Rosacea Skin Care in Winter: How to Stop Those Rosy Cheeks!

While winter is known for giving many people a pink-cheeked look when they come in from the cold, those plummeting temperatures and harsh winds can be even harder on your skin when you have rosacea.

Rosacea in Winter | Rosy JulieBC
Rosy JulieBC after walking in -30ºC weather (-22ºF)

Yes, it can look cute when you have rosy cheeks when you just walk in the door from a brisk winter’s day but when the redness doesn’t go away and is joined by tightness, dryness, burning, itching and other unpleasant symptoms, it becomes clear that the right winter skin care for rosacea is a must.

You might have found what works for you in the summertime as you protect your skin from triggers and keep it gently cleansed and moisturized but colder weather typically requires a slight change in rosacea skin care products.

Believe it or not, this is true no matter where you live. Regardless of whether your winters send the mercury well below freezing or whether you live somewhere that remains comparatively mild, it is the difference in temperatures and humidity levels from one time of the year to the next that causes your skin to require different rosacea skin care products.

Wind, cooler temperatures, as well as air conditioning or indoor heating can all wreak havoc on your rosacea symptoms. Humidity, dryness and temperature fluctuations can require an extra layer of protection throughout the winter months. All this, on top of the stress many people feel around the holiday season when there are many different kinds of plans, gatherings, festivities and even just things to wrap up before the year comes to an end, can take its toll.

It also makes it more important to keep up with any treatments you are using, regardless of whether they are prescriptions, natural rosacea treatments or amber or red light therapy or both red and amber light therapy combined.

Winter Rosacea Symptoms Prevention Tips

Here are some great tips to help to keep your rosy cheeks and rosacea symptoms under control this winter:

  • Cold Winter Rosacea Triggers | Rosy JulieBCWhen the weather is extreme, try to stay in as much as possible. Very low temperatures and biting winds will only make things worse, fast. If you must head out, use a ski mask or scarf to keep your face protected.
  • Be aware of your body temperature. It’s easy to get very cold and very hot in a matter of moments in the winter. Stepping inside homes, workplaces and malls while bundled up can rapidly bring on the heat. Heading out the door after being warm inside can strike you with shivers. Layer with loose clothing so you can always adjust how warm or cool you are.
  • Pay attention to fabrics. Many people find their rosacea symptoms flare when they come in contact with certain fibers. One common troublemaker is wool. Take care to know what fibers are coming in contact with your face and watch for trends in irritations and flare-ups.
  • Keep cool while inside. This is especially important when you’re doing things like cooking and baking. These activities feel so normal and everyday that we often forget how warm they can make us. Steam from pots and heat from stoves and ovens can rapidly bring on rosacea flushing. Take breaks from the heat by leaving the room – or at least the spot immediately in front of the oven and stove – whenever you can. Turn on the hood fan or an oscillating fan set on low, to move some of the heat around and keep the temperature within reason.
  • Watch what you eat. Added sugars, salty foods, alcohol and other potential trigger foods abound when it’s nasty outside. This is especially true because hot foods and beverages are the most appealing when you’re trying to beat the winter chills. Try to limit the consumption of these foods as much as possible – if you can get away with a bite, go for that, instead of a whole portion – and try to wait for hot options to cool down a bit before you begin.
  • Keep your stress levels as controlled as possible. Don’t overbook your schedule, complete tasks as early as you can, don’t procrastinate, make a priority of “me time” and stick to a bedtime and waking routine as though your life depended on it. The more relaxed you are, the calmer your skin can be.
  • Maintain an extremely consistent winter rosacea skin care routine. Find the right rosacea skin care products for your unique skin type and symptoms as early as possible and stick to them – along with any treatments you’re using – without any exceptions.
  • Fireplace Rosacea Heat Trigger  |  Rosy JulieBCSit back from the fireplace. Try not to sit too close to any specific heat source as it will only warm and dry your skin, increasing the risk of a flare-up or at least a deeper blush.
  • Consider using a humidifier if your home is especially dry in the winter. If you can’t touch anything metal without getting a shock or if your sweaters and hair are particularly zappy, this may be a sign that a humidifier could help – particularly if it’s run in your bedroom at night while your skin is doing most of its healing.

