Rosacea is a common skin condition that affects about 14 million adults in the United States. Symptoms include redness, pimples, a bulbous nose, and irritated eyes. While it’s not dangerous, rosacea can be unsightly and may make you feel self-conscious.
It’s not clear what causes rosacea, but it does tend to affect fair-skinned people over the age of 30 who have a tendency to blush more easily than others. More women than men get rosacea, although such famous men as Bill Clinton and Prince William have experienced infamous rosacea flare-ups. There is thought to be a genetic component as well; Princess Diana also had rosacea.
There is no cure for this skin condition. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, and they tend to come and go. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to manage and reduce rosacea flare-ups.
Know your rosacea triggers
Not everyone has the same triggers. By identifying yours, you can reduce your incidences of flare-ups and keep your skin clear. Common triggers include:
- Sun exposure
- Hot weather
- Certain foods, such as spicy dishes
- Strenuous exercise
Keeping a journal for a period of time can help you figure out what elements or circumstances are more likely to trigger your flare-ups.
Create a management plan
Once you’ve figured out your triggers, you should create a plan that will help you avoid them. Things like hot beverages or spicy foods are easier to avoid than other triggers, like humidity and stress, but you might be able to identify simple lifestyle or schedule changes that can minimize your risk of a flare-up.
Try to exercise in the early morning or late afternoon when it tends to be cooler. You might also practice yoga and meditation to reduce your stress levels. Your dermatologist can help you create a strategy that’s personalized to your triggers.
Use sunscreen and protect yourself from the sun
It’s important for everyone to use sunscreen regularly to help protect against skin cancer, but it’s especially important if you have rosacea. According to the National Rosacea Society, sun exposure is a top trigger for rosacea flare-ups.
But not all sunscreens are created equal. Look for a non-chemical sunscreen that has:
- Zinc or titanium dioxide, or both
- Broad UV protection, meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays
- SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher
In addition to sunscreen, hats and glasses can further protect you against sun exposure, wind, and other irritating elements.
Avoid products that may irritate your skin
The average woman uses 12 different skincare products. In those products, there are a lot of ingredients with the potential to irritate your skin. Ingredients to avoid include alcohol, astringents, and menthol.
Products labeled “for sensitive skin” or “hypoallergenic” will be the least likely to irritate. Of course, if any product burns or stings, stop using it immediately. Fragrance-free products also tend to have fewer skin irritants. Your dermatologist can help you identify the best products for your skin.
If your rosacea does not respond to lifestyle management therapies, there are a variety of medications that can help treat rosacea. Options include topical antibiotic creams, oral antibiotics, and prescription oral acne medications. After a thorough evaluation of your skin and overall health, your dermatologist can prescribe the best medication for you.
If you have rosacea, call Dr. Bruce Saal at Los Gatos Dermatology in Los Gatos, California, or make an appointment online to learn more about managing flare-ups and keeping your skin clear.