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5 Tips for Preventing a Rosacea Flare-Up

If you’re one of the roughly 16 million Americans with rosacea, you know how embarrassing and frustrating the condition can be. Symptoms like skin redness and tiny, acne-like bumps can make you feel really self-conscious, especially when those symptoms flare up unexpectedly.

Although there’s no cure for rosacea, there are medical treatments that can reduce your symptoms, and there are several things you can do, too. 

In honor of National Rosacea Awareness Month, our board-certified dermatologists, Edward Stolar, MD, and Todd Perkins, MD, and our entire team at Metroderm DC offer this list of five simple tips to help you reduce your rosacea flare-ups.

Avoid full sun

Warm sunshine might feel good on your skin, but it can do a lot of damage, too. Not only can too much sun cause sunburn and premature aging of your skin, but many rosacea sufferers find sun exposure increases the risk of symptom flares. 

In fact, one survey found 81% of rosacea sufferers reported sun exposure made their symptoms worse.

Avoiding the sun doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors all day long. But you should avoid the midday sun, when UV rays are their strongest. 

It also means you should wear sunscreen every day, preferably one with an SPF of at least 30, and reapply it throughout the day to provide your skin with the protection it needs to stay healthy.

Learn to manage stress

Stress is one of the major culprits of rosacea flare-ups. That’s because stress increases inflammation throughout your body, including your skin. 

Many of our rosacea patients find their symptoms are worse during a single stressful period or event. But if you suffer from chronic stress, the inflammatory responses will continue, too. Over time, your flare-ups can become much worse, with symptoms persisting much of the time.

Cut out spicy foods

Spices — especially hot varieties — add a lot of flavor and interest to food. But they can also make your rosacea symptoms a lot worse. In fact, even people who don’t have rosacea can wind up looking flushed and pink after an especially spicy meal.

The hot spices dilate blood vessels on your face, increasing blood flow and creating that pinkish tone. It’s not harmful, but if you have rosacea, repeated vessel dilations can make your symptoms last longer and worsen your symptoms over time.

Skip the alcohol

Just like spicy foods, alcohol can cause the tiny vessels on your face to dilate. People without rosacea can experience this effect, but if you have rosacea, do all you can to avoid vessel dilation so you don’t worsen your symptoms. 

Some research suggests red wine is a major cause of alcohol-related flare-ups. But generally, any type of alcohol can cause vessel dilation. Ideally, limit yourself to one or two drinks and have a glass of cold water after each drink to reduce flushing.

Keep a diary

Even though rosacea flare-ups can look the same on different people, what causes those flare-ups can vary from one person to another. Knowing your triggers is the first step toward avoiding them. 

Keep a diary of your flares and symptoms, including what you’re doing, eating, and using on your skin during and just before a flare-up. A diary can help you understand how to manage your symptoms. 

The National Rosacea Society offers a free diary on their website, or you can use a plain notebook to record your skin symptoms for at least a few weeks.

Let us help you manage your rosacea symptoms

Managing rosacea is a lifelong commitment, and with a skilled dermatologist by your side, you can be sure your treatment stays on track. To learn how we can help you manage your rosacea symptoms successfully and effectively, call our Washington, DC, practice or book an appointment online today.

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