This is a guest post, courtesy of Dr. Craig Crippen from DermMedica.
Rosacea is an unfortunate skin condition that most commonly affects the face with red, bumpy skin and has no known cure.
There is some level of mystery about why people get it and what exactly causes the symptoms to flare up and get worse.
However, enough is known about how to treat it to alleviate the symptoms and maybe even put it into remission, as well as some general ideas of what can cause flare ups. If you want to try and keep your rosacea symptoms under control in between your treatments, there are a few ways to help.
Follow Proper Skincare Routines
Since Rosacea is a skin condition, it is very important to follow a proper skincare routine that will help alleviate some symptoms while avoiding any flare ups. The skin affected by rosacea will be highly sensitive, so your skincare routine needs to be gentle and not too frequent.
Some people think that rosacea is a result of dirty skin, or that they can treat it by using lots of products and really scrubbing the affected area. Unfortunately, if you use harsher products, more abrasive scrubbing materials, and try and clean your skin too often you will actually make the symptoms even worse.
Instead, you should be very deliberate with how you manage your skincare, and do not go overboard with your routines. Here are some general tips to follow:
- Use cleansers gentle liquid cleansers that don’t include any kind of soap, exfoliating element, toners, or other harsh chemicals
- Use your fingertips instead of any cloth, brush or sponge and touch the area very gently
- Use lukewarm water that is not too hot or too cold, as any extreme temperature can worsen the condition
Gentle skincare products and routines will avoid irritating the affected area, which can increase the severity of your symptoms. It will also help strengthen your skin’s natural health to fight the condition by itself, which is the main goal of any treatments for rosacea.
Use Proper Moisturizers & Skincare Products
The key to being proactive in managing your rosacea is strengthening your skin’s natural protective barrier, and keeping it hydrated. Moisturizing an area of skin affected by rosacea can help limit the symptoms, and increase your levels of comfort. You should use natural oils such as coconut oil, aloe, and other essential oils that reduce the inflammation of your skin and restore hydration to the affected area.
The good news is that natural treatments and products also tend to be less irritating to your skin, so they improve your skin’s health without worsening the symptoms. They also tend to be more affordable compared to other skincare and prescription products full of different kinds of chemicals
Change Your Diet
You should also be proactive with your diet, where the same principles apply as with the above sections — avoid flushing or irritating your skin, and do what you can to strengthen your skin’s health. It is a myth that coffee, caffeine, spicy foods or even sugar can cause people to get rosacea, or that they worsen the symptoms.
What you should avoid is any food or drink that is too hot or too cold in temperature, as the steam or coldness can worsen the symptoms. Instead, you should focus your diet on the following that have been found to have possible connections:
- Eat lots of fruit and vegetables such as berries, citrus fruit, leafy greens, and beans and get organic if you can
- Use only healthy fats and oils for cooking such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, chia seeds, and other seeds and nuts
- Use white meats such as chicken, turkey, and fish for proteins and avoid red meat, dairy products, and eggs
- Drink natural green tea, fruit smoothies, and other natural drinks with natural, quality ingredients
All of the above types of food and drink emphasize two things: cutting down on the chemicals, toxins and preservatives that are correlated with the symptoms, and promote better skin health with foods high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory ingredients, and positive hormone production.
Avoid Triggering Conditions
The next tactic to help manage your rosacea between treatments is to avoid conditions that trigger any flare ups of your symptoms. While there is still not a lot known about rosacea, there is a general understanding of how it works and what can make it worse. It is highly recommended by doctors that you avoid the following conditions:
- strenuous exercise or physical activities that cause your body and skin to heat up and flush
- hot, steamy conditions from hot baths, showers, saunas, hot tubs, and so on
- weather conditions that are very windy, hot, humid, or cold
- situations that cause you to feel high amounts of stress, anger, and other emotions that can cause your skin to flush or sweat
All of these situations are rooted in the fact that rosacea is exacerbated when your skin is irritated, and when it flushes due to heat or emotion. Hot temperatures, sunlight exercise, and emotions can cause your skin to flush, while cold and windy conditions can irritate it.
Always Use Sunscreen
This is a triggering condition that warrants its own section. The UV radiation from natural sunlight can be a major stressor on your skin that can cause a big flare up of your symptoms.
The problem is that sunlight does two of the worst things for managing rosacea — it heats up your skin, and it irritates it. So you should avoid allowing direct sunlight onto your skin as much as possible, and that includes sitting inside or in a car where the sun can still shine on you.
When you can’t help it and have to be in the sun, avoid being in direct sunlight and especially for your affected skin. Cover it up with clothing or stay in the shade if you can, and always regularly apply strong sunscreen with good ingredients — avoid ingredients that are too harsh or have ingredients that cause your skin to swell or get irritated. If you’re inside by windows, use screens or blinds. If you’re in a car, wear a hat or sit on the side of the car away from the sunlight if you can.
Author Bio: Born and raised in Ottawa Ontario, Dr Crippen has attended three Canadian Universities and obtained four educational titles including his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.). After receiving his M.D. from the University of Western Ontario in 2001, Dr. Crippen then completed his specialty training at the University of Manitoba over the next two years. He has worked extensively in public and private medicine since 2003, but in response to rising demand, Dr Crippen has devoted his practice exclusively to both medical & cosmetic skin care procedures/treatments at his clinic.
A Fellow of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, and a diplomate of the American Board of Laser Surgery in Cosmetic Procedures, Dr. Crippen has trained with physicians who are at the forefront of laser & aesthetic medicine. He has made many educational visits to medical laser clinics throughout North America and Europe.