Consistency with rosacea treatments and skin care as well as avoiding triggers can help you to avoid the vast majority of flare-ups and discomforts.

Winter Rosacea Skin Care Tips

The hardest part of treating your skin during the winter is usually in developing and sticking to your rosacea skin care routine. The first step is to find the right products, which can be a struggle in itself but then you need to stick to it every morning and every evening without fail. No exceptions.

Moreover, for the first two weeks of virtually any rosacea product change, your skin will often flare-up and break out. This makes it very difficult to judge any rosacea skin care products within the first two weeks of use, as things often get worse before they get better. For most people, the key is to keep it simple. Use as few products as possible, choose formulas with very gentle ingredients and avoid most options with promises such as anti-aging, exfoliating and even anti-redness in some situations (as many anti-redness formulations are designed to mask the color without healing the skin underneath, which can actually worsen the situation over time).

Consider the following tips as you create your winter rosacea skin care routine:

  • Morning Rosacea Skin Care Routine | Rosy JulieBCGentle cleansing. Use an extremely gentle rosacea skin care product for cleansing. The goal isn’t to have a “squeaky clean” feeling once you’re done. Instead, the idea is to remove the dirt, unwanted bacteria, product and excess oils while leaving some skin oils in place. Healthy skin does have some oil left on it. You want your skin to be clean, not stripped. In most situations, twice-daily cleansing is all you need.
    A low- or non-foaming, fragrance free, creamy cleanser is the goal. Watch out for alcohols and astringent ingredients as they should typically be avoided. The result should leave a thin film behind that will act as a moisture barrier to lock in this vital hydration.
  • Rosacea treatment. If you are treating your rosacea with a specific prescription or nonprescription topical cream or with amber light therapy and/or red light therapy, now is usually the best time to use it. Treatments are generally best used on a clean face, right after cleansing. That said, be sure to follow the directions of your doctor or dermatologist, or on the product package.
  • Moisturizing. This is best done as close to cleansing as possible. If you are using a treatment, moisturize right afterward (unless the treatment includes the moisturizing or recommends against the application of additional products). If you are not using a treatment, moisturize immediately, when your skin is no longer damp but when it doesn’t yet have that fully dry feeling. An extremely gentle moisturizer is best. In the daytime, it can help if you choose one with an SPF if the sun is one of your triggers.
    In the winter heavier creams, salves and oils are often more effective for preventing rosacea symptoms than the lighter lotions that are typically suited to warmer weather. This is the product most likely to need to be changed as a part of the rosacea skin care routine when moving from one season to the next and is the most likely to require that unpleasant transition period of about two weeks when breakouts and flare-ups can happen. Red light therapy may help to minimize the inflammation that is behind many of those symptoms and amber light therapy can help to calm the skin.

Set up a routine that will be appropriate for following the instructions on all these rosacea skin care products and treatments and stick to it without fail. Your skin loves routine and hates change, so the more you keep up the exact same patterns, the less likely you will be to have breakouts, flare-ups, and other unwanted symptoms.

*Please remember that I’m a rosacea blogger and patient with the condition, but I’m not a doctor.  This is information I’ve compiled based on my own experience, but I’m not a medical professional or a skin care expert.  For an official diagnosis or advice, please make an appointment to see your doctor!

What Causes Rosacea and What Cures It?

What Causes Rosacea and What Cures It? - Rosy JulieBC

What Causes Rosacea?

The cause of rosacea symptoms remains unknown. There is evidence that it is:

  • genetic[i],
  • caused by bacteria in mites that occur naturally on all human skin[ii],
  • caused by the same condition as stomach ulcers and several other H. pylori-related digestive issues[iii],
  • linked to underlying chronic inflammatory conditions (such as GERD (gastroesohpageal reflux disorder), as well as other types of inflammation-causing gastrointestinal disorders, hypertension (high blood pressure), female hormone imbalance, urogenital diseases (such as urinary tract infection), inflammatory cytokines, and metabolic, immune and endocrine changes)[iv],
  • connected to certain autoimmune disorders (such as Type I diabetes and celiac disease)[v],
  • an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine[vi],
  • A reaction to the ATP in the body[vii].

