How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

How to calm rosacea flare-ups—including redness and burning

Help prevent flare-ups that can cause redness, dilated blood vessels, and inflamed acne-like blemishes.

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Curology Team
Sep 06, 2022 · 5 min read

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We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.
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Rosy cheeks are one thing. But rosacea? That’s another.

Rosacea is a common skin condition with symptoms that may include a burning and stinging feeling on the skin and rosy-red cheeks. Currently, there’s no known cure. Rosacea symptoms can seemingly go away, only to flare up once again. But thankfully, there are several ways you can help manage your rosacea symptoms. Here, we’ll explain how to calm rosacea flare-ups and take a look at potential contributing factors that can trigger them. We’ll also share some expert treatments to help manage flare-ups if and when they happen.

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that generally occurs in cycles called flare-ups, which are characterized by symptoms such as persistent redness, visible blood vessels, and inflamed acne-like lesions. Most of the time, it affects the central part of the face including the cheeks and nose, but it can also manifest in other areas, like the ears, chest, and neck.¹ Symptoms of rosacea can include:²

  • Burning sensation (the skin feels hot and tender)

  • Frequent flushing or blushing, with persistent redness across the cheeks and nose

  • Acne-like lesions (papules and pustules)

  • Dilated or broken blood vessels (telangiectasias)

Here’s one question we’re often asked: Does rosacea get worse with age? Yes, it can as life goes on—especially if left untreated. 

What can trigger rosacea flare-ups?

In a survey conducted by the National Rosacea Society of 1,066 rosacea patients, 81% reported that sun exposure was a trigger, followed by emotional stress (79%) and hot weather (75%). But the truth is anything that leads to a flare-up is a trigger. Triggers vary from person to person, but many people share common triggers that can induce rosacea to flare up. Those can include:³

  • Certain foods and beverages (spicy dishes, chocolate, citrus, and hot drinks).

  • Emotional fluctuations like stress and anxiety.

  • Alcohol consumption (red wine, beer, bourbon, gin, vodka, and champagne).

  • Weather (heat and humidity, and cold and windy). Hot and humid weather can aggravate the skin and increase sebum production, just as cold weather can dry the skin. Both can lead to inflamed or irritated skin, and result in rosacea flare-ups in some people. 

  • Sun exposure (UV rays). UV light can increase inflammation and telangiectasis.⁴ 

  • Certain medical conditions (menopause, chronic cough, caffeine withdrawal). 

  • Skincare products that contain alcohol, witch hazel, or added fragrance.

How to ease rosacea flare-ups/burning

Avoiding personal triggers is the easiest way to prevent or minimize the symptoms associated with rosacea. But even when you do what you can, you may still experience some symptoms. So, if you’re wondering how to calm down a rosacea flare fast, these tips can help ease symptoms effectively and naturally: 

  • Use a humidifier to improve skin dryness. Dry air can trigger rosacea flare-ups in some people. A humidifier, especially in dry winter climates, can help prevent dry skin. 

  • Stay hydrated. Drinking water won’t prevent rosacea flare-ups, but hydration is important to maintain optimal health by keeping your internal organs healthy.⁵

  • Practice stress relief activities. Learn to manage stress using yoga, meditation, or other activities.

  • Use a gentle moisturizer. A good skincare routine that includes cleansing, treating, and moisturizing can help prevent symptoms associated with flare-ups. Choose products formulated for sensitive skin. 

  • Use a medication known to help rosacea. Topical creams and gels containing ingredients like azelaic acid, metronidazole, and ivermectin decrease inflammation and erythema associated with rosacea flare-ups.⁶

Prevent rosacea flare-ups like a pro

How long rosacea flare-ups last varies from person to person. The best way to avoid flare-ups is to prevent them from happening in the first place. (Be sure to check out our complete rosacea guide for more helpful tips.) In the meantime, here are some other things you can do to help ward off rosacea flare-ups:

  • Use sunscreen. UV rays have been shown to aggravate or worsen rosacea in some people, so always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Mineral sunscreens (aka physical sunscreen) use zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide to reflect UV radiation and are generally better tolerated in people with sensitive skin. Some chemical sunscreens use ingredients that might lead to irritation. 

  • Avoid heat and stress. Heat and stress are both common triggers for rosacea flare-ups. Do your best to stay cool and calm if these are triggers for you! 

  • Choose cold drinks. Hot drinks are a common trigger. If this is the case for you, avoid this by drinking cool or cold drinks instead. 

