Q & A: No more frizz!: Moisturizers for rosacea patients, anti-frizz product ingredients revealed

January 1, 2009

Rosacea patients comprise the biggest group of individuals with sensitive skin. This sensitive skin is thought to be due, in part, to a defective barrier and vasomotor instability. Thus, any topically applied substance that causes noxious sensory stimuli, vasodilation or irritation can result in a rosacea flare.

Keypoints:

Q. What type of moisturizer is appropriate for the rosacea patient?

Ingredients that cause noxious sensory stimuli include volatile substances, such as lightweight alcohols and substances that create a cooling sensation, such as menthol. Any substances that are higher or lower than a neutral pH are also prone to cause stinging and burning. Vasodilation may occur concomitantly with these ingredients, but also could be seen with some of the new self-warming formulations for facial cleansing and moisturizing.

Rosacea patients are best treated with highly emollient moisturizers that smooth the skin surface and create an artificial barrier to other irritants. The best ingredient that fulfills these needs is dimethicone. Dimethicone has a light feeling when placed over the skin and is easily removed with water.

In general, the easiest recommendation for a rosacea patient is to select a facial moisturizer that has silicone as the second, third or fourth ingredient on the packaging, and fewer than 15 other ingredients.

Q. How do the new anti-frizz haircare products work?

A. A new category of haircare products is known as "anti-frizz" conditioners and hair moisturizers. In general, hair frizz is created by hair that has a damaged cuticle, either from too much grooming, dyeing, perming or straightening. The damaged hair is subject to static electricity accounting for the frizz, which represents negatively charged hair shafts that repel one another. Most of the anti-frizz haircare products contain dimethicone and a polymer, such as polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) and/or vinyl acetate (VA), to restore manageability to the damaged hair shafts.

A Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D., is a Dermatology Times editorial adviser and investigator, Dermatology Consulting Services, High Point, N.C.

Questions may be submitted via e-mail to zdraelos@northstate.net.