Q: What is a barrier repair moisturizer? And is it an effective way to treat my rosacea?
A: Acting as a barrier against external insults to the body is one of the primary functions of the skin, so a moisturizer that repairs the barrier and promotes healing is a great idea, especially if you suffer from rosacea, says Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center. Look for a moisturizing formula containing ceramides, fatty acids, and cholesterol, all of which will help minimize symptoms of redness, stinging, and dryness. (Try CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion, $14; drugstores.)
Keep in mind: Severe redness caused by rosacea can be reduced by treatments with intense pulsed light or pulsed dye laser in the doctor's office.
Q: Would a chemical peel improve my rosacea symptoms?
A: Possibly, yes. Glycolic acid peels at low concentrations (20 to 40 percent), along with topical or oral antibiotics, are often used to treat the redness and the dilated blood vessels that are symptomatic of the condition, says Arielle Kauvar, MD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at NYU School of Medicine. The peels are usually performed at two- to three-week intervals in a doctor's office, and supplemented with a daily glycolic wash or cream. For removing large capillaries or reducing redness, two to five laser treatments about a month apart are an option.
Keep in mind: Though a chemical peel can help relieve rosacea symptoms, if you have very dry, sensitive skin, you may not be able to tolerate one; in that case, try a barrier-repair moisturizer and a nonirritating sunscreen along with topical or oral antibiotics.