I have lived with rosacea for 15 years and, for the most part, I have it under control. But I’m aware that this control is possible because I am largely able to regulate everything around me. The times when my rosacea feels out of control is when I am out of the house, on holiday, or staying with friends. So here are my tips on how to calm rosacea flare ups, even when you’re away from your reliable at-home methods.[NB: This post was originally written in 2016 but has been updated]
My biggest flare up triggers are stress, diet and temperature. Some of these are obviously easier to control than others. Over time I have changed my diet to cut out many of the things that aggravate my skin: I have cut down the amount of units of alcohol I drink per week; I no longer eat dairy; I have cut out gluten; every ‘hot’ drink I have is left to turn tepid so I don’t flush while I drink it. My old job was affecting my health (unrelated to my rosacea) and so 4 years ago I left my job. I now work from home and this has helped in many ways but I know that that isn’t a realistic solution for most people.
I have made changes to my life in order to work around this condition: some were drastic, some were minuscule, but all of these changes can quickly go out of the window when my routine is interrupted. I find it hard to stick to my tried and tested skincare, my sleep patterns are altered, plus flights are guaranteed to make my rosacea go bananas.
So here are the tips and tricks I use to calm a rosacea flare up and drastically shorten its longevity. These are all methods that are fairly easy to do at work, school, on holiday, or anywhere where you aren’t fully prepared for a flare up:
- Use facial sprays – These are the easiest and quickest ways to ease a flare up. The mist takes the heat out of your skin and stops the horrible itch and discomfort. My favourite is the Avène Thermal Water, which now comes in a handy mini size so you can just pop it in your handbag.
- Get a fan – Using either a manual (paper) fan or a motorised hand-held fan can help to keep you cool if you’re in a hot or stressful environment and either can fit in a small bag.
- Sip cold water or suck ice cubes – I have super sensitive teeth but this is a great way to cool down, if your teeth can handle it! It’s something easy to get hold of in a hotel, or restaurant, and no one will look at you strangely while you do it!
- Run your wrists under cold water – This is another way to cool you down that is free and super easy to do wherever you are in the world, even on a plane. This actually cools the blood so helps to reduce your overall body temperature.
- Regulate your breathing – This may sound obvious but when I’m stressed I get completely caught up in that panicked and overwhelmed feeling. As I’m running my wrists under cold water, I practice deep and mindful breathing. I picture my stomach blowing up and deflating like a balloon until I feel calmer.
- Stretch – Stretching is a great stress-reliever: I interlock my fingers, turn them out and push my palms up towards the ceiling, imagining a string pulling all the way up my spine and opening up all of my muscles. When you feel stressed or anxious, your body goes into fight or flight mode and this can create a lot of tension in your muscles. By stretching you combat that tense feeling which alters your mental state. It sounds totally woo-woo but it honestly helps!
- And finally, the above tips are about managing your flare ups. But if you are struggling to identify what is making you flare up in the first place, I can help. I have designed a Rosacea Trigger Checklist and a Rosacea Flare Up Diary for you to download, print, and use as you wish. I hope you find them useful.
Do you use any of the above tricks to calm your rosacea? Do you have any other methods you would recommend to calm rosacea flare ups? Please leave them in the comments below!
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