Mostly everybody wants a gorgeous summer tan, showing off the best their skin has to offer.
However, this isn’t always easy for everyone. Certain skin conditions and health problems may prevent many people from tanning in the sun, which isn’t safe for anybody, or using a self-tanner.
Rosacea is one of those skin conditions which may get in the way of obtaining a summer tan, and many of the methods we use to bronze our skin, either naturally or through the use of products, might make the symptoms of rosacea worse.
Understanding the condition, and then learning the different ways to tan, is key to finding a solution to achieving a summer tan, without any harm being done to your skin or triggering the condition further.
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a fairly common skin condition. It first appears as redness on the face, which could resemble sunburn or blush spread across the nose, cheeks, chin, and/or forehead.
From there, small pus-filled bumps, as well as small blood vessels, may appear across the face. Rosacea can also be apparent in the eyes, causing them to water or appear red, inflaming and irritating the eyelids and the white of the eye. This condition from rosacea is called conjunctivitis.
Another symptom of rosacea is the nose becoming red and the skin becoming thick and swollen due to the excess tissue. This is known as rhinophyma.
There is no single specific cause for rosacea. Possible causes could be weak immune systems, nervous systems, or vascular systems. The condition does seem to run in families, meaning it could be hereditary.
The main sufferers of rosacea are typically fair-skinned and those who blush easily. Most often, symptoms only appear in adults between 30 and 60 years old.
Women tend to have the symptoms of rosacea appear on their cheeks and chins, while men suffer more with rhinophyma on the nose—and men tend to suffer from rosacea worse than women.
It is difficult to say how to prevent rosacea, but there are triggers that make the condition worse. These include:
- Heat from the sun or hot baths
- Temperature extremes
- Harsh chemicals in skincare products
- Exercise and sweating
- Other skin and health conditions
Medication is the best form of treatment for rosacea, but adapting your lifestyle and avoiding triggers can help to manage the condition.
The Difference Between Sunburn and Rosacea
While sunburn and rosacea might appear similar at first, they are not the same thing.
Sunburn is the damaging of the outer layer of skin, while rosacea affects the blood vessels below the skin. Rosacea causes the inflammation of blood vessel below the skin on the face and other areas of the body.
Damage from the sun can lead to wrinkles, scarring and other serious effects on the skin, even leading to skin cancer in more severe cases. Skin damage from the sun usually appears later on in life, when the conditions are also harder to treat.
Rosacea is not caused by damage from the sun but is rather a skin condition triggered by other factors.
Does Sun Tanning Make Rosacea Worse?
Exposure to the sun is one of the main triggers of rosacea. The heat and damage done by UV rays are largely responsible for many flare-ups, so it is important to properly protect your skin when venturing outdoors, especially in summer and spring.
The good news is that you do not have to avoid the sun completely, you just have to get into the habit of a good skincare routine, nourishing and protecting your skin from the sun making the condition worse.
Wearing a high factor sunscreen when going out into the sun will be one of your best options to protect your skin. Try and use a daily cream that has a built-in SPF as well, to give you protection throughout the day.
There are also some great products that help to reduce redness and inflammation, which also have sun protection. These products have been created for those who suffer from rosacea and help treat the skin while giving it the protection it needs.
Be mindful of the times of day that the sun is more intense. This is usually between 11 am and 4 pm, so make sure to use a sunscreen if you are out in the sun during these hours.
Always opt for the highest protection you can get, with an SPF 50 broad-spectrum sunscreen being the better choice.
Here are some tips on how to protect your skin in the sun:
- Moisturize with a safe moisturizer regularly. Moisturized skin fares much better in the sun than drier skin. Stick to a strict moisturizing routine to ensure your skin has all the hydration it needs.
- Sunscreen is the best product to use to protect your skin. Opt for an SPF 50 or higher, but be careful to choose a sunscreen that does not irritate your skin or cause your rosacea to flare up.
- When out in the sun, try to wear a wide-brimmed hat. This will help to cover your face and neck. There are some sun hats which have their own SPF, so these will provide you with the proper shade and protection you need.
- Use a summer umbrella to further protect the rest of your skin. Make sure it has been made with sun-safe material.
Overall, especially if you know the sun is a trigger for your rosacea, it is a good idea to avoid tanning in the sun. Not only will it likely cause a flare-up, but the UV rays can cause lasting damage to your skin which is often irreversible.
Can I Self-Tan With Rosacea?
When it comes to protecting your skin while giving it a gorgeous glow, a self-tan product is much safer, and better for your skin, than tanning in the sun.
