By Julie B. Campbell
I absolutely love the spring. As someone who lives in a very snowy part of Canada, it’s such a relief to see the snow banks melting and to finally enjoy a walk that doesn’t include bitter wind whipping in my face. The cold, windy, dry weather is terrible for rosacea symptoms. Oddly though, springtime can be worse. Spring is a kind of perfect storm when it comes to irritating my rosacea-prone skin.
One day will be freezing cold, then the next day will be sunny and summery. That will be followed by another cold snap and then suddenly a rainy, damp day. Temperatures fluctuate. Humidity is up and down. The sun hides behind heavy clouds only to suddenly appear at a huge UV intensity. Not to mention the pollen! If there’s an environmental condition that can irritate my skin, the spring is likely to provide it.
For that reason, I usually try to have a bit of a strategy in place. Nothing too crazy, but enough to help me to keep the worst of the symptoms under control until the weather can figure out what it wants to do for the summer…then a whole other strategy needs to begin. But for now, it’s all about getting ready for springtime and everything it throws in my direction.
Here are some of the things I do to keep my skin under control despite everything springtime does to try to cause a flare-up:
Make consistency a priority – A consistent skin care routine and light therapy for rosacea schedule is important to my skin health at the best of times. However, during the changing of the seasons and when other triggers I can’t prevent – like pollen – are present, consistency becomes an even greater priority. I try to keep to a very set schedule, using the exact same skin care products and timing every day
Focus on sun protection – Sun exposure is one of my top rosacea triggers. That being the case, I do think of sun protection as a year-round effort. Particularly as I know that the majority of UV rays still penetrate the clouds. That said, the fact is that I naturally receive far less direct sun exposure in the winter than in the summer. Therefore, I not only need to start paying attention to protecting my skin as I always do, but I also need to keep in mind that my skin can easily go into “sun shock” from suddenly being exposed to far more sunshine than I have experienced in months. I upgrade my sunscreen and start focusing on keeping my face shaded either with large brimmed hats, parasols or staying out of the sun when I can.
Keep winter gear handy – Since the springtime often comes with a few surprise wintry snaps, I keep a hat and scarf handy just in case. That way, I will still be inclined to put it on and protect my face from the cold and wind instead of trying to tough through as I would if I’d put all my winter clothes away for the year.
Pay attention to seasonal allergies – Springtime allergies are a bit of a double-whammy for me. I have to cope with the fresh release of pollen and molds in the air outside from the damp, mild weather. However, this is also a time when a lot of winter allergies from indoor dust are at their worst because my home has been closed up for a few months. I find that a good spring cleaning, opening windows to air out my home (whenever it’s warm enough to do so) and talking to my doctor about allergy shots/antihistamine use is an important start for every spring. Allergies are a direct route to a rosacea flare-up for me, so keeping on top of them wherever possible is very important.
Avoid other known triggers – I try pretty hard to avoid my rosacea triggers at any time of year. However, in springtime, when there are so many additional triggers outside of my control, I work even harder to avoid the ones I know and can voluntarily remove from my life. For instance, when my skin seems very balanced, I may enjoy a glass of white wine or I could indulge in one of my favorite spicy Thai dishes. Even if my cheeks get a little bit rosy, it will usually fade quickly afterward. However, in the springtime, I banish anything that could contribute to my rosacea symptoms. I pay very close attention to everything I eat and drink, intense physical exercise, sun exposure, and even my anxiety levels (as much as humanly possible).
Focus on overall health – At the same time that I’m avoiding triggers, I also try to place an additional focus on my overall health. Springtime is a beautiful time of year to do that, too. I go for a lot of walks, enjoy some low- to mid-impact exercise and breathe the fresh air. I work on easing my stress and make meals that are packed with nutrients. This improves my overall skin health and general wellness. In this way, my skin is healthier and more resilient and the rest of my body is less prone to illness. Since having a cold or flu is a sure path to a flare-up, preventing infection is also a great way to kill two birds with one stone.
It takes a surprisingly short amount of time for me to adapt to this new springtime lifestyle, despite the fact that it looks like quite a lengthy list. By keeping rosacea flare-ups at bay, the reward is well worth the effort.
Source: Talk Health Partnership