There have been several other theories behind the condition, as well, but none have been fully proven.  Moreover, it appears that different people may experience the condition for different reasons, so there may not be a single causes as much as several and they may work in combination with each other.

What is the Cure for Rosacea?

Is there a cure for rosacea?Since the cause of rosacea has yet to be identified, no cure is known, either. No matter what any product sales page or person may tell you, a cure for rosacea does not yet exist.

That said, in the future, any rosacea cures that are developed may be based on the cause of the symptoms for a given sufferer.For instance, if your rosacea is caused by the bacteria H.pylori, then solving that problem could be the cure for you. If, however, you have an underlying autoimmune condition, then it is that problem which will need to be addressed. As of yet, neither the cause(s) or cure(s) have been found.

Therefore, it’s important to look into treatments to reduce the symptoms and work to prevent their return as much as possible.  I talk a great deal about my own strategies to live this Rosy Lifestyle in my Rosacea Blog and my YouTube channel.

To find the best treatment for your rosacea, speak with your doctor about the list of possible causes as well as any triggers you have identified. A systematic approach will be very helpful in finding the fastest road to coping with – and potentially overcoming – your symptoms.

There are many types of conventional and natural rosacea treatments available to help you manage your symptoms.

References

[i] New Study Discovers Genetic Variants May Be Linked to Rosacea http://www.rosacea.org/weblog/new-study-discovers-genetic-variants-may-be-linked-rosacea

[ii] Bacteria in Mites May Cause Rosacea http://www.rosacea.org/rr/2007/summer/article_4.php

[iii] The link between Helicobacter pylori infection and rosacea http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12224687

[iv] Rosacea is associated with chronic systemic diseases in a skin severity-dependent manner: Results of a case-control study http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26256428

[v] New Study Discovers Genetic Variants May Be Linked to Rosacea http://www.rosacea.org/weblog/new-study-discovers-genetic-variants-may-be-linked-rosacea

[vi] Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in rosacea: clinical effectiveness of its eradication http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18456568

[vii] Dark Side of ATP May Hold Clues to Cause of Rosacea http://www.rosacea.org/press/archive/20070313.php

*Please remember that I’m a rosacea blogger and patient with the condition, but I’m not a doctor.  This is information I’ve collected online and have received from my doctor, but I’m not a medical professional or a skin care expert.  For an official diagnosis or advice, please make an appointment to see your doctor!

 

What is Rosacea? Rosacea Symptoms & Types [With Pictures & Video]

What is Rosacea? Rosacea Symptoms, Triggers & Causes [With Pictures] - Rosy JulieBC
This is my face in 2015 (summer), back when I’d given up on trying to find a treatment. This isn’t a flare-up. This is how my face looked every day. Flare-ups were worse. It was the “before” picture I took ahead of starting red LED light therapy treatments

I’m not a doctor. I’m a patient

Before I get into describing rosacea, what it is, what it isn’t and so on, I just want to say that I’m not a doctor. I’m not a skin care expert.  I’m a rosacea blogger. I’m a patient.  So the info I’ve put together on this page is meant to share what I have learned about the condition in the way as I understand it.  It’s based on info shared with me through amazing sources such as my doctors, the National Rosacea Society, the Mayo Clinic, and the TalkHealth Partnership’s Rosacea Hub. This is meant for informational purposes only.  Please don’t take my word for it if you want a diagnosis or treatment recommendation.  Visit your doctor 🙂

What is Rosacea?

According to the Medical Dictionary Online, this is the definition of Rosacea:

A cutaneous disorder primarily of convexities of the central part of the Face, such as Forehead; CHEEK; Nose; and Chin. It is characterized by Flushing; Erythema; Edema; Rhinophyma; papules; and ocular symptoms. It may occur at any age but typically after age 30. There are various subtypes of rosacea: Erythematotelangiectatic, papulopustular, phymatous, and ocular (National Rosacea Society’s Expert Committee on the Classification and Staging of Rosacea, J Am Acad Dermatol 2002; 46:584-7).

In more simple terms, rosacea is a skin condition that presents in a number of different ways. The one thing that everyone with rosacea has in common is skin redness in the affected area.

Also called “acne rosacea”, this skin disorder is typically focused on the central part of the face, such as the cheeks and nose, but it can also affect the outer areas, such as at the temples and closer to the ears.