This being said, there are some self-tanning products that contain harsh ingredients which could dry out your skin and cause a flare-up.
Self-tanners work by using the active ingredient DHA. DHA reacts with the outer layer of the skin, causing it to darken over time. It is not a stain or a bronzer, rather a reaction that happens with the dead skin cells, darkening them to mimic a tan.
DHA can come in different formulations, with some of the older products made having a harsher formulation of DHA which does dry out the skin. Not only is this not recommended for those who suffer from rosacea, but for anyone who is looking to use self-tanners.
The good news is that there are some amazing self-tanning products on the market, which are made using natural and organic ingredients, as well as organic DHA. These are very gentle and caring to the skin, and give the skin added moisture and nourishment while the tan develops.
Any self-tanners which contain alcohol are also a no-go, as alcohol is known to dry out the skin as well. Also try to avoid any self-tanners with added fragrances and oils, as these could cause a breakout almost instantly.
It is highly advised to do a patch test first to see if your skin will react to the self-tanner.
Find a small inconspicuous area to apply a small amount of self-tanner and wait a few hours. If there is a flare-up or irritation, you know not to use that product. It will also give you a good indication of what the resultant tan will look like.
Unfortunately, there is not one self-tanner that guarantees no breakouts or flare-ups of rosacea. You will have to work your way through them to see which suits your skin best, and find the one that is most gentle to your skin, but still gives you an incredible summer glow.
Can I Spray Tan With Rosacea?
A professional spray tan can help to tone down the redness caused by rosacea, but you need to be careful with the product you choose to use.
Harsh chemicals which irritate and dry the skin are known to cause breakouts with rosacea, and many spray tans contain ingredients which could cause this to happen.
Spray tan formulas which contain alcohol can dry out the skin, and harm the skins natural protective barrier. This causes the skin to dry out and therefore increase the redness of the skin.
When looking to spray tan, do some research and find a salon which uses a spray tan formula which is alcohol-free. There are some really great products used which contain natural ingredients and safer, more gentle alternatives to the usual chemicals used.
Cocoa butter and lemon peel oil are often used in spray tan formulas, and these really help to nourish and hydrate the skin.
If you are really concerned about your skin going into a spray tan, you can ask the salon to do a patch test, especially if your skin is prone to breakouts and sensitivity.
Choose a hidden and inconspicuous area, such as behind your ear, to do a patch test. Once the results have come back clear, you can go ahead and have a full body spray tan. However, if there is some irritation, stay away from the spray tan.
Try and go for a caramel tone spray tan. Caramel shades help to tone down redness and will hide the blushing effect caused by the rosacea quite well. Once again, a patch test will help to show if it is the right shade and tan for your skin tone.
Will Self-Tanner Cover Rosacea?
There isn’t a one size fits all self-tanner that covers skin ailments. Unfortunately, as easy as self-tanner is to use, it does come with issues if you have skin conditions, such as rosacea.
Whether or not the self-tanner will cover your rosacea does count on few factors, such as how bad the skin condition is, if there is broken skin or an excess of dead skin cells, and how inflamed your skin is.
On the flip side, self-tanner can help to hide skin discoloration, replacing the appearance of discolored skin with an even, smooth glow.
To begin, you need to assess the condition of your skin.
Do not attempt to use self-tanner if you are in the middle of a flare-up or have any broken or inflamed skin. This can lead to an infection or cause your skin to react badly. Wait at least two weeks for the skin to heal before applying any self-tanning product onto your skin, especially on the facial area.
When it comes to self-tanning at home to cover rosacea, it is best to choose a gradual self-tanner—one that has been dermatologically tested and is suitable for sensitive skin.
Gradual self-tanners have lower levels of tanning agents and contain moisturizing agents that are perfect for daily use. These self-tanners will not shock your skin with a high concentration of chemicals, and the small number of tanning agents they contain can be used daily to build up a gradual tan.
Finding a self-tanner with moisturizing ingredients is really important. It helps to hydrate and moisturize the skin, avoiding the self-tanner from clinging to any areas that are excessively dry, which can lead to blotchiness and streaks—something you really do not want to happen on your face.
If your skin is fairly smooth and even, and not in the middle of a flare up, the self-tan should help to hide the redness and blotches.
This is why using a gradual tanner is so great—you can use it daily and concentrate on the areas you need to. Once you have developed your desired tan, you can maintain it easily from there.
The moisturizing agents in the self-tanner will also help to even out your skin tone and give your skin that extra care it needs to deal with the rosacea, which also works towards achieving a more flawless, natural-looking tan all over.
Will Spray Tanning Help Cover Rosacea?
