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8 tips to help prevent rosacea flare-ups


ROSEMONT, Ill. (March 12, 2019) — Rosacea is a common skin condition that causes redness to form across the nose and cheeks. According to dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology, multiple factors — including sunlight, stress, and many foods and beverages — can play a role in worsening rosacea symptoms. In addition to seeing a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment, patients can help control their condition and prevent it from getting worse by identifying and avoiding the things that cause their rosacea to flare.

“Rosacea makes the skin extremely sensitive, and as a result, many things — what we call triggers — can make the condition worse,” says board-certified dermatologist Arielle N.B. Kauvar, MD, FAAD. “Although triggers can vary from one person to the next, a good way to help pinpoint your triggers is to keep a journal of the things you eat and drink, the personal care products you use, and the things you’re exposed to that could cause your rosacea to flare. Once you have identified your triggers, it’s important to avoid them to prevent flare-ups.”

Dr. Kauvar recommends the following tips, based on common triggers, to help avoid rosacea flare-ups:

  1. Protect your skin from the sun. Sun exposure is one of the most common causes of rosacea flare-ups. Even people with dark skin tones can have a flare-up after being outdoors in the sun. To protect your skin, seek shade and wear protective clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection, whenever possible. In addition, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all exposed skin every day you’re going to be outside. Make sure the sunscreen is fragrance-free, and look for the active ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, as they are least likely to irritate sensitive skin.
  2. Minimize stress. If stress causes your rosacea to flare, find an activity that helps relieve your stress and do it often. Common outlets for stress include exercise, meditation, tai chi or joining a rosacea support group.
  3. Avoid overheating — even during exercise. Take warm baths and showers rather than hot ones, and sit far enough away from fireplaces, heaters and other heat sources so that you don’t feel the direct warmth. If you’re working out, keep supplies with you to help you cool down, such as a cold water bottle, or a towel that you can dip in cold water and drape around your neck. It’s also a good idea to dress in layers so you can remove clothing if you get too warm.
  4. Simplify your skin care routine. Skin care plays an important role in keeping rosacea under control, as many skin care products are too harsh for people with rosacea. When shopping for skin care products, look for mild, gentle formulas made for sensitive skin. Avoid any skin care products that contain menthol, camphor, sodium lauryl sulfate and alcohol, as these can trigger flare-ups. Products that contain retinoids can irritate your skin and may need to be avoided or used less frequently. In addition, be gentle to your skin and do not rub, scrub or massage your face.
  5. Opt for mild foods. Since spicy foods often trigger rosacea symptoms, opt for milder versions of your favorite dishes. If your rosacea still flares, it’s best to avoid spicy foods altogether.
  6. Opt for cold beverages. Studies show that the heat from hot beverages can cause some people’s rosacea to flare. Try iced coffee or tea instead, or let your beverage cool first before drinking it.
  7. Limit alcohol. When it comes to flare-ups from alcohol, red wine may be the biggest culprit. If you choose to drink, consider beverages other than red wine, and limit your intake to one or two drinks with a cold glass of water in between.
  8. Protect your face from wind and cold. Wearing a scarf is a great option for protecting your skin against the elements. Look for scarves made of silk or acrylic, and avoid wool and other rough-feeling fabrics, as these can trigger a flare-up.

“Without treatment, rosacea symptoms can worsen and include permanent redness, visible blood vessels, burning and stinging, and acne-like breakouts,” Dr. Kauvar says. “That’s why it’s important to see a dermatologist for treatment, as well as understand what causes your condition to flare and avoid those triggers.”

These tips are demonstrated in “How to Prevent Rosacea Flare-Ups,” a video posted to the AAD website and YouTube channel. This video is part of the AAD’s “Video of the Month” series, which offers tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair and nails. A new video in the series posts to the AAD website and YouTube channel each month.

More Information

Rosacea: Overview
Rosacea: Signs and symptoms
Rosacea: Who gets and causes
Rosacea: Diagnosis and treatment
Rosacea: Tips for managing

About the AAD
Headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 20,000 physicians worldwide, the AAD is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the AAD at (888) 462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow the AAD on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin), Instagram (@AADskin1), or YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).