Rosacea is one of the most common skin disorders, yet is often misdiagnosed as something else. Knowing you have it is key if you’re to avoid the many pitfalls associated with this volatile condition. Many beauty and lifestyle choices can actually aggravate rosacea, so I thought it would be helpful to share some key cautions to keep your skin on track.
- Don’t ignore your triggers.
Our skin is designed to protect us from our harsh environment. But in rosacea, the skin’s security alarm is tripped prematurely – so the skin ends up red and inflamed disproportionately to the threat. Take care to protect skin with mineral sunscreen to shield it from provocative UV rays without irritation, and hydrate + bundle up in protective layers to minimize the impact of low-humidity and cold chafing winds.
- Don’t ignore the effect of foods (and beverages)
Red wine is a brave choice if you have rosacea – the double whammy of vasodilating alcohol plus histamine can make for a mighty flush. The same can be true for any number of things – hot, caffeinated drinks and spicy food can both trigger the skin’s blood vessels to widen, triggering a tingly or burning sensation and visible reddening. I never tell patients to cut out something they enjoy – but if dining at home, it can help to have the room temperature on the fresher side, to manage the symptoms better if they make you self-conscious.
- Don’t overdo heat at the gym.
Bikram yoga, saunas and steam-rooms…..whilst they feel great on the muscles, they are a challenge for the skin. The main concern is that the more we push vessels to widen, the greater the chance they’ll stay in their hyper-reactive state and may potentially become fixed, and therefore permanently visible.
- Don’t product hop
Skincare is one of the big triggers for rosacea - especially with the recent interest in Actives in skincare. But it can be a bit fraught – anti-ageing skincare with meaningful ingredients is a minefield for the rosacea sufferer. Additionally, beauty boxes which encourage a ‘pick’n’mix’ approach are high-risk.
- Skip physical exfoliators.
I’m not a big fan at the best of times – but in this instance, they’re a hazard. Rosacea is inherently associated with a depleted barrier, making it harder for the skin to hang onto moisture. “My skin is always dry’ is a common complaint in the clinic. Use chemical exfoliants to help skin stay smooth yet robust and ditch the power tools.
It’s often worth visiting a dermatologist to get established on the right path – it can save a lot of heartache in the long run, as rosacea can be a very frustrating condition when managed sub-optimally. But the good news is getting a handle on it early can reduce disease progression so make taming your rosacea a priority!