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6 Ways To Calm Your Rosacea Down

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 11 Jan 2023

You can calm a rosacea flare-up by keeping the affected skin cool and moisturised. This is important because rosacea has no cure: if you’ve ever suffered from it, you’ll always be at risk.

Here’s a quick overview of the key tips to follow when you’re suffering a flare-up.

  • Stay away from dry air. When the humidity drops, the air can draw moisture out of your skin. Avoiding dry air will help you: you can use a humidifier if necessary.
  • Improve your hydration. Skin can dry out simply because you haven’t drunk enough water. If you’re unsure how much you need, err on the side of drinking too much.
  • Eat and drink more healthily. Spicy foods and alcohol can worsen your flare-ups. Cleaning up your diet for a while will help.
  • Reduce your stress levels. Stress can actually lead to worsened inflammation and redness, so you should take steps to relax.
  • Apply a gentle moisturiser. Since rosacea can’t be cured, there’s no reason to look for a potent skin treatment in an effort to eliminate it. Instead, use a basic moisturiser.
  • Try prescription treatment. If your flare-up is particularly bad and nothing else is helping, you can seek a prescription for a strong treatment.

Want some more information about how to use these tips to help your flare-ups? Keep reading: below, we cover them in much greater detail.

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1. Avoid harsh weather

This can go both ways. Sunlight is a known trigger for rosacea. Not only is getting overheated heavily linked to suffering a rosacea flare-up, but sunlight makes things even worse — the ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight damages the skin and further degrades the areas already vulnerable to rosacea.

When you suffer a bout of rosacea, take care to get out of the sun as quickly as you can, and stay out of it while you recover. In general, you should look to protect your skin against sun damage even more keenly than someone who doesn’t have a recurring skin condition.

Equally, cold weather can be harsh on the skin so covering your nose, cheeks, and chin with a scarf if it is particularly cold or windy can help to protect against a flare-up.

2. Drink more water

Good hydration is essential for health overall, and sufferers of skin conditions need to avoid becoming dehydrated as it can trigger flare-ups. As soon as your skin starts to redden, begin consuming more water — the faster you start hydrating, the faster it will have an effect.

Aim to drink cool water as it will prove more effective in cooling you down, but avoid ice-cold water or anything that could significantly shock your system. Something like that could end up making your flare-up worse.

3. Avoid alcohol and spicy foods

Food and drink can trigger many people’s rosacea. Common triggers for flare-ups are alcohol and spicy foods. You may find it beneficial to remove these from your diet for a few weeks to see if there is any improvement in your symptoms.

Unfortunately, there are many other food and drink triggers that people experience. Keeping a rosacea diary where you track your symptoms and your diet can help you to identify any triggers that can be avoided in the future.

4. Avoid stress

According to rosacea.org, stress is a key trigger for flare-ups. They report that stress can cause an enhanced release of some neuropeptides and neurotransmitters in the skin, which causes inflammation and blood vessel dilation (leading to redness). These symptoms can cause increased levels of stress leading to a vicious cycle of increased stress and worsening symptoms.

Stress management is an important tool in preventing rosacea symptoms. The are many options to tackle stress including mindfulness, breathing exercises, and regular exercise. You should keep track of what causes you stress so you can take steps to manage the triggers. If you find that these don’t work or it’s too much to get on top of, speak to your GP or consider self-referral to CBT.

5. Adopt a skincare regime

Unsurprisingly, how you look after your skin and what you put on it can have an effect on the symptoms that you experience. People who suffer from rosacea can often find that their skin is sensitive and should follow a suitable skincare regime:

  • Wash your face every morning and evening with warm water and a gentle pH-neutral cleanser. Avoid soap, and scented or alcohol-based cleansers.
  • Use a fragrance-free, non-comedogenic moisturiser to soothe skin if it feels sore.
  • If you wear makeup, use only water-based cosmetics - ideally, they should also be non-comedogenic.
  • Try to avoid any products or procedures (such as hair removal including products like Vaniqa) that may irritate the skin. According to the NHS, common ingredients to avoid are fragrances, alcohol, menthol, witch hazel, eucalyptus oil, camphor, clove oil, peppermint, sodium lauryl sulphate and lanolin.
  • Men that shave an area affected by rosacea should use an electric razor, rather than a blade.

Finally, ensure that you never use medicated creams or ointments containing steroids, such as hydrocortisone or betamethasone, on your face. These products are useful for calming inflammation but have been shown to make rosacea symptoms worse, rather than better.

6. Use a prescribed medicine

When nothing else will work to soothe your rosacea flare-up, you may need to turn to prescription medicine. Viable options include topical applications as well as oral tablets or capsules, and which one will work best for you will depend on your circumstances.

The treatment that you are prescribed will depend on your symptoms:

  • Soolantra is the newest rosacea treatment that has been shown to be very effective at treating rosacea where there are significant bumps and blemishes. In trials, many patients showed significant improvement in symptoms in 12 weeks. Click here to find out more about Soolantra side effects or, click through to buy Soolantra Cream.
  • Mirvaso is suitable for treating rosacea where the only symptom is redness of the skin. It contains a vasoconstrictor that helps to stop blood flow to the surface of the skin and prevent flushing.
  • Finacea gel contains azelaic acid 15% which helps to fight inflammation. It is often used as a first-line rosacea treatment to assess the response to symptoms before moving on to other treatments, if necessary.
  • Metrogel 0.75% and Rozex both contain metronidazole, an antibiotic that helps to kill the bacteria on the skin that cause redness and pimples.

These are common first-line rosacea treatments for treating mild to moderate symptoms. Our rosacea page has a full list of rosacea treatments and further information.

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Coping with rosacea is often about avoiding the triggers more than anything else — controlling your diet, environment, stress level and medication to minimise the likelihood of suffering a flare-up. But since you can do all the right things and still have a rash develop at an inconvenient time, you need to be ready.

When the time comes, try these 5 tips for calming your rosacea down. They should significantly reduce your discomfort and lessen the symptoms. If they don’t, then your case will need expert assistance — let us know and we’ll point you in the right direction.

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