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Home / Skin Health Center / Rosacea / Best Prevention Tips for Your Rosacea Flare-Ups

Best Prevention Tips for Your Rosacea Flare-Ups

By: Andrea Cespedes , Reviewed By: Dr. Emmy Graber

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Rosacea affects over 16 million Americans and it's most common among women ages 30 to 60. If you're one of them, you know how uncomfortable an outbreak can be, both physically and mentally — affecting not only your appearance, but also the way you feel about yourself. There is no cure for rosacea, but you can control outbreaks by steering clear of your triggers. Although these are different for each person, sun exposure, stress, extreme temperatures and certain foods, skin care products and medications are contributors to rosacea outbreaks.

Avoid Sun Exposure

Exposure to sunlight is one of the primary triggers for rosacea. This includes even minimal exposure to the sun, such as while running errands on a sunny day. Everyone should protect their skin with sunblock when outdoors, but it's especially important for people with rosacea. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher year-round before going outdoors. The National Rosacea Society recommends non-chemical sunscreens containing zinc or titanium dioxide.

Reduce Stress

Emotional stress is linked to a range of physiological reactions affecting all systems of the body, including the skin. Family problems, issues at work, relationship crises and financial concerns ranked highest on the list of stressors that contributed to the survey participants' outbreaks. If stress is one of your triggers, a stress management plan is crucial to preventing outbreaks. Techniques can include taking care of the whole self, including a healthy diet and regular exercise; deep-breathing exercises and stretching out all the muscles of the body.

Avoid Fluctuating Temperatures

For many, extreme temperatures shifts such as hot and cold weather, hot baths, saunas and strenuous exercise that cause the body to heat up can all be triggers. Humidity and indoor heating systems also reportedly triggered outbreaks. Overheating yourself internally through exertion can cause blood vessels to expand, which may cause rosacea symptoms to worsen. Track your responses to different temperatures and environments to see what causes an outbreak for you; but generally, avoid excessive heat and cold, keep cool inside on hot and humid days and cover your cheeks and nose with a scarf when venturing out into frigid winter weather. Regular use of sunscreen and a facial lubricant may help mitigate rosacea symptoms.

Track Your Dietary Triggers

While foods are less consistent triggers—affecting less than one-third of people with rosacea—they can still result in a reaction. Spicy foods and foods high in histamines—think sauerkraut, pickles and deli meat have been linked to flare-ups. Also be cautious of anything that contains sulfites, including dried fruit, vinegar and many condiments, as they may also irritate your system. Beverages can also be culprits. Having a drink— whether it's a glass of white wine or a vodka tonic—can trigger the redness and discomfort of rosacea. It's a good idea to avoid the most common triggers, and keep track of your reactions to less common triggers so you know what else to avoid.

Avoid Certain Products and Medications

With rosacea, you have to be especially careful of what you put on your skin. Avoid products containing alcohol, witch hazel and fragrances, hydro-alcoholic or acetone ingredients and anything that causes a stinging sensation or redness. Certain prescription medications can also worsen rosacea, specifically vasodilators — often prescribed for high blood pressure and congestive heart failure — and rash medications and topical steroids. Inform your prescribing physician of your condition and ask about any potential interactions. If you're overly stressed or anxious, you may be more vulnerable to a rosacea flare-up. An attack of coughing, menopause and caffeine-withdrawal can increase symptoms, too. Consider keeping a diary to record symptoms and possible causes like facial products or medications. Over time, you may notice a pattern to help in identifying those relevant to you.

This article has been reviewed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Emmy Graber.

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