Some of the symptoms of rosacea can include redness, flushing, blushing easily, bumps, skin thickening, and even eye irritation. The symptoms that you experience depend on the subtype that you have.

There are four rosacea subtypes. Virtually everybody who has the condition starts with subtype 1, though there are some who experience other subtypes without the first one. If left untreated, the condition will frequently – though not always – worsen.

Rosacea Symptoms and Subtypes

Each of the subtypes of the condition has its own set of potential rosacea symptoms. Since each case of this skin disorder is unique, your case will have its own unique combination and severity of some or any of these symptoms.
Regardless of subtype, though, some of the most common symptoms of rosacea are:

  • persistent redness
  • very dry skin
  • very sensitive/reactive skin
  • blushing easily
  • sun burning quickly
  • hot/burning skin
  • itchy skin
  • the development of “plaques”, which are patches of very dry skin that vary in size.

Rosacea Subtype 1 – Facial Redness (known as erythema)

Rosacea Subtype 1 – Facial Redness (known as erythema) - Rosy JulieBC

This is usually focused primarily on the nose and/or the cheeks. Redness appears as a blush or reddening of the skin.  This is known as erythema. As this subtype progresses, blood vessels can become visible.

Rosacea Subtype 2 – Bumps and Pimples (known as papulopustular rosacea)

Rosacea Subtype 2 – Bumps and Pimples (known as papulopustular rosacea) - Rosy JulieBC

These bumps can look quite similar to pink pimples or whiteheads (though not blackheads). They are not the same as the pimples caused by acne vulgaris but are the reason that the condition is sometimes known as “acne rosacea”. That name is, unfortunately, quite misleading and will frequently cause sufferers to choose the wrong treatment strategies.

Rosacea Subtype 3 – Skin Thickening (known as rhinophema)

Rosacea Subtype 3 – Skin Thickening (known as rhinophema)

Thickening of the skin among rosacea sufferers most commonly occurs on the nose. It causes the nose to increase in size and will give it a more bulbous appearance. This is known as rhinophema.

Rosacea Subtype 4 – Eye Irritation (known as ocular rosacea)

Rosacea Subtype 4 – Eye Irritation (known as ocular rosacea)
Over time, untreated rosacea symptoms can even progress to the eyelids and eyes, making them feel sandy or itchy in a way that is often compared to seasonal or dust allergies. Eyes will often look bloodshot and/or watery as the redness makes its way into them, as well. This is known as ocular rosacea.

“Acne Rosacea”

Acne rosaceaAlthough the term “acne rosacea” is used as though it is a form of this condition, it is actually a kind of misnomer for subtype 2.

The pimple-like bumps, redness and inflammation from rosacea subtypes 1 and 2 can often be mistaken for acne vulgaris, to the point that many doctors will misdiagnose one condition for the other. However, acne rosacea is not a form of acne. The pimples in subtype 2 are not the result of acne vulgaris.

Many dermatologists are trying to reduce the use of the term “acne rosacea” in the hopes of promoting a greater separation between the two unrelated conditions.

Rosacea Triggers

There are a virtually countless number of potential rosacea triggers and every patient has a different combination that will lead to his or her own symptom flare-ups. That said, according to the National Rosacea Society, some of the most common triggers include the following:

  • sunlight
  • alcohol (especially red wine)
  • spicy foods and beverages
  • hot (temperature) foods and beverages
  • Environmental temperature extremes
  • Humidity
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Anger or embarrassment
  • Hot baths, showers and saunas
  • Strenuous exercise and physical exertion
  • Drugs causing blood vessel dilation (including certain blood pressure medications)
  • Corticosteroids (including prednisone)

To discover which factors may be triggering your rosacea symptoms, it is often recommended that you keep a rosacea diary that allows you to monitor the various influences you are experiencing and track when a flare-up occurs. Identifying patterns and trends is your best route to knowing your rosacea triggers.

*If you think you may have rosacea, it’s very important to seek the help of a professional in order to obtain a diagnosis.  This condition isn’t necessarily easy to diagnose.  Other conditions, such as lupus, certain forms of dermatitis, eczema, and even acne can present with similar symptoms.  I strongly recommend making a doctor’s appointment your first step.  Where you go from there is completely up to you 🙂