It’s been proven that limited exposure to sunlight has certain health benefits, but how does it affect rosacea?
From improving our mood to stimulating the production of Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin! – spending time outdoors on sunny days can certainly be good for us in a whole variety of ways. Sunshine is an instant boost for most of us and, as long as we take measures not to burn, is something we can revel in.
Unfortunately, a sunny day isn’t quite so good for anyone with the chronic skin condition rosacea.
Sunlight can trigger rosacea flares
Sunlight is one of the main triggers of rosacea flares, so it stands to reason that it would also make existing occurrences worse. Extreme heat or cold and, perhaps surprisingly, even the wind can trigger a rosacea flare-up.
There are other factors that can also bring it on, such as red wine and spicy food, but according to the National Rosacea Society, frustratingly it’s sunlight that’s the most common trigger of flares, with it affecting about 80 percent of rosacea sufferers.
It’s obviously impossible and totally impractical for anyone with rosacea to live entirely indoors in order to totally avoid sunlight, so dermatologists recommend trying to avoid the sun when it’s at its strongest; that means keeping out of direct sunlight between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm whenever possible.
When outdoors in bright sunlight, people with rosacea are advised to wear a hat and apply a hypoallergenic broad-spectrum sunscreen, which is the most effective protection from UVA (long wave ultraviolet A) and UVB (short wave ultraviolet B) rays.
Rosacea is a very common skin condition, and although it’s known to affect lighter-skinned middle-aged women seemingly more than any other demographic, it can occur in anyone of any complexion or age, including people of colour.
It's worth knowing that you'll still need protection from bright sunlight even if you don't fit the usual rosacea profile, and are wondering if you can risk sunshine when fairer-skinned people can't!
Because the cause of this skin disorder is currently unknown, and also due to the fact that a cure has yet to be developed, rosacea remains something of a mystery to dermatological science.
It’s a progressive condition, but while it cannot be cured there are measures, as detailed below, that you can take to keep it as under control as possible.
How to manage rosacea
- Seek professional guidance: The first step should be to place yourself under the care of an expert. A dermatologist or family doctor will be able to precisely diagnose your condition, and help plan a management strategy for you, including advice on treatment and any lifestyle changes you may need to introduce.
- Avoid your triggers as much as possible: There are many things that can trigger outbreaks of rosacea, a lot of which can easily be avoided. Sunlight, as mentioned, heat and humidity; foods and beverages including spicy dishes; red wines and spirits; caffeine, some dairy products, and foods that contain cinnamaldehyde, like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and chocolate. Rosacea is such a unique condition that even usually healthy activities - such as vigorous exercise or taking a sauna - can trigger an occurrence. Keep a trigger diary to work out which things provoke a flare on your own unique skin.
- Medications and skincare products: Using a combination of prescribed drugs such as oral antibiotics, as recommended by your healthcare expert, and good, natural skincare products like Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream and Balmonds Cooling Cream will help to keep your rosacea under control.
For more information about managing rosacea, see our article How Do You Clear Up Rosacea?
Recommended products for rosacea
Balmonds Cooling Cream
with shea, menthol, aloe vera & lavender
Balmonds Intensive Facial Oil
with rosehip, calendula, lavender & chamomile