  • Be selective with cosmetic products. Ingredients in some cosmetics may aggravate the skin. These include alcohol, witch hazel, fragrance, menthols, peppermint, eucalyptus, and dyes.  

  • Check your prescriptions. If you start taking a new medication and notice a flare-up, have a conversation with your medical provider (but never stop taking any prescribed medication without consulting your doctor first).

Is it rosacea or acne?

acne vs. rosacea questionnaire

Both acne and rosacea are chronic inflammatory skin conditions. But acne occurs when pores become clogged with excess sebum and dead skin cells. Bacteria feed on the sebum, which can lead to an inflammatory response. Pustules, papules, and redness can be associated with both conditions. However, with rosacea, facial redness typically spreads from the center of the face—that’s not indicative of acne, where redness occurs in the area that’s breaking out. Blackheads only occur with acne, and dilated or broken blood vessels only occur with rosacea.

Curology can treat acne + rosacea 

When it comes to caring for your skin, we’re here to help. Curology was founded in 2014 by Dr. David Lorschter, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. As a personalized skincare service, we’re dedicated to providing customized solutions for our members that deliver results.   

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Subject to consultation. 30-day trial. Just cover $4.95 in S&H.
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Curology can help treat rosacea with ingredients such as ivermectin, metronidazole, and azelaic acid using a personalized formula prescribed by one of our licensed in-house dermatology providers. It’s simple to become a member. Just answer a short quiz and snap some selfies to help us get to know your unique skin, and one of our dermatology providers will prescribe a custom mix of three ingredients chosen by an expert to meet your skincare needs. The first month is on us—just pay $4.95 (plus tax)* to cover shipping and handling. 

FAQs

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that generally occurs in cycles called flare-ups, which are characterized by symptoms such as persistent redness, visible blood vessels, and inflamed acne-like lesions.

What can trigger rosacea flare-ups?

In a survey conducted by the National Rosacea Society of 1,066 rosacea patients, 81% reported that sun exposure was a trigger, followed by emotional stress (79%) and hot weather (75%). But the truth is anything that leads to a flare-up is a trigger.

How to ease rosacea flare-ups/burning?

These tips can help ease symptoms effectively and naturally:

  • Use a humidifier to improve skin dryness. Dry air can trigger rosacea flare-ups in some people. A humidifier, especially in dry winter climates, can help prevent dry skin. 

  • Stay hydrated. Drinking water won’t prevent rosacea flare-ups, but hydration is important to maintain optimal health by keeping your internal organs healthy.

  • Practice stress relief activities. Learn to manage stress using yoga, meditation, or other activities.

  • Use a gentle moisturizer. A good skincare routine that includes cleansing, treating, and moisturizing can help prevent symptoms associated with flare-ups. Choose products formulated for sensitive skin. 

  • Use a medication known to help rosacea. Topical creams and gels containing ingredients like azelaic acid, metronidazole, and ivermectin decrease inflammation and erythema associated with rosacea flare-ups.

How to prevent rosacea flare-ups like a pro?

Here are some other things you can do to help ward off rosacea flare-ups:

  • Use sunscreen. UV rays have been shown to aggravate or worsen rosacea in some people, so always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30.

  • Avoid heat and stress. Heat and stress are both common triggers for rosacea flare-ups. Do your best to stay cool and calm if these are triggers for you! 

  • Choose cold drinks. Hot drinks are a common trigger. If this is the case for you, avoid this by drinking cool or cold drinks instead.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. National Rosacea Society. Frequently Asked Questions. (n.d.)

  2. Gallo, R. L., et al. Standard classification and pathophysiology of rosacea: The 2017 update by the National Rosacea Society Expert Committee. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (2017).

  3.  National Rosacea Society. Factors that may trigger rosacea flare-ups. (n.d.).

  4. Morgado-Carrasco, D., et al. Impact of ultraviolet radiation and exposure on rosacea: Key role of photoprotection in optimizing treatment.Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. (November 2021).

  5. Popkin, B.M., et al. Water, hydration, and health. Nutricial Reviews. (2010, August 1).

  6. Thiboutot, D., et al. Standard management options for rosacea: The 2019 update by the National Rosacea Society Expert Committee. Journal of the Academy of Dermatology. (2020, February 6).

* Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Results may vary.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Kristen Jokela, NP-C

Kristen Jokela, NP-C

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