Not that it’s all fine and dandy in other seasons, but rosacea gets worse in summer. According to a survey carried out by the National Rosacea Society including 1.066 rosacea sufferers, 81% of the patients noted sun exposure as the most common trigger. And in case you’re wondering, number three on the list is hot weather affecting 75% of the participants. So it’s no surprise that we tend to flush more and deal with more frequent rosacea flare-ups in summer. And when the sun is always shining in its full glory, it may be difficult to manage rosacea flares in summer.
The most common characteristic of rosacea is facial redness and overall skin sensitivity. But depending on your specific condition, a flare-up can mean something more difficult to deal with than redness. Rosacea also causes red, itchy bumps on the skin. They’re often mistaken for acne too. And when you have sun and heat working against you, things can get out of control easily.
I have been dealing with rosacea for almost a decade now and I’ve written several articles about rosacea covering all possible aspects to help fellow rosacea sufferers. And I’ve always talked about how specific the triggers can be. While it’s impossible for me, or anyone, to speak for every single rosacea sufferer, some things are universal. And some tweaks are universally helpful. So no worries. Keep reading to find out how to avoid rosacea flares in summer.
1. Focus on Sun Protection
I wrote about how sun exposure affects rosacea and why sun protection is extra important for us. Here’s the gist. Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition. Anything that causes more inflammation is something you should avoid. And because sun exposure causes inflammation in the skin, you’re more prone to sun-induced flares in summer.
So first and foremost, don’t skip SPF. Use a gentle, non-irritating, preferably mineral sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and reapply it every 2 hours. Consider more practical products like SPF sprays and powders that make it easier to reapply. Trust me, sun protection is going to minimize your redness considerably!
Remember that sun protection doesn’t end with wearing SPF on your face. Also, consider a hat and a pair of sunglasses for better sun protection. And apply sunscreen as much as you can on visible parts of the body.
2. Stay Cool
Heat, in whatever shape or form, is another trigger for rosacea. And during hot summer weather, avoiding overheating comes right after avoiding direct sunlight. Here’s how you can do it. First and foremost, wear light, comfortable clothing to avoid overheating your body and your skin.
Second, avoid excessive activity that may cause excessive sweating and heating, especially during peak sun hours. And lastly, stay hydrated and keep your skin cool with cooling and refreshing face mists.
Keep a travel-friendly face mist in your bag to spray whenever your skin starts to heat up. You can also try mini hand fans to stay cool and calm.
3. Keep Your Showers Short
Long, hot showers cause redness and red patches on the skin, which you can easily observe right after you hop out of the shower. They also tend to cause dryness on the skin, which can exacerbate rosacea.
So in hot summer weather when we take showers more frequently, remember to keep the temperature low and keep your showers short.
4. Know Your Triggers
One of the many things that make rosacea treatment so tricky is that the triggers are so specific, especially when food and beverages are concerned. Now, I have absolutely no qualifications to give you advice on this. However, every rosacea sufferer knows that spicy foods are some of the most common triggers.
But know that there are so many of them. And we consume certain foods more in summer. And to avoid them, you have to first know them. For example, mine include hot beverages. If I drink more than one cup of coffee or tea, I flush. So in summer, I prefer drinking iced tea, which both helps me stay cool and prevents heat-induced flares.
So understanding what foods make your rosacea worse can help you find ways to work around them. Here’s a more comprehensive list of dietary triggers provided by the National Rosacea Society. Have a look to better understand why you might be dealing with more flushes in summer.
5. Identify Easily Dismissable Triggers
When we think of rosacea and what might be irritating our skin, we usually focus on our skin and the products we use. Well, some lesser-known and easily overlooked triggers are hair products and perfumes. We use more hair products in summer to prevent frizzy hair and to style it.
And most of the products that we use for our hair can end up on our skin too. I discovered this completely by accident. I was using a new hair texturizing foam when I realized my acne was acting up. Similarly, when we use a hair spray or a fragrance, the particles end up on our skin too.
These types of triggers are often overlooked. If you think you did everything and nothing is working, think outside the box and don’t just focus on your face.
6. Be Mindful of Your Makeup Products
Rosacea or not, we all go for waterproof makeup products in summer. A waterproof eyeliner prevents smudging while a waterproof foundation prevents melting. When talking about people with rosacea, people mistakenly assume that waterproof products are bad because of potentially irritating formulas. That’s not completely true.
There are amazing products that are waterproof and suitable for sensitive skin. I use several of them! The problem is the removal of that makeup. Waterproof products require more effort to remove. And when you’re using the wrong products and aggressively rubbing your face during cleansing, you end up giving your skin a good excuse to flush.
So if you’re using waterproof products, be patient and gentle with your removal. Double cleanse with a balm/oil cleanser first. And use a gentle, fragrance-free, alcohol-free cleanser to wash away the rest. Avoid too much rubbing.
7. Follow a Summer-Friendly Skincare Routine
Both because of my personal interest and what I do, I love a good 15-step skincare routine where I layer and layer like there’s no tomorrow. Hydrating serum, brightening serum, firming serum, plumping cream, illuminating moisturizer; the possibilities are endless.
But in summer, reducing the number of products I use daily has helped me incredibly. And my reasoning is that, with skincare, there’s always an unknown variable that may cause irritation. Whether it’s the fragrance you missed or an ingredient you didn’t know your serum had, there’s always the potential for irritation.
And when environmental factors, i.e. sun exposure, are working against you, there’s no point in increasing the likelihood of redness by slathering your face with everything you have. And needless to say, nobody likes the weight or feel of 11 different products on their face in hot, sweaty summer weather. So prioritize. Try to keep things minimal. Cleanse, hydrate, moisturize, and protect.
8. Incorporate Vitamin C Into Your Routine
Speaking of skincare, here’s a quick summer tip that can help you with both redness and sun protection. In case you didn’t know this, vitamin C is not just an antioxidant you can use to brighten skin, reduce discolorations, or produce collagen.
Vitamin C also has anti-inflammatory benefits for the skin. For us people with rosacea, it works to calm irritation. Moreover, vitamin C enhances sun protection when used in conjunction with SPF. What does this all mean?
It means incorporating a vitamin C serum into your skincare routine can minimize rosacea flares, soothe redness, and amplify your sun protection. So when prioritizing your products for summer, keep this in mind and make use of these multi-purpose ingredients.
9. See a Dermatologist
Again, certain types of rosacea are more difficult to manage. You may be dealing with acne and red bumps. And from my experience, I can say that it’s an overwhelming experience. There’s nothing I enjoy more than just solving my problems with skincare. But with such a complex skin disorder, you have a lot of things that are out of your control. That’s when you should seek professional help from a dermatologist.
I mentioned above the first and the third most common rosacea triggers. Well, number two on the list is emotional stress. For the last two weeks, I have had a major source of emotional stress that I can’t resolve. And I have red bumps and acne all over my chin, cheeks, and jawline.
I’m using a topical cream my dermatologist gave me. That’s the only thing that’s working at the moment. No amount of sun protection and cooling face masks can calm down a rosacea flare caused by emotional stress. So know this. And know when to see a dermatologist.
So these are the things you can do to prevent rosacea flares in summer. Again, not everything works for everyone. But it all comes down to identifying what makes your condition worse and managing them. As I said, when nothing else works, don’t hesitate to get help from a dermatologist.