Rosacea & Cold Weather

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For the roughly 14 million sufferers in the U.S. with the skin condition rosacea, they know all too well about the redness and flare-ups that occur from time to time.  Even though rosacea can vary from person to person, it is a chronic skin disorder that with time, can lead to redness becoming increasingly ruddier, along with visible blood vessels appearing on the face.  If left untreated, bumps and pimples can develop in addition to the nose becoming swollen and bumpy from excess tissue.

The onset of colder, blustery weather in the fall and winter combined with dry indoor heat can further irritate rosacea with increased flare-ups of redness and bumps.  Usually the outer layers of skin forms a natural barrier keeping moisture locked in.  But for those with rosacea, there are disruptions in the outer layers of skin where microscopic cracks appear allowing water to escape drying the skin out.  When the humidity drops during colder weather, the skin’s natural barrier is disrupted even more leading to the telltale signs of redness, itching and increased sensitivity of rosacea.

There are steps people with this condition can take to maintain smoother skin and by minimizing flare-ups bracing themselves for the harsh effects of colder weather:

·        Protect skin with sunscreen

The number one trigger for rosacea is sun exposure.  Year round, everyone should be wearing sunscreen, no matter if it’s a sunny day or not.  Many people may skip wearing sunscreen during fall and winter months but this is a mistake, particularly for those with rosacea.  Even if the weather is chilly, the sun still has a harsh effect on skin.  Always wear a sunscreen this is SPF of 30 or higher. 

If a person is outdoors in higher elevations, it is extremely important to wear sunscreen as snow reflects the sun at a higher level.

·        Go easy on hot beverages

Before you indulge in a hot cup of coffee, tea or steaming hot chocolate, remember hot beverages can trigger a flush in the face and a flare-up of rosacea.  If the drink is hot enough to make you feel warm, it is hot enough to irritate rosacea. 

It’s okay to have a cup of coffee or cocoa but drink them at a lukewarm temperature.

·        Avoid becoming too warm

If may be cold outside, but avoid get overheated indoors if you have rosacea.  Sitting too close to a fire, turning up the thermostat, or taking a hot, steamy shower will only aggravate rosacea by increasing blood flow triggering facial flushing.  Many homes become too dry during colder months setting up a dry environment provoking rosacea flare-ups.

·        Do keep your face covered on windy days

Cold, windy and harsh weather is a definite trigger for rosacea.  To keep the wind from irritating the blood vessels on the skin, keep your face covered with a warm scarf as much as possible and limit your time spent outdoors during windy days. 

·        Moisturize skin

Cold, dry weather is primetime for drying out the skin, whether a person has rosacea or not.  Dry skin becomes irritated skin.  Individuals with rosacea should be careful on their skincare choices avoiding fragrant lotions or that can aggravate the condition.  Look for gentle cleansers and moisturizers containing natural soothing ingredients.  Good ones to try are CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser or Aveeno Ultra-Calming products with feverfew extract which have been shown to reduce redness associated with rosacea. 

Dietary choices can make a difference too – add essential omega-3 fatty acids by including more salmon, walnuts, and olive oil to the diet.

·        Use a humidifier and drink more water

Using a humidifier during colder months can replace moisture in the air helping to prevent irritation associated with rosacea. 

Be sure to hydrate frequently during the day by drinking more water and eating foods with a high water content such as fruits and vegetables.

When skin affected with rosacea is kept moisturized, the flare-ups of it can be significantly reduced.