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

Q&A: Skin Sensitivity & Ice Cubes

Q. My rosacea is fairly well controlled but I have a lot of skin sensitivity on my face. Is this a problem for other rosacea sufferers, too?

A. Yes, if by sensitivity you mean burning, stinging and itching. These symptoms are not necessarily unique to rosacea, but they are present in many cases. A gentle skin-care routine may help alleviate some of your sensitivity. Look for a mild, nonabrasive cleanser, and use only lukewarm water — not hot or cold water — to rinse your face. Blotting your face with a thick towel usually is a better alternative than rubbing it dry.

You may also want to experiment with moisturizers and cosmetics to find products that produce the least irritation in your case. Check the labels for ingredients that may irritate your skin.

Q. I sometimes use ice cubes on my skin in the morning and evening to help subdue my rosacea symptoms. I’m curious, how does that work? What has research uncovered about cold temperatures and rosacea?

A. Although the exact mechanism of cooling has not been extensively studied scientifically, cool compresses are used to reduce swelling—we use ice packs to soothe acute ankle injuries, for instance. In addition, the cool compresses may cause blood vessels to contract, reducing their visibility and lessening the ruddy appearance of the skin, so there may be a role for cooling in rosacea. However, cold can be a trigger for flare-ups in many sufferers, so be cautious and discontinue the practice if you notice any irritation. Also, it’s best not to apply ice cubes directly to the skin.