Coping with Rosacea: Tips for Managing Flare-Ups | Kosmoderma

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Rosacea is a chronic (long-standing)  inflammatory skin condition that causes patchy pink spots, redness of the face, pus-filled pimples, and visible blood vessels extending from nose to cheek. When it worsens, it can spread to your back and chest too. And to top it all, some flare-ups occur with rosacea occasionally, especially with the triggers. Around 5.5% of people worldwide live with rosacea; according to the American Academy of Dermatology, multiple factors play a role in worsening the condition. 

Some of the triggers can be exposed to the sun, wind, extreme climatic conditions (very hot or cold weather), strenuous exercise, stress, medications causing dilatation of the blood vessels, chemicals in the makeup, spicy food, alcohol, etc. These increase the blood flow to the skin, making the condition worse. Dermatologists recommend that, along with the medications for treating rosacea, patients must be aware of the triggers. It is advisable to keep a journal of what you eat and drink regularly, the shampoo, creams and make-up you use, the daily activities, etc., which can cause flaring up of your rosacea. If you have identified the triggers, avoiding them and managing flare-ups becomes easy.

Some tips for managing flare-ups are:

  1. Protect your skin from the sun

If you have rosacea, it is surprising to know that a few minutes of exposure to sunlight on your skin can cause distress (redness, flushing, etc.) and be a cause of the flareup.  To prevent it:

  • Use a gentle, broad-spectrum (that covers both UVA and UVB) sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or more daily. The sunscreen should be fragrant-free and preferably contain zinc oxide and titanium oxide, as they have the least propensity to irritate your skin.
  • If possible, avoid going out when it is sunny.
  • Always wear a wide-brimmed hat and shades whenever going out in the sun.
  • Wear loose-fitting cotton clothes for comfort.
  1. Be Stressfree

In most individuals, stress can be the trigger for a flare-up. If it is in yours, then learn to manage stress by:

  • Being happy and doing things daily that you like and enjoy.
  • Find a hobby that helps relieve stress, like journaling, painting, doing yoga, meditation, etc.
  • Be a part of a forum or rosacea group that motivates and helps people to cope with the condition.
  • When you are extremely stressed, take a deep breath, hold it and then exhale slowly.
  1. Do not overheat your skin

If you have flare-ups when you get over-heated, try the tips below:

  1. Do not take hot showers, instead use lukewarm water for baths and showers
  2. If the climate is cold, dress up in many layers so that if you feel overheated, you can remove some layers; if in hot climatic conditions, wear loose-fitting cotton clothes to allow air circulation and relief.
  3. Sit in places with air-conditioners or drape a wet cloth around your neck to cool off.
  4. Sit away from fireplaces, heaters or any electronic gadgets that emit heat.       
  1. Cut Down on Spicy Foods

If eating spicy foods triggers rosacea, it is better to:

  • Use less spice in your food or eat the non-spicy version of that food. 
  • Use less spicy sauces like mild sauce instead of hot salsa.
  • If your condition is still not improving, omit spices completely from your diet.
  1. Drink Cold Beverages

Opt for cold drinks rather than hot beverages if drinking hot fluids exacerbates rosacea symptoms. Research has shown hot beverages are the main cause of rosacea flare-up in some individuals. Use these options:

  • Drink iced tea, cold coffee, cold-pressed juices, etc.
  • If the beverage is hot, allow it to cool before drinking.
  1. Be Selective While Choosing Skin Products

If you have irritation, dryness, burning sensation or a scaly feel of the skin when applying certain skin care products, then these are signs of triggers that can cause rosacea to flare up. Try these to avoid flare-ups:

  • Stop using products that are irritating your skin.
  • When buying a skincare product, always look at the ingredients- do not use products which contain menthol, camphor or sodium lauryl sulfate, as these can irritate the skin and cause redness and flushing.
  • Use gentle skin formulas made for sensitive skin
  • Avoid the use of retinoid creams as they can trigger rosacea.
  • Do not scrub, massage or wipe your face too hard, as it causes irritation and redness.
  1. Keep A Check On Your Alcohol

If your rosacea is triggered after drinking alcohol, then surely it’s red wine. You can still consume alcohol but:

  • Stop drinking red wine; instead, drink white.
  • If you are having a beer, whisky, wine, etc., it’s best to add soda or lemonade to decrease the amount of alcohol.
  • Limit social drinking to 1 to 2 glasses.
  • After drinking alcohol, have a large cold glass of water to prevent dehydration and lessen the effect of alcohol.
  1. Protect Your Skin From Wind And Cold

Cold and windy weather triggers rosacea flare-ups by causing cause windburn, in which your skin will be red and painful to touch. To prevent this, you should:

  • Avoid going out in cold weather and to places where it is windy.
  • Take your medications regularly.
  • Cover your face with a scarf (your eyes should only be seen). Use a silk or acrylic scarf. Do not use wool or rough fabric on your skin; this can also trigger a flare-up.
  • Whenever going out, apply sunscreen and emollient cream meant for rosacea.

Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory disorder with frequent flare-ups if not managed well. Follow the tips to cope with rosacea and lead a stress-free life!

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