I have rosacea. I know this because a little while ago I went to get a skin cancer check (have you had one recently? You should. Go book it now, I’ll wait..) and the dermatologist told me so, repeatedly, literally seconds after I walked into the room.
After lots of loud proclamations about rosacea (her) and some significant confusion and mild panic about being in the wrong place (me), she began to explain all about my (apparently obvious?) rosacea.
Rosacea, if you’re unfamiliar, is an inflammatory skin condition that usually presents with redness, red bumps, or little visible blood vessels. Like a lot of skin conditions it affects everyone differently and to varying degrees (hence, the whole me-not-even-noticing-it thing), but I quickly found out there’s a whole list of things that people with rosacea should be avoiding to help prevent or calm inflammation. (In addition to seeking your own specialised skin advice from an expert, of course.)
The No List For Rosacea reads like this:
Coffee, tea, etc while delicious and some people (me) would say a life essential can all bring on a rosacea flare up. If the idea of quitting your hot drinks entirely sounds ludicrous to you, firstly, we have a lot in common. Secondly, try to cut back wherever you can, and always wait until your drinks aren’t scorching hot before you drink them.
Just what you were hoping to read, I bet! Stress is amongst the many things that can trigger and lead to a rosacea flare up. I won’t pretend this is one you can just magically switch off, but if you’re looking for inspiration for different ways to practice a little self-care and relaxation, you can find our team’s favourites right here.
At this point I’d like to remind you that I’m just a messenger and had no say in the contents of this list. Cool. So, as it turns out alcohol makes your blood vessels dilate which can trigger facial redness. A study from The National Rosacea Society showed that red wine is the worst offender, while spirits (vodka, bourbon, tequila, gin, rum, or scotch) were less likely to trigger a reaction. (Ahem, though still quite possible.)
This isn’t to say you need to go full vampire and avoid it completely but if you’re headed out in the sun you need to make sure you’re protecting your skin as much as possible. This means SPF, obviously, in particular physical SPFs which are well known for being better suited for sensitive skin types, but also things like hats, sunglasses, and finding shade wherever you can. Basically all of the protect-y things that are easy to ignore because we think sunscreen makes us invincible. (It doesn’t.)
High temps in the shower are a no for the rosacea-ridden for the same reason your hot drinks are. They heat up your body and exacerbate any redness, so pulling back the temp from scorchy to warm-lukewarm is regretfully recommended.
Spicy foods produce heat within your body (or if you speak science: they’re thermogenic) which can annoy sensitive skin and can trigger redness and flare-ups. Where possible opt for anti-inflammatory foods (think: nuts, fatty fish, fruit and veg, and the like) instead.
Honestly, I don’t always do the best job of following The No List yet. (Mid-pandemic was not the time to ask me to give up margaritas.) (Or stress. Lol.) But either way, I feel better knowing the things to avoid so I can gradually work them into my life. Maybe you will too. Maybe you’ll even be able to do a better job with it all than I have! (This would not be hard.)