If your skin suffers from rosacea, you’re certainly not alone. This common chronic disorder affects approximately 16 million people in the U.S. and counting, causing a range of symptoms such as facial flushing/redness, thickened skin, irritation, pimples, and cysts. While rosacea itself isn’t fully understood, a number of factors are known to cause flare-ups, such as heat, alcohol, chemical products (e.g., hairspray), spicy foods, and stress. These outbreaks can occur any time of year, but summer presents the prime conditions for them. With that in mind, here are some ways to protect your rosacea-prone skin this summer.
Sunlight (i.e., UV radiation) is among the leading rosacea triggers, so it’s no wonder people see more outbreaks during summertime when the sun is out longer, temperatures are higher, and one’s skin is more exposed. It’s important to shield your skin from the sun’s rays regardless of rosacea, of course, but doing so can certainly help prevent or mitigate rosacea symptoms. The best way to protect yourself from the sun’s rays is by applying sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and re-applying about every 2 hours. It’s a good idea to wear sunscreen every day, even if you don’t plan on spending time outside, as the ultraviolet rays can still reach your skin through windows and other openings.
Staying screened up is essential for preventing sun damage and reducing the risk of rosacea flare-ups, but it also helps to spend your fun in the sun strategically. During the summer, the sun is highest in the sky (and therefore most potent and dangerous) between 10 A.M. and 2 P.M. Therefore, do your best to avoid outdoor activity during this 4-hour block. If you want to soak up the sun, it’s safer to do so earlier in the day and later in the afternoon. Still, it’s important to wear sunscreen regardless of how low the sun is in the sky.
You can further guarantee your skin’s protection from the sun and heat by simply staying indoors on hot, sunny days, and doing so will help your skin steer clear from rosacea symptoms. Of course, few people enjoy staying inside when the weather is nice. If you do venture outdoors, in addition to wearing sunscreen and opting for early and later hours, seek shady spots whenever possible and wear light protective clothing like a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, white t-shirt, etc.
As mentioned earlier, certain beverages and food items can trigger a rosacea response in some individuals. The usual suspects are spicy foods and alcohol. While you might be tempted to indulge with beer, cocktails, and spicy snacks this summer, keep yourself in check -- your skin will likely thank you. It’s worth mentioning that everyone reacts to different foods in unique ways, however. Your rosacea flare-ups might be triggered by something other than these items, which is why it’s important to keep tabs on what you consume and try to narrow down which drinks and foods seem to trigger rosacea symptoms in your skin.
If you’re struggling with severe rosacea and/or the tips mentioned here don’t provide the relief you’re looking for, make an appointment with a dermatologist and discuss potential treatments. Current rosacea treatment options include topical creams/ointments, oral antibiotics, acne drugs, and light-based/laser skin therapies (e.g., phototherapy). By getting to know your health history and skin type, your dermatologist can help you find the best rosacea treatment for you.
Summer may be your favorite time of year, but it can do a number on your skin if you’re not well-prepared, especially if you’re prone to rosacea. Premier Dermatology Partners is happy to provide more advice and resources regarding rosacea skin care for every season and skin type. To learn more about our providers and all the services we offer, contact us today.