Rosacea is a skin condition that affects the skin on your face, and among its many triggers is cold weather. Dealing with rosacea in the wintertime can be difficult, but there are a variety of treatments and preventative measures offered by your dermatologist.
How to Identify and Treat Rosacea
Rosacea is a skin condition that impacts the face. It appears as redness or pimple-like lesions on the cheeks, nose and eyes. The cause of rosacea is not fully understood, but people with family history of rosacea are more prone to it. It might be caused by the presence of a certain kind of mite on the skin, environmental factors like climate, or an immune system overreaction. Rosacea can happen to anyone, regardless of age or skin type, but is most common in fair-skinned, middle-aged women. This chronic condition is characterized by flare-ups of redness or acne-like bumps. These bumps can contain pus, much like acne, and feel hot and sensitive to touch. Rosacea’s redness is caused by broken or inflamed blood vessels in the skin. Rosacea is not always easy to diagnose right away because of its similarity to other conditions like acne or a simple rash.
How Winter Triggers Rosacea
While the root cause of rosacea isn’t close to being figured out, there are many ‘triggers’ that dermatologists are aware of. Triggers are any scenario or change that can cause a flare-up of rosacea. Some common triggers that many people report include: red wine or other alcohol, certain medications (notably anything that dilates blood vessels), stress and other emotional responses and, of course, weather. Sunlight can trigger rosacea, but the most common seasonal trigger for rosacea is dry, cold, winter air.
Temperature extremes, or sudden changes in temperature, like heading into a heated home after time in the chilly New England outdoors, can trigger rosacea. Blustery winter wind can dry out your skin, and wind itself can be a trigger. Since cold air holds very little moisture, it can actually draw much-needed hydration from your skin. Winter has so many contributing factors that it’s no doubt many rosacea-sufferers dread winter more than any other season. Fortunately for you, your dermatologist has advice and a variety of tools in the fight against rosacea.
Treating and Preventing Rosacea in Winter
There are so many different options for treating rosacea, but they don’t all work the same for everyone. Some treatments are catered around your specific triggers or to how your particular rosacea appears. The first line of defense against rosacea is topical or oral medications focusing on treating the redness and irritation it can cause. Topical medications that are designed to reduce redness are prescription gels or lotions that work to constrict the blood vessels. If your rosacea forms pus-filled bumps, there are other topical drugs that can reduce their appearance. For more severe acne-like rosacea, oral antibiotics may be prescribed to treat these bumps. Oral acne drugs can also work on stubborn rosacea in some scenarios. Isotretinoin, a powerful acne drug, can work wonders on severe rosacea that causes pus-filled bumps.
For the sake of prevention, dermatologists recommend good skincare as the first line of defense against rosacea. Some cosmetic products can actually be a trigger for rosacea, so be aware of any products or moisturizers you use in your beauty routine. Properly moisturizing can help tackle the winter dryness that is often responsible for the triggering of rosacea. Also, dermatologists recommend balancing the indoor humidity of your home with a humidifier. A humidifier can counter the seasonal dryness and dry air produced by furnaces to cope with cold weather.
There are some treatment options for rhinophyma or rosacea scarring alone, including CO2 Resurfacing. CO2 Resurfacing is a laser therapy that uses carbon dioxide (CO2) and laser technology to resurface the skin. It works by removing outer layers of skin, which is useful when taking on rhinophyma, as it’s a build-up of skin. This procedure can also address scarring caused by acne-like rosacea.
Rosacea is a difficult skin condition that impacts millions of Americans, and winter often makes it worse. Treating and preventing rosacea in the wintertime doesn’t have to be so difficult, if you want help, don’t hesitate to call the skincare experts at Northeast Dermatology Associates.
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