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Vitamin C for Rosacea: Does It Reduce Symptoms?

vitamin C

Rosacea can feel overwhelming at the best of times. If you have rosacea, you may have also combed through skincare aisles, looking for the perfect fix.

Vitamin C is a skincare ingredient that can soothe angry skin and support healthy-looking skin – but can it help with rosacea symptoms? Let's dive into the world of Vitamin C and its benefits.

What Is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a nutrient your body needs to make bones and maintain blood vessels. It also plays a pivotal role in your skin health, as it supports your skin battier.

Since it's such an important nutrient, you might think your body produces all of the Vitamin C it needs. However, that's not the case.

Your body doesn't produce any of its own Vitamin C and relies solely on outside sources of Vitamin C. These can include supplements, dietary sources and topical skincare products. Most people get their recommended dose of Vitamin C just through diet, but using topical skincare products to infuse Vitamin C directly into your skin can't hurt.

This is because it's quite hard to overdose on Vitamin C. Your body expels unused Vitamin C throughout the day, which is why eating foods rich in Vitamin C all day long is important.

Although topical Vitamin C comes in many different chemical formats, one of the most popular forms of Vitamin C is Ascorbic Acid. Ascorbic Acid is the purest form of Vitamin C and also one of the most potent.

Topical Vitamin C is generally considered gentle, but may cause slight irritation to very sensitive skin.

What Is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a skin condition that causes the skin to look red and irritated. While rosacea mostly affects those with fair skin and light eyes, those with darker skin tones may notice rosacea as stubborn breakouts, feelings of sensitivity or heat in the face, or bumpy skin.

Because rosacea can look like an allergic reaction, many people think it is simply an allergy. The truth is, dermatologists are still not quite sure what causes rosacea, but they do know that it goes deeper than a simple allergy.

There are four main types of rosacea:

  • Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea, which presents as blushing, flushed skin, and visible blood vessels.
  • Papulopustular rosacea, which is characterized by redness, irritation, and breakouts.
  • Phymatous rosacea, which presents as thick and bumpy skin.
  • Ocular rosacea, which is redness that affects the eyes.

Rosacea typically starts in the center of the face and radiates out over time. In severe cases, rosacea can extend to the chest and back and can even start to damage the eyes.

Rosacea can also make your skin more sensitive. This may be related to the dryness that often accompanies rosacea, or it may be related to the open blemishes that come with severe rosacea.

While Rosacea can sometimes be a constant presence, some people have rosacea that comes and goes. In this case, rosacea is often brought on by lifestyle triggers that can stress the skin, such as diet changes, skincare ingredients, or environmental changes.

Can Vitamin C Help Redness From Rosacea?

At its roots, rosacea is a medical condition. As such, we recommend working with your primary care doctor or dermatologist to find a treatment or solution that will work with your unique kind of rosacea. Unfortunately, over-the-counter (OTC) topical skincare products can't treat the underlying condition.

Skincare products may help improve the appearance of redness, dryness, and blemishes — but you should still talk to your dermatologist before using any OTC products for rosacea or other skin conditions. Here's how Vitamin C may benefit skin redness.

Powerful Antioxidant

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which means that it can track down and neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms created through the environment, in your body during digestion, and most of all, as a result of ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Free radicals can cause quite a bit of damage as they search for stability, and this damage can lead to skin irritation and redness.

Antioxidants like Vitamin C may help stabilize free radicals and stop their damage, which makes these ingredients a vital part of any soothing skincare routine. Although there are other topical antioxidants like Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Retinol (Vitamin A), and Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Vitamin C is the strongest.

Supports Even Skin Tone

Vitamin C may help reduce the appearance of general skin redness and support an overal even-looking skin tone.

Vitamin C helps improve the appearance of redness by supporting healthy skin cells. Collagen is a protein that helps your skin retain its shape, and using Vitamin C can help maintain a youthful-looking complexion even as your collagen production decreases with age.

Supports Hydration

Vitamin C supports hydration, which can help minimize the appearance of dryness and redness that result from rosacea. Specifically, Vitamin C helps support the skin barrier.

The skin barrier is the outermost layer of skin called the stratum corneum, and its main jobs are to keep water inside your body and prevent bacteria from entering your body.

When your skin barrier is compromised, you'll notice that your skin gets dry faster than usual, and your skin may feel irritated. While this may seem serious, it's easy to damage your skin barrier, and it's actually very common.

That's why we use Vitamin C in every skincare routine to help encourage hydrated and healthy-looking skin.

How Can I Use Vitamin C for Sensitive Skin?

In general, dermatologists recommend that those with sensitive skin stick to skincare products that are made for sensitive skin. This typically means no Retinoids, no Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and no Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs).

So, what can you use? Here is a Vitamin C skincare routine based on products we've formulated for sensitive skin.


The first step is always cleanser. Cleanser can help clear away impurities like sweat, oil, dirt, dead skin cell buildup, and overall grime. These impurities can build up over your day and aggravate sensitive skin.

We recommend cleansing both in the morning and in the evening. You may need to work your way up to this, but since your skin can accumulate buildup even while you're sleeping, cleansing in the morning is important for your skin health.

We recommend our Even Tone Gentle Gel Cleanser. This gentle cleanser features Niacinamide, Azelaic Acid, Kojic Acid, and Black Tea Extract to soothe, brighten and resurface your sensitive skin.


Serums are water- or oil-based skincare products typically containing high concentrations of ingredients. Because serums can be so potent, even the gentles serum might cause irritation for those with extremely sensitive skin.

To avoid this, it is generally best to start by using your serum twice a week and slowly acclimating your skin to nightly use. If you notice that even slowly tapering up to nightly use isn't working, we recommend scheduling a consultation with your dermatologist to discuss alternative skincare options.

If your skin is mildly sensitive, you may want to try our Even Tone Super Glow Serum. This serum contains a low amount of Vitamin C along with Kojic Acid and soothing ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E and Niacinamide.

If you find that even this serum causes a reaction in your skin, you can try our gentler HydraNutrient Radiance Restore Oil. This oil features Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as Rosehip Oil to resurface and brighten your skin.

Ultimately, skincare is all about listening to your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. If you pay attention to what your skin reacts to, it will show you what it needs. And if you do have sensitive skin, we recommend running any new addition to your skincare routine by your dermatologist.


After your serum, it's time to moisturize. Moisturizers are wonderful products that can help your skin retain hydration and support your skin's natural hydration mechanisms.

If you have sensitive skin, your skin is likely more prone to dryness, so it's important to stay moisturized throughout the day. It's also important to find a moisturizer that nourishes your skin barrier and your natural hydration.

Our Even Tone Barrier Repair Ceramide Cream features moisturizing and soothing Niacinamide, as well as Hyaluronic Acid (HA). HA is a humectant that helps your skin pull in moisture from the environment. Our formula also features Squalene, which helps lock in that HA and infuse moisture all day long.


The final step in your skincare routine for sensitive skin is sunscreen. Even if you don't go outside, UVA rays can damage your skin through windows and contribute to premature signs of aging.

To protect your skin against sun damage, experts recommend wearing sunscreen every morning with at least 30 SPF. For maximum efficacy, dermatologists advise applying sunscreen fifteen minutes before sun exposure and reapplying every two hours or as directed.

There are two types of sunscreen: chemical and mineral. Mineral is generally geared toward those with sensitive skin, as the chemicals used in chemical sunscreen can cause irritation.

We recommend topping off your routine with our SheerGlow™ Even Tone Daily Defense Mineral Moisturizer With SPF 30. This formula provides all of the benefits of mineral sunscreen without any of the drawbacks.

In Conclusion

Rosacea is a skin condition that still remains largely a mystery. As such, there's no skincare routine that can cure it. You should consult your dermatologist before using new skincare products if you have a skin condition like rosacea.

Some products and ingredients may help ease general skin irritation and minimize the appearance of redness or uneven skin tone.

We've listed a few of our products that are designed with sensitive skin in mind, but you can always take our skin quiz for more personalized suggestions.

By: Ivey Rogers Aesthetician Educator & Community
Engagement Manager