Rosacea Review - Newsletter of the National Rosacea SocietyRosacea Review - Newsletter of the National Rosacea Society

Managing Random Rosacea Flare-ups

Despite daily diligence in using medication and avoiding aggravating environmental and lifestyle factors, an occasional flare-up may leave a sufferer feeling frustrated and once again facing the embarrassment of rosacea's conspicuous symptoms.

"Rosacea is a chronic and relapsing condition," said Dr. Diane Thiboutot, associate professor of dermatology at Pennsylvania State University. "Even with the best efforts in following medical treatment and lifestyle changes, many rosacea patients must contend with occasional and irksome flare-ups of symptoms.

"Having a plan of action for coping with a rosacea flare-up is helpful and often necessary, she said. The first step is to note any recent changes in treatment and lifestyle routines that may have spurred the outbreak of symptoms.

"Take control of the situation immediately," she said. "Try to identify and correct any actions that may have led to the flare-up, including not taking medication or exposure to aggravating factors such as sun, wind, alcohol, heated beverages or spicy foods. Then give your face some additional pampering, and take advantage of makeup to hide the symptoms."

A soothing daily facial care routine begins with a gentle soap or water-based cleanser that is not grainy or abrasive and should be spread with the fingertips rather than using a rough washcloth or pulling at the skin. Rinse with lukewarm water and use a thick cotton towel to blot the face dry.

Topical medication may follow when the face is dry, and after it is absorbed, follow with camouflaging makeup as needed. There are several green-tinted foundations and even moisturizers available to help counter the red appearance, and they can be used under other skin-tone foundations. Moreover, flesh-tone or green-tinted concealer sticks may be used by both men and women to hide symptoms in specific areas.

Dealing directly with frustration and anxiety is also important, according to Dr. Ted Grossbart, clinical psychologist at Harvard Medical School and author of Skin Deep: A Mind/Body Program for Healthy Skin. "Emotional stress can trigger further aggravation," he said. "Accept what you cannot change, and take constructive action. Eat right, get enough rest and practice relaxation and being more compassionate to yourself."