Are you concerned that the sun might be one of your biggest rosacea triggers this summer? It’s true: the sun can certainly play a role in rosacea flare ups, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy some time outdoors. Here’s a few tips on how to protect your skin this summer if you suffer from rosacea.
Rosacea is a widespread skin disorder affecting roughly 16 million Americans. It’s characterized by redness and blotchiness, typically around the face. It tends to affect fair-skinned people and people who blush easily the most.
There is no cure for rosacea, but there are several dermatological therapies that can help manage it, including oral and topical medications and light therapies. Rosacea triggers vary from person to person, but the most common ones are sunlight, heat, stress, alcohol, chemical products, and spicy foods. If you struggle with frequent rosacea flare-ups, it can be helpful to keep a diary of potential triggers so that you can track patterns and avoid stimuli.
There are four primary types of rosacea. Vascular rosacea manifests on the face as reddish areas. Sometimes, blood vessels are visible with this type of rosacea. Inflammatory rosacea also consists of redness on the face, but it is usually accompanied by pustules and papules -- bumps or lesions on the face.
Phymatous rosacea includes facial redness, but this type of rosacea is mostly characterized by thickened, bumpy skin, particularly around the nose. Finally, ocular rosacea occurs on the eyes and eyelids. It can show up as redness and inflammation, watery or stinging eyes, or crusty, scaly eyelids.
Because one of the primary rosacea triggers is the sun, it’s important to manage your sun exposure if you have rosacea. The tips below will not only reduce the chances of a rosacea flare up but also help protect your skin from the harmful UV rays responsible for skin cancer, which kills two Americans every hour.
First and most obviously, always wear sunscreen outside. (In fact, dermatologists recommend using an SPF product every day, regardless of whether you’ll be indoors or outdoors.) Apply a gentle, non-irritating sunscreen labeled as “broad-spectrum,” meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Choose an SPF 30 at the very minimum, with SPF 50 being the preference. Look for “non-comedogenic” and “fragrance-free” on the label as well. Ingredients least likely to cause rosacea flare ups are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Further protect your skin by wearing protective clothing like sun shirts and wide-brimmed hats. Stay in the shade when possible, especially during the midday hours when the sun is the strongest. If you start to feel overheated, it’s important to get indoors, preferably into air conditioning or in front of a fan, as quickly as possible. Heat can make rosacea flare-ups worse.
Struggling with feeling self conscious about your rosacea? Need some expert tips on how to manage rosacea this summer? If you’re in the greater New York City area, contact Vanguard Dermatology today for an appointment with one of our board-certified dermatologists.