The best way to survive a rosacea flare-up is to stop it from happening in the first place. Easier said than done!
I’ve been living the Rosy Life for 16 years. I eat foods to avoid rosacea triggers and boost skin health while keeping inflammation down. I sleep on sheets washed in rosacea-friendly natural detergent. I use sunscreen every time I even approach natural light. I avoid spicy foods (mostly), alcohol (okay, I’m only human), and heavy lifting (no problem). I read ingredients on all skincare and am very strict about keeping up my routine. Still, rosacea flare-ups happen.
There are rosacea triggers that simply can’t be avoided: heat waves, frigid weather, stress, hormones…the list goes on. If you have rosacea, flare-ups are a part of your life. Some of us have them all the time, some of us have them very rarely. The key is to be prepared to deal with them. For me, being prepared means having a “first aid kit” for calming rosacea symptoms as they occur.
Depending on where I am, the contents of the kit will be different. After all, I can’t exactly keep a cucumber in my handbag just in case I need to blend one up and apply it to my face! The following are the current contents of my rosacea flare-up first aid kits based on whether I’m at home or not.
Cooling a Rosacea Flare-