Much like self-tanners used at home, spray tanning can effectively help to lessen the redness on the skin which is caused by rosacea.
Finding the right spray tan and salon is key, however. Once you have sourced the best spray tan for your skin and performed a patch test, you should then asses the condition of your skin.
If your skin is fairly healthy and not in the middle of a flare-up, a spray tan should be fine.
If done right, the spray tan can help to even out the appearance of the skin, toning down the redness and bumps, to create an even, flawless finish, without any damage from the sun.
It is so important to find a trusted salon that can help you achieve an even application, free from streaks or blotches. There is no point trying to hide the redness and bumps only to have a spray tan which is not even.
Be sure to inform the salon of your condition, as they might offer a lighter application, so there is not too much product applied to the skin, which could cause a flare-up. Ask them to use a clear, scent-free product, one which is suited for sensitive skin. Most salons do carry these products, and even if they cost slightly more, it is worth it to avoid any irritation to your skin.
Does sunlight help rosacea?
Some people believe that Vitamin D might help the skin better deal with rosacea, but this isn’t entirely true. UV rays from the sun can trigger rosacea outbreaks and make the skin more sensitive. UV rays are known to cause lasting damage to the skin, often with irreversible effects. The sun also dries out the skin, which in turn makes rosacea harder to deal with.
Vitamin D from sunlight also has not been proven to help rosacea, so it is better to just avoid extended exposure to the sun altogether.
Can I moisturize after self-tanner?
Moisturizing creams can really help to deal with the symptoms of rosacea, and there is no reason for you to stop moisturizing after using self-tanner.
In fact, it is recommended for everyone to continue moisturizing their skin following a self-tan. This helps the self-tan last longer and helps keep the skin hydrated and looking great. Nourished skin holds a self-tan for much longer, and helps the tan fade more evenly over time.
Do I need to use separate self-tanners for my face and body?
While it all depends on the product you choose to use, it is a good idea to use a different self-tanner for your face and the rest of your body.
If you have rosacea, your facial skin tends to be more sensitive to chemicals and products. Finding a self-tanner which is more gentle and suited for sensitive facial skin will help to possibly avoid any flare-ups or breakouts on the skin.
It is also recommended to use a lighter self-tanner for your face, to make the overall tan seem more natural. Having the same color tan on your body and face might make it obvious that you have used a self-tanner, and your face might hold the self-tanner more, making it a darker shade.
Is sunless tanner bad for your skin?
Once again, this all depends on the product you choose and the condition of your skin. Certain skin conditions can be aggravated by the use of sunless tanners, and some sunless tanners contain harsh ingredients that can irritate the skin.
Choosing a gentle, natural, and organic sunless tanner is your best option to ensure less irritation or damage done to your skin. One of the most common effects experienced from sunless tanner is the drying of the skin, often due to alcohol or DHA.
This can be combatted by choosing a self-tanner that has a low amount of DHA, is alcohol-free, and which contains moisturizing agents that work to nourish and care for the skin throughout the self-tanning process.
Many of the newer self-tanning products on the market come packed with some great nourishing ingredients, which really do make a difference when it comes to caring and soothing the skin.
Can I use sunscreen on top of a self-tan?
Yes, you definitely can and most certainly should. This cannot be stressed enough.
Even if you are worried that the sunscreen might interfere with your self-tan, which it shouldn’t, the risk of harming your skin from UV rays is much worse than fading your self-tan.
It is even more important when you suffer from rosacea to protect your skin from the sun. Even if you are using a self-tanner which has a built-in SPF, it will fade, so you should still apply sunscreen daily to avoid any irritation done to your skin from the sun, which can flare up your rosacea.
Also try to wear sun-protective clothing and a hat when going out into the sun, just to give your skin that extra bit of protection that it so desperately needs.
Tanning With Rosacea
While rosacea might be a concern when it comes to self-tanning, there is no reason you should not attempt to use a gentle product, given that your skin is not inflamed or experiencing a flare-up.
There are some really wonderful self-tanning products on the market which help to nourish and care for your skin while giving it a gorgeous, sunless glow.
These ingredients help to also reduce the appearance and effects of the rosacea condition, and go a long way to even out your skin tone for a natural, smooth-looking tan.
Self-tanning should be safe at home if you find a product that does not irritate your rosacea, but you should definitely not jump outdoors for a suntan.
Damage from the sun does not only cause lasting skin problems but can make your rosacea worse and dry your skin out quite badly.
There is no reason you can’t have a gorgeous glow when suffering from rosacea, just get to know your skin and its triggers, and find a product that suits you best.