Rosacea leaving you red in the face? We asked leading dermatologist Dr. Natasha Cook to explain its triggers as well as possible causes and some solves for soothing flare ups.

Rosacea, sensitivity and dehydration are on the rise

Batten down your skin barrier. The colder weather is here. If Autumn 2023 is anything to go by, we’re in for an icy winter, which means skin sensitivity can truly flare up. Those who struggle with rosacea, sensitivity and dehydration will know just what a (literal) pain these conditions can be when the mercury plummets.

What can be done? It helps to first look at what might be causing the issue.

“Some people are definitely more genetically predisposed to sensitivity and reactive flushing skin,” explains Dr. Natasha. “How your skin ends up is related to how you look after it, your lifestyle and the environmental factors you expose it to. I personally don’t believe in skin type. Your skin is constantly changing with the seasons and your environment. I believe in the fundamentals of the skin’s physiology and preventing and treating common skin problems with a simple routine. You need a skincare routine that can work with you and your environment, all year round.”

Common Triggers Of Rosacea, Sensitivity and Dehydration

“The role of winter is greatly underestimated for flaring rosacea,” says Dr. Natasha. “In fact, it’s even worse than summer’s triggers (excessive heat and sun exposure). Humidity drops in winter, which results in moisture loss from the skin. This results in skin feeling tighter, dryer and itchier. It also can appear dry, flakey and blotchy. As winter progresses, the lack of humidity continues to suck moisture out of the skin, thereby weakening its barrier.”

The solution is either integrating new products or changing your routine to ensure your skin is nourished with the correct concentrations of active ingredients all year round. It’s a great idea to incorporate Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) into your routine, suggests Dr. Natasha.

“It’s one of the most powerful, multi-tasking ingredients and should be in everyone’s routine. Often misunderstood as only having benefits for regulating sebum production and acne, vitamin B3 actually has benefits for rosacea and sensitivity. It reinforces the skin’s epidermal barrier. As the body absorbs the vitamin B3, it’s broken down into the fuel that reboots and repairs your skin on a cellular level, helping to repair DNA, reverse sun damage and calm pigmentation.

Products to integrate into your routine to help combat Rosacea, Sensitivity and Dehydration

Developing a winter-specific skincare routine in that addresses the season’s conditions is the best way to prevent your skin from increased dryness, sensitivity and rosacea.


“Ensure that you have a gentle soothing cleanser,” says Natasha. “I always recommend avoiding micro beads, detergents and cleansers that foam. Some gel washes and cleansers claim to be soap free. However, if they foam when mixed with water then [it’s likely] the product has surfactants in it, which are basically the same as soap.”

“Surfactants and soaps can strip your skin of its naturally occurring oils, leaving it dry and tight. They can also create sensitivity due to physical abrasion. Using the wrong ingredients on skin already environmentally compromised can exacerbate conditions of sensitivity, dehydration, rosacea and acne. Look for a cleanser that is boosted with vitamins in the correct concentrations, as well as soothing botanicals and a moisturising agent like glycerin.

Try Dr: NC Concentrated Cleanser. The gentle, soap-free formula is great for all skin types, especially sensitive an acne-prone skin. It removes debris, makeup and daily grime without depleting your skin of its naturally occurring oils. This cleanser is also boosted with botanical anti inflammatories and vitamin B3, so it helps protect skin from environmental ageing and damage.


“Sensitive, dry and rosacea-affected skin needs added nutrients from serums,” says Dr. Natasha.

Again, look for serums with vitamin B3 and other supportive ingredients like peptides.

Try Dr:NC Concentrated Illuminator. This liquid skin brightener doses skin with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients. It helps to smooth skin tone and protects against environmental ageing and sun damage.


You’ll also need a heavy duty hydrating cream, with lots of moisture support.

“The right combination of humectants will lock much needed moisture into your skin while reinforcing the skin’s epidermal barrier. Look for ingredients such as medical grade lanolin, shea butter and glycerin. If you get the right hydrating moisturiser it should integrate into the skin without feeling too occlusive and keep you hydrated for long periods protecting from heating, aircon and the winter elements.

Try Dr. NC Concentrated Hydration+. It contains Shea butter, refined Lanolin and glycerin to deliver long term moisture. Vitamin B3 increases levels of ceramides in your epidermis, an essential natural moisturising factor.

Don’t forget Sunblock

The sun can harm your skin all year round, especially in Australia.

“Don’t forget your SPF,” heeds Dr. Natasha. “Even though it’s winter we are still prone to UV damage.”

Dr: NC Products
Shonagh Walker is one of Australia's most prolific and respected lifestyle writers, covering everything from health and beauty to travel and entertainment. In her 30+ year career she has interviewed some of the world's most famous faces, covered stories from the lighthearted to the very serious, all with the aim of somehow helping her readers feel better about themselves, or arming them with information to enjoy life to the fullest. Shonagh is the recipient of several prestigious awards for her work. On the rare day she is not at her computer, she can be found walking her dogs or trying to improve her gardening skills.