Is using Retinol good for rosacea and can it reduce redness?

Is using retinol good for rosacea and can it reduce redness?

What is Retinol?

Retinol is made from vitamin A. It is used for a variety of skin conditions like acne and rosacea.  It comes in many forms OTC but also has higher potency forms in creams and other topical products.   

A good amount of vitamin A is already found in our foods and can always be purchased as a supplement liquid, capsule or gel pill form for different health concerns.  It is needed to maintain skin health and for lowering inflammation.  The body converts carotenoids in plant foods, from vegetables and fruits like (red, yellow, and green ones) into vitamin A.  

However, you need to know that retinols used as prescriptions or called, retinoids are more powerful forms of vitamin A to drastically address a severe skin condition.  The ones OTC, the retinoids like: retinaldehyde and retinyl palmate are found in creams and cleansers.  They are more gentle compared to topical creams that are only prescription, like tretinoin.

Side effects of retinol:

Retinols can have side effects like any other drug or medication.  The ones that are common include:

  • Redness
  • Itchy
  • Flaky and skin peeling
  • Acne flare
  • Eczema flare
  • Skin discoloration
  • UV light sensitivities
  • Possible Blistering, stinging or swelling of skin
  • Sunlight can make your skin worse

Gut health problems can cause skin problems.  You need vitamin A for your gut and immune health and it needs to be present for improvement of a variety of skin conditions. While this deficiency is rare, more and more people are having gut health issues today due to medications causing side effects, affecting inflammation rates to be higher in the gut from food allergies, GI chronic health conditions, and from mental health disorders (many of which are said to stem from gut problems).

While deficiencies of vitamin A are rare, and are typically in third world countries, developed places around the globe such as the US can still happen. This deficiency can cause a host of health problems, which can lead to skin conditions.

Many different health conditions cause vitamin A deficiency:

  • Chrons disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Biliary problems, like blockages
  • Zinc deficiency
  • Iron deficiency
  • Alcoholism
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Breastfeeding mothers
  • Reproduction issues
  • Chronic diarrhea or conditions that have this as a symptom
  • Dumping syndrome
  • Dry skin
  • Dry eyes
  • Night blindness
  • Infertility and issues conceiving
  • Delayed growth
  • Throat infections
  • Chest infections
  • Wound healing delays
  • Acne
  • Other kinds of skin breakouts and conditions

Products that use retinol in them for rosacea treatments

These are all OTC products that can help the skin rid of bacteria, lower inflammation and redness from rosacea.  They are less harsh than pharmaceutical treatment and could improve your rosacea without ever needing a prescription.  

Can retinol reduce redness for folks suffering from rosacea?

In small amounts yes, these retinol products can help reduce redness.  However, many topical skin care creams and gels can help dry up the skin.  This could potentially lead to more redness and flaking sky.  The goal is to rid of bacteria, improve hydration even when using retinol products.

Retinoids (harsher compared to a retinol product OTC):

  • Topical tretinoin cream, spot treatment (used for acne, rosacea, pimples, and other issues as seen fit by your dermatologist)
  • Low-dose oral Isotretinoin (Accutane; typically used for cystic acne, which is severe—but has been used for severe forms of rosacea, in this low dose oral pill when antibiotics have failed and other treatment plans for rosacea don’t work, either)

These above are used with antibiotics don’t work for someone’s rosacea or other problematic skin care condition.  These retinoids can help pus areas or severe red pump areas to reduce and eventually disappear, but in the interim, redness can become worse.  Also, sometimes people who have spider veins in these red areas and severe blood vessels issues from the bacteria infected areas of rosacea can become worse during treatment—from a pharmaceutical.

It can actually help improve collagen levels and improve cells.  This can help the texture of the skin improve from what the rosacea did on your face—leaves it bumpy, red and uneven. But, it can also cause irritation.  This is why it’s so important to use an OTC rosacea products or something prescribed by your doctor such as a cleanser and good hydration cream or gel to help clean your face and keep the skin hydrated and not dried out, from breakouts and uneven texture from rosacea.  Know that retinol can also irritate skin, so it's best to incorporate this ingredient with advice and product recommendations from a dermatologist.

When to apply retinol products and when you start seeing some results

You should usually apply retinol cream or other products at least 20 to 30 minutes after you wash your face.  Usually, retinol products begin to help treat the rosacea within a couple of weeks.  Everyone is different however.  It depends on the severity of your case.  If it was severe, it could take longer, especially if the areas on your face weren’t treated with OTC products consistently.

Address your deficiencies and improve diet—can improve rosacea

Vitamin A is an essential vitamin, not just for your skin, but for your immune system health and wellness.  Retinol can help address issues with rosacea as a cleaner or soap. Even higher percentages that are in topical can cause more dryness and severe redness while treating the condition.  

Too much retinol treatment can cause unwanted side effects and might be more beneficial taking it in supplement form and addressing other health concerns that can lead to better skin health. 

You will also want to make sure you have better levels of A in the body, that way you can use less retinol pharmaceuticals that may cause more damage to your skin over longer period of time.  Eating healthier like a diet full of fruits, vegetables, adequate protein, vitamin C, and other essential vitamins and minerals is always needed.  And of course a high count (in the billions) of a quality brand probiotic, daily.

Rosacea products and being gentle with your current skin conditions

Make sure to use fragrance free products.  This can cause more irritation for rosacea.  Always try out products on the skin to make sure they are safe for your skin issues—rosacea or other problem like eczema, or acne.  Be gentle with any products on the skin when you have this condition.  Some can make rosacea much worse. 

The condition also gets worse when you over scrub your face.  Never exfoliate with this condition or harshly wipe or scrub your face even with a washcloth. Always, lightly pat or dab dry your face with any product or to wipe dry.

Follow this Rosacea skin care rule list:

  • Cleanse your face one to two times a day, be gentle
  • Moisturize every day, look for super hydration products, less chemicals, water based
  • Use sun screen or zinc oxide as a skin protectant
  • Protect your skin from the sun year round
  • Always find rosacea geared skin care products, so you don’t make the skin worse; more irritated, etc.