Nothing says self-care more than pampering your skin after a long day at work. Clay mask on, wine in hand, and a bubble bath brewing – it’s the ultimate pick-me-up for feeling good AND looking good at the same time!
But for those of us with rosacea (myself included!), this self-care ritual may cause your skin more stress than relaxation. And while it may be tempting to get in on the clay mask hype, start by knowing what you’re getting yourself into first. If you’re suffering with rosacea, then you know how challenging it can be to find skincare products that don’t trigger flare ups. That’s not to say you have to skip out on clay masks altogether – they do have their fair share of benefits, after all! Just be careful, and pick the right products.
In this article, we delve deeper into the world of clay masks and how you can get in on the fun if you’re dealing with rosacea. Let the unmasking begin!
What is Rosacea?
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition characterised as having red, irritated skin, especially when triggered by certain factors. There are four types of rosacea, each varying in symptoms, severity, and overall impact on your quality of life. Regardless of the type, not all cases are worth panicking over! Some people experience mild and occasional flare ups, while others have more severe and long-term episodes. Whatever the case may be, it is best to consult a dermatologist or skin therapist to know exactly what you’re dealing with.
Now before we proceed any further, let’s be clear: Rosacea is totally different from blushing at the sight of your crush, or itching during allergy season. Although trust us, we know how bothersome those can be as well! So before you start worrying about whether you have rosacea or not, here are some trademark symptoms to look out for:
- Vascular Rosacea
This is the mildest and most common type, affecting skin color and texture more than anything. It usually occurs around the face, and sometimes on the neck and chest.
- Sensitive skin
- Skin redness and flushing
- Skin texture that is dry, rough and scaly
- Slight sensations of stinging and burning
- Swollen skin
- Visible blood vessels
- Inflammatory Rosacea
This type of rosacea has more visible effects on skin texture. As opposed to dry skin, some people experience symptoms related to oily skin.
- Breakouts similar to acne
- Oily skin
- Raised skin patches
- Raised skin bumps that usually contain pus
- Sensations of burning and stinging
- Sensitive skin
- Skin redness and flushing
- Visible blood vessels
- Phymatous Rosacea
This type of rosacea affects other internal skin structures like the sebaceous glands, which manifests as thicker facial skin. While this affects women as well, men are generally more prone to this type.
- Enlarged pores
- Thick skin around the facial features, especially the nose
- Skin bumps
- Skin redness and flushing
- Visible blood vessels
- Ocular Rosacea
This type of rosacea affects the eye area specifically. If not treated properly, it could lead to long-term problems
- Dry and itchy eyes
- Eye redness
- Eye sensitivity to the light
- Eyes that feel grainy or sandy
- Sensations of burning and stinging in the eyes
- Visible blood vessels in the eyes
- Watery eyes
- For more severe cases: You may experience blurry vision and the appearance of cysts in the eye area
What Causes Rosacea?
Interestingly enough, although more than 5% of the world population has some form of rosacea, not much is known about what exactly causes it. Like most skin conditions, some people are just more susceptible to it than others! The widely accepted reason is a combination of these hereditary and environmental factors.
Some people possess certain genes that predispose them to manifesting symptoms. It is not unusual to find a family with more than one member with rosacea. In my case, more than half of us have it. However, just because it’s hereditary, that doesn’t mean it cannot be avoided! That’s where this next bit comes in handy.
- Sensitive or reactive skin
Rosacea is often associated with sensitive skin. While that technically makes sense, it is more accurate to say that people with this condition are more reactive to certain external factors, like the environment and food. Now, be warned, most of the common rosacea triggers are things we all love! It’s a huge commitment to start this lifestyle change, so if you cannot avoid them completely, at least enjoy them in moderation.
- Food that contains cinnamaldehyde, like citrus fruits, chocolate, cinnamon, and tomatoes
- Hot drinks like coffee and tea
- Spicy food
- Sun or hot weather
- Wind or cold weather
That said, there are other factors mistakenly identified as rosacea triggers, but actually aren’t. Let’s debunk the most common misconceptions!
Rosacea is NOT contagious.
There is a big difference between bacteria that triggers rosacea and causes rosacea. If you do not have this condition in the first place, it is impossible to get it from someone else. In fact, the bacteria that triggers rosacea is naturally present on everyone’s skin to begin with. It just so happens that people with rosacea react to it differently. In such cases, antibiotics are usually given as a form of treatment.
Rosacea is NOT caused by poor hygiene.
While proper hygiene habits should always be a priority, skipping showers will not trigger your rosacea. On the contrary, your soaps and cleansers may actually be causing your flare ups! Given your reactive skin, it is best to stay away from skincare products with these ingredients:
- Acids like glycolic acid and salicylic acid
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Sodium lauryl sulfate, a cleansing ingredient found in soap that strips away your skin from natural oils
- Witch Hazel
Now that we’re on the topic of skincare, let’s talk clay masks!
Benefits of Clay Masks
Face masks first caught the world’s attention as a fun and relaxing way to do skincare at home. While we were getting used to the typical motions of cleansing, moisturising, and exfoliating, here came a new and unique way of caring for the skin, while enjoying it in the process – from applying to tightening to peeling! They have since become staples during self-care nights at home or sleepovers with our girl friends. The best part is, they are just as beneficial as they are playful!
Clay masks, in particular, are known to cleanse and exfoliate the skin. For people with acne-prone or oily skin types, clay has been proven to effectively clear up pimples and reduce breakouts in just one use! If that wasn’t impressive enough, they also help to get rid of infection and bacteria, minimise the appearance of our pores, lessen inflammation, and – in some cases – appear to tighten aging and saggy skin. Phew, that was a mouthful! Or should we say, faceful (of benefits)!
Can You Use Clay Masks If You Have Rosacea?
Needless to say, clay masks boast of a slew of incredible benefits, but can people with rosacea join in on the fun? The short answer – yes, but with caution!
Clay is a natural, soap-free detoxifier with anti-inflammatory properties. That gives it a unique ability to remove your skin’s dirt and excess oils, all while providing soothing support at the same time. In that regard, it has all the makings of a helpful product for people with rosacea, especially when facing flare ups. Just keep in mind that not all masks are created the same. Some may not treat rosacea-prone skin with the extra care it deserves, or worse, they may have ingredients that could lead to adverse reactions.
That said, as with all things skin care, you will never truly know a product’s effect until you try it for yourself. If you have rosacea, then you know how true this is! In my personal experience, I’ve had to experiment with several routines until I found one that fit my condition best! If you do decide to give clay masks a try, we recommend sticking to certain types of clays known to be more gentle on the skin.
Bentonite clay is a unique mud-like material derived from volcanic ash. Long before it gained popularity as a modern-day skincare product, it was used as an all-natural remedy for centuries. It was known to improve skin and hair, cure infections, stomach pains and even diarrhea. Many now refer to it as a ‘healing clay’ in skin care, capable of cleansing dirt, killing toxins, and absorbing excess oil.
Moreover, when it comes to rosacea, its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties prove to be helpful in unclogging pores, getting rid of dry patches, and calming inflammation without irritation. In fact, it has become especially popular among those with eczema, a condition with similar dry and itchy symptoms as rosacea. Although there are not many clinical studies to support these claims, personal testaments have circulated through the years, and many praise bentonite clay as an effective treatment for skin conditions.
Kaolin Clay is another popular type of clay used by people with rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. Also called ‘white clay’ with origins in China, it poses the same great benefits as other natural clays. But its biggest advantage is its gentle effect on the skin! It is said to be the mildest of all the clays, with a pH level of 4, which is the optimal pH level of your skin. This makes it a good option for people with all skin types, including those with sensitive and dry skin – yup, that’s you, rosacea!
Last in the roster of rosacea-friendly skin clays is Rhassoul Clay. It is another natural clay with an interesting background – this brown clay is found in the Atlas mountains in Morocco. Like other clays, it is rich in natural minerals, specifically magnesium, iron, and other metallic elements. This helps it cling to toxins and strip it away from the skin. Apart from being good for acne, it has a unique ability to improve skin elasticity. For that reason, it usually appeals to people with a specific skin condition – mature skin, excess oil, and dead skin cells. If you have rosacea coupled with these problems, you may want to give this one a try!
Risks of Clay Masks on Rosacea-Prone Skin
With all these options now on your radar, you may feel the urge to start building your collection of clay masks. But before you lay down your money on clay powder, clay sheet mask packs, and similar products, there are some downsides you need to consider.
- Overdoing it can have an intense drying effect on your skin. And since rosacea is prone to dry and flaky skin, this may add to your problem.
- Retail clay masks have different formulations. Depending on the skincare brand, they may contain other ingredients that can cause dry skin, itchiness, redness, rashes and other irritating effects for people with rosacea.
- And lastly, clay masks alone will not be enough to manage rosacea symptoms. If you’re hoping for a one-done deal, then you may have to lower your expectations.
For people with rosacea, trying new skincare products will always come with risks. But that shouldn’t stop you from exploring products that could potentially help you in the long run. The best thing you can do is proceed with care and practice these tips when using your clay mask!
Clay Mask Tips for Rosacea-Prone skin
- First thing’s first – get the go-signal from the experts! Consult a dermatologist or skin therapist, and let them know about your desire to try clay masks. That way, they’ll be able to properly assess your rosacea condition and recommend the best products for you. They may even suggest a more helpful solution!
- Do research on clay masks you intend to buy. Ideally, look for one that specifies it is good for rosacea or sensitive skin. Or at the very least, read the ingredients lists and stay away from the irritants we mentioned above. Instead, opt for one with natural ingredients that are hydrating, calming, and moisturizing. If possible, spend time reading reviews as well! This is the closest you’ll get to a personal experience.
- Do a patch before applying your clay mask. Anyone with rosacea or skin sensitivities should make this a habit before using a new skincare product! Take a portion of the product and apply on your skin. Wait for a few hours and watch out for any adverse reactions.
- Don’t use your clay masks too often. Start with once every two weeks, and see how your skin reacts. If it doesn’t show signs of irritation, you can work your way up to once a week.
- When applying your clay mask, don’t leave it on for too long, especially if it’s your first time using it. Remember, rosacea-prone skin is easily triggered. If it is exposed to something for the first time, it may react badly.
- After masking, proceed with your usual moisturizer or calming cream. Although clay masks help with excess oil, they can also be drying and tightening. You’ll want to soothe your skin just in case.
Now, before you get your hands dirty with clay masks, allow us to leave you with these parting words: Remember, rosacea is a high-maintenance condition, and there is no one way to address it. We all have different experiences, triggers, and solutions. Whatever the case may be, it pays to be intentional about choosing the right products and practicing the right measures. We have a dedicated article all about handy tips for rosacea, many of which you can do from home. And If all else fails, you can always consult us professionals!
Our skin specialists at Lovoir Skin Body & Beauty can guide you through the best and safest course of treatment for your rosacea symptoms. We have a variety of beauty treatments that make use of facial masks to help address different skin conditions. Book a consultation with us today, and we’ll customise a treatment plan that best suits your needs!