Why Does My Rosacea Flare Up in Winter?

Dec 13, 2022
Why Does My Rosacea Flare Up in Winter?
Rosacea is a sometimes troublesome skin condition. Learn more about why it often gets worse in the winter.

Rosacea is a skin condition that can sometimes feel very bothersome. It often flares up when you least expect it. It’s estimated that at least 5.46% of people deal with rosacea but it’s sometimes misdiagnosed as acne or psoriasis.

Rosacea is an inflammatory condition that causes enlarged blood vessels in your face, small pus-filled bumps, and redness. Most people notice that it flares up at unpredictable times. The providers at Integrated Dermatology of 19th Street in Washington, DC, explain why rosacea tends to flare up in the winter.

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a very common skin condition, affecting approximately 14 million people in the U.S. Some of the symptoms of rosacea may include the following:

  • Facial blushing or flushing
  • Swollen bumps
  • Visible veins
  • Burning sensation
  • Enlarged nose
  • Eye problems, such as watery eyes or burning

If you think you have rosacea, see our dermatologists to get diagnosed rather than just trying to treat a suspected case by yourself.

What causes a flare-up

Rosacea can lie dormant for quite a while with periods of flare-ups. Here are some of the triggers that can cause flare-ups:

  • Stress
  • Cold weather
  • Heat, including saunas and hot tubs
  • Exercise
  • Diet, such as dairy products, citrus fruits, soy sauce, beans, and spicy foods
  • Beverages, such as beer, red wine, spirits, and hot drinks
  • Cosmetics, especially skin and hair products containing alcohol
  • Medications, especially vasodilators and topical steroids

Your individual triggers may vary from these. It’s important to keep a log of which things seem to cause a reaction.

Dealing with winter flare-ups

As cold weather and stress are common triggers, it’s no suprise that rosacea often flares up in the winter. The wintry weather outside followed by indoor heating can be tough on your skin, leading to dryness, cracking, and flare-ups. Additionally, holiday stress and festive diets can take a toll as well. 

That’s why during the winter, it’s especially important to keep an eye on your diet and stress levels and stay on top of your prevention and treatment routine. 

How to manage rosacea flare-ups

When you have a rosacea flare-up, you’ll want to do everything that you can to try to manage it. Some of the best self-care measures for a rosacea flare-up include:

  • Use a humidifier, particularly in winter, when the air is drier
  • Use a fragrance-free moisturizer
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Place a towel in cold water and wrap it around your neck
  • Try stress-relief techniques such as yoga and meditation

Many of these techniques should help give you some relief from your rosacea. If it doesn’t work, seeing a dermatologist can help.

How a doctor treats rosacea

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for rosacea but we can help you get a handle on a rosacea flare-up. Here are some of the things we may try:

Oral antibiotics

Doctors may prescribe oral antibiotics to help manage your rosacea. These medications include tetracycline antibiotics, which are usually prescribed for 6-12 weeks, depending on the severity of your rosacea flare-up.

Topical medications

You can use topical medications, either alone or in addition to taking oral antibiotics. The topical medications may include metronidazole gel or cream, azelaic acid, sulfacetamide sodium or sulfur, brimonidine gel, or topical ivermectin.

Other procedures 

Our doctors can also try other procedures to help a rosacea flare-up. These include the following:

  • Dermabrasion to remove the top layer of the skin
  • Intense pulsed light treatments or lasers to remove damaged blood vessels
  • Electrocautery to remove damaged blood vessels

If you think you have rosacea, you should seek a consultation with our dermatologists. Contact the providers at Integrated Dermatology of 19th Street or request an appointment online.