Lifestyle Changes to Manage Rosacea
by Amy Scholten, MPH
The steps that you can take to help manage your rosacea are mostly focused on reducing flare-ups. A number of factors can cause your rosacea symptoms to flare up. However, these factors vary among people with rosacea. It is unlikely that every trigger will cause you to have a flare-up. Common triggers include:
The steps you can take to help reduce your risk of a flare-up and to manage your symptoms when they occur include the following:
You can also take steps to manage the emotional effects of rosacea.
You can reduce stress by taking care of yourself. This means eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, and having enough time for rest and recreation. A variety of relaxation techniques can also help you to cope more effectively with stress. Examples include meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and biofeedback.
Protect Yourself From Certain Weather Conditions
Sun, hot weather, humidity, cold, and wind can trigger rosacea flare-ups in many people. The following tips can help you to protect yourself:
Sun exposure —Stay out of the sun between 10 AM and 2 PM during the summer. Wear a gentle, non-irritating sunscreen with at least an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or higher all year long. A wide-rimmed hat can help shade your face.
Heat, humidity —Try not to overexert yourself during a flare-up of rosacea. If possible, stay in a cool, air-conditioned environment. Keep your face cool with a cold cloth. Sip cold drinks or chew on some ice.
Cold or windy weather —Limit your time outdoors. Cover up with ski masks or scarfs. Use a moisturizer with SPF on your face daily to protect it from the drying effects of cold and wind.
Watch What You Eat and Drink
Keep track of foods and beverages that cause your symptoms to flare up. If you notice that your rosacea gets worse after eating certain foods, avoid them or make some modifications. Some people with rosacea find that they have to reduce their intake of caffeine and alcohol or avoid it completely. Hot spices such as white and black pepper, red pepper, paprika, and cayenne can cause a problem for some people. It may also help to reduce the temperature of hot beverages such as coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
Exercise in Moderation
Intense exercise can cause a flare-up of rosacea symptoms in some people. This may be the result of increased blood flow to the face or overheating. Therefore, make every effort to stay as cool as possible during exercise. Avoid heavy exercise and try shorter, more frequent workouts. Exercise during cooler parts of the day like early morning or early evening. When you exercise inside, make sure that you have proper ventilation such as open windows, fans, or air conditioning. Wear clothing that “breathes,” and keep a cool, wet cloth around your neck during hot weather. Also, keep a spray bottle with cool water for your face.
Be Gentle With Your Skin
Treat your face gently. Avoid any skin care products that cause stinging, burning, or itching. It’s best to use skin care products with little or no added fragrance. Use a smooth and gentle cleanser, and don’t use rough facecloths, brushes, or sponges. Keep water temperature lukewarm when bathing or washing your face. Don’t use saunas or hot tubs. Men should use electric shavers rather than a blade.
Talk to Your Doctor or Dermatologist
Talk to your doctor or dermatologist about how you can reduce your risk of triggering flare-ups of rosacea. Certain medical conditions such as menopausal hot flashes, fevers, and systemic diseases can cause flushing and trigger a rosacea flare-up. Drugs such as vasodilators and topical steroids can also aggravate rosacea. Get advice from your doctor about how these or other situations can affect rosacea.
Reducing the Emotional Impact of Rosacea
Rosacea changes the appearance of your skin. You may feel embarrassed and self-conscious as a result of these changes. It is quite normal to feel this way, but you can help turn this situation around by taking a few steps. First, get the medical treatment you need to keep your rosacea under control. Second, make the lifestyle changes you need to reduce flare-ups. Lastly, you can apply makeup to hide blemishes, tiny blood vessels, and redness. Green-tinted prefoundations are recommended to mask redness, and can be covered with a skin tone foundation. Powders are not recommended.
Management options for rosacea. National Rosacea Society website. Available at: https://www.rosacea.org/patients/managementoptions/index.php. Accessed December 27, 2017.
Rosacea. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116224/Rosacea . June 8, 2017. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Rosacea. DermNet New Zealand website. Available at: https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/rosacea. Updated June 2014. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Rosacea: Living with it. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/rosacea#tab-living-with. Updated April 30, 2016. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Rosacea: Tips for managing. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/rosacea#tips. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 12/20/2014
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