How To Help Rosacea Flare Ups: Everything You Need To Know

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]
How To Calm Rosacea Flare Ups

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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How to calm a rosacea flare up: tips and tricks you can do at home



  1. Katherine
    11th July 2016 / 11:28 pm

    Thank you for thé update, I have bought the Avene thermal water and is à bliss. Diagnoses with rosacéa just last year, it has not been easy to adjust my life but thanks to your blog, Im coping with it 🙂

    • Lex
      2nd August 2016 / 11:04 am

      Oh my gosh the Avene thermal water is a dream! I always have a can somewhere in my house. I’m so glad that my blog is helping you to adjust, if you ever have any questions just let me know 🙂

  2. Kathleen Medjuck
    13th July 2016 / 4:13 pm

    Hi Lex. I know you are a skin care guru but I thought you’d like to read this. I have had Rosacea for at least 15 years and am finally getting it under control. I’m using the detox kit right now so haven’t even started their Rosacea targeted kit yet and am noticing a difference. The products are great.

  3. 18th July 2016 / 12:13 am

    How strictly do you follow your diet, and do you ever allow yourself to cheat?? Just curious, I’ve also given up gluten, soy and dairy but I wanted to get your perspective on changing your diet! I’m almost positive my rosacea was diet induced. Love your blog, Lex!!

    • Lex
      2nd August 2016 / 11:09 am

      Hello and thank you for your lovely comment! I have recently started on the FODMAP diet which means I’ve had to be very strict (you can read about it here: but before that I cheated and always felt it afterwards. I have definitely noticed a different with my skin since changing my diet properly. I hope this helps!

  4. Marie
    24th July 2016 / 2:40 pm

    Hi Lex, do you think you could do a blog post on the FODMAP diet you have been following maybe including a food diary and a typical day? I’d be interested to read it. Thanks so much!

    • Lex
      2nd August 2016 / 10:44 am

      Hello Marie! I have recently posted a blog about FODMAP which you can find HERE I’m doing a follow up post where I talk about what I was eating as I rambled on for long enough in this post!

  5. Cherie
    11th October 2016 / 6:42 am

    My doctor recommended Rozex Gel (metronidazole 0.75%) to be used twice daily. I don’t know if it’s expensive in the UK; it is in Australia as it isn’t on the PBS (government subsidised medicine list) but it works for me.

    Has anyone else used this medication or any other medication?

    • Lex
      24th October 2016 / 5:44 pm

      I used Rozex when I was first diagnosed and it made my skin very unhappy. It stung and made my face super red. However, I know a lot of people find it helped so I’m glad it seems to be working for you!

    • Lydia
      21st April 2017 / 6:51 pm

      I use metronidozole cream instead of the gel. It works really well for me and is not at all irritating. I can even use it on the skin under my eyes and I have extremely sensitive skin. I need to use it twice a day after washing my face, whether I’m breaking out or not, and use a soap I make myself with mostly olive oil and no dyes or perfumes. I never exfoliate. These things control the rosacea really well as long as I remember to use 50+ SPF sun screen for babies when I go out. Oh, and eat my vegetables. Breakouts seem to correspond in my case with not eating my veges every day.

    • Kathy
      6th January 2019 / 6:12 am

      Metronidazole doesn’t work for me. I am in the US. My dermatologist put me on Soolantra cream at night and Aczone gel in the morning. I have been on this regimen for 2 months now and my rosacea is completely gone for the first time in my 47 years. I do know that a hot shower can trigger it or drinking wine… but I can’t very well eliminate either of those!

    • Rachel
      1st April 2019 / 8:55 am

      Hi Cherie, answering this years later so hopefully still useful to someone. I was prescribed metronidazole by a dermatologist. I tried it for 12 weeks and it did nothing. I stopped using it because the drug sheet inside the packet states that it is NOT recommended for long-term use. This shocked me as my dermatologist had told me to just keep using it and get more when I run out. And yes, VERY expensive to buy. I’ve cut out dairy products and suddenly my rosacea has calmed right down.

  6. wendy
    20th March 2017 / 7:25 pm

    I am having my first flare up, was told it was acne and put miseable buring lotions and potions on my face but now I am reading this I am sure of what it is. It began on a flight! I thought I had been bitten on my neck by bugs. Why does flying flare it up? I fly ALOT

  7. Birghe
    27th March 2017 / 1:05 am

    I’ve diagnosed w/ rosa last year. I’m still searching for the exact triggers and ways to avoid them. I know for sure wine -especially red- triggers my flare ups. Cooking is also one of them. In addition to many creams, natural remedies; I make ice compress to my face twice a day(morning and night). Ice cools down the feeling of fire on my cheeks. I also keep my thermal water in the fridge to receive extra coolness.
    And also unlike most people, exercising is positive for me. During and right after exercise I turn red and i turn red very quickly -even i’m not really tired or sweating. Then i wash my face with cold water and redness slowly disappears and the rest of the day it does not come back easily. It may also be mental as you leave your stress at the gym.

  8. Sarah
    27th April 2017 / 4:40 pm

    I find a yoghurt and avacardo face mask helps and I use aqueous cream to with and use as a moisturiser too/night cream.

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