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"You should never use products that contain oil--it will cause a rosacea flare-up!"

edited January 2014 in Ask the Beauty Brains
I've had more than one esthetician say this to me.  "Only use oil free products.  Otherwise, you will trigger a rosacea flare.  It's very bad to use products containing oil when you have rosacea."  Is there any basis to this?  I asked my dermatologist, and he had no idea what this was about.  Rosacea isn't typically follicular in origin.  But even for acne vulgaris, I would think that some oils are fine and "oil free" is more of a marketing buzzword.  I'm no expert, but I was under the impression that some oils are not particularly comedogenic, whereas some agents that are not "oils" are.  Anyone care to shed any light?


  • No one knows for sure what causes rosacea but there are several theories. It could be related to how facial blood vessels cope with being flushed and dilated. Or, it could be that it’s an over active inflammatory response to some unknown pathogen. Though the exact cause is unknown, we do know that it can be worsened by harsh skin treatments, strong acne medications, and even exposure to excessive sunlight. 

    I could find no reference to "oils" (as if all oils are chemically identical!) being a causative factor for rosacea. But maybe (I repeat maybe) the rumor has a kernel of truth that goes something like this: 

    We know that over-cleansing the skin can worsen rosacea. If you're using a lot of oily facial products you're going to have to work that much harder to get them off your skin. So perhaps this idea came about because of people using oils on their face, scrubbing (or just generally using more aggressive or more frequent cleansing) which then triggered more rosacea. 

    It's a stretch but it's the only thing I could think of. 
  • Thanks for your input. I think you have confirmed my suspicion that this is probably a bogus assertion.
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