This is where you need to beware and know that the two conditions are unrelated and benzoyl peroxide is actually counterproductive for rosacea.

Salicylic acid is similar, as it’s also a good ingredient for acne treatment. It works by dissolving cell build up, but can be too abrasive and irritating for rosacea skin.

Not to be confused with benzoyl alcohol and salicylic acid when used in preservitive eco. Preservative Eco is a broad-spectrum natural preservative which has no parabens, no phenoxyethanol,  no isothiazolones, no formaldehyde and is palm free. It is virtually fragrance-free so it is perfect even for fragrance-free products. It is approved by COSMOS and ECOCERT. 

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is a good ingredient if you’re not suffering from rosacea, as it’s known for it’s glowing and skin tone evening effects. Unfortunately, it’s a wee bit too harsh for rosacea prone skin. It’s an exfoliator which gives skin a tingling sensation. If this is the effect on “normal” skin, you know it’s too much for already red and sensitive skin.

Lactic Acid

Another one which is good for a lot of people, but not those with rosacea. It’s known for stimulating collagen renewal, firming skin and treating hyper pigmentation. Don’t confuse hyper pigmentation with rosacea, though. Hyper pigmentation is related more so to sun or age spots rather than redness. Lactic acid is another exfoliator, and no exfoliating products or ingredients are recommended for rosacea due to the already compromised skin barrier.


Again, similar to the previously mentioned ingredients this is an ingredient which is a no no for rosacea as it’s too harsh and will likely cause irritation. It’s another ingredient used to treat hyperpigmentation and dark spots. It can make the skin feel like it’s burning.

Peppermint, Menthol and Eucalyptus Oil

These ingredients are designed to produce a cooling effect, you know the one that you usually feel after wearing a face mask or a cleanser designed to be refreshing. This sensation is actually harmful for rosacea prone skin.

If you have rosacea and use something with one of these ingredients in there the outcome will more likely feel like burning or itching rather than cooling. This actually ties into the first point about fragrances. You get a clear smell from peppermint, menthol and eucalyptus which is what causes the negative effects for rosacea.

Witch hazel 

Witch hazel is used a lot as a toner for sensitive skin. This is due to the fact that it’s usually (or at least marketed as) alcohol free. This is misleading and a lot of times incorrect - a lot of drugstore brand toners actually contain 15-30% ethanol, an irritant especially for those with rosacea.

Be wary of soap

Regular drugstore low priced soaps are filled with harsh detergents which can be a problem for skin sensitivities. These soaps are usually loaded with harsh chemicals including the likes of formaldehyde or sodium laurel sulfate. You’re better off spending the bit extra and going for a good brand with minimal ingredients that’s suited for sensitive skin. This also applies to shampoo so be wary of ingredients found in your shampoo!

Chemical Sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens have one key difference to physical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens actually infiltrate the skin, where physical sunscreens sit on top and provide the barrier that way. The chemical sunscreen seeps into your skin resulting in a process that turns UV rays into harmless byproducts such as heat. It’s not harmless for rosacea, though due to the fact that heat is a major trigger.

You are way better off opting for a physical sunscreen if you’ve got rosacea. The way to spot this is that it will include either zinc oxide or titanium oxide, both are good for rosacea. I have formulated my own physical sunscreen which is suitable for rosacea skin. It contains just 7 ingredients and is available in a light to medium or medium to dark tint to conceal any redness. 

Don’t fall victim to misinformation

There are a lot of products and false information out there claiming to be the “cure” for rosacea. Let’s get one thing straight: there is NO known cure available yet for rosacea.

Not to sound too pessimistic but we need to be real about the possibilities here. This isn’t as doom and gloom as it sounds though. Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin disease - disease meaning there isn’t a cure. There are, however, a lot of things that you can do to minimize symptoms or even have periods without any symptoms at all.

There’s a heap of medications, over the counter products and lifestyle tips and tricks to keep your rosacea under wraps and we've covered some in this blog on how to manage your rosacea. There are also certain ingredients which are known for their calming, soothing and anti-redness effects that you should make yourself aware of. That’s not what we’ll focus on in today’s blog, but if you want to read into it a little more have a look at our blog on why you should be using minimal ingredients in your skincare. Instead today we’ll be having a look at some of the ingredients you should be avoiding for rosacea.

Do your research to avoid rosacea flare ups

There are many ingredients out there which can negatively impact rosacea. I’ve put together this short list to highlight some of the key ones for you. If you find this kind of thing interesting, do some further research online to see what other ingredients you should be avoiding as this isn’t a totally comprehensive list but rather a starting point to show you the most common ones. A good rule of thumb when picking skincare is always to go for something with a short, clean ingredients list.

From my research, I learned that plant-based ingredients are the best solution, combined with gentle preservatives. I am not a dermatologist or a medical doctor, just someone who has dedicated the last few decades of my life to researching rosacea and skin sensitivities and likes to share my personal experience.

All Finca Skin Organics products have one thing in common. They are all made using a minimal, plant-based ingredients list and formulated by me, a rosacea sufferer. The Finca Skin Organics range has undergone a Harley Street clinical study. After using our products, 87% felt the appearance of their skin significantly improved. 

View the entire range of Finca products here or find out what subtype your skin is.

When in doubt, always refer to your doctor or dermatologist as the condition differs for everyone. It’s always best to talk to your dermatologist first and work out your treatment plan together.

If you have any queries regarding your rosacea or how to use our products get in contact with us, we'd love to hear from you.

With love from Ireland,


*Clinical evaluation by Harley St. dermatologists on 23 subjects after 8 weeks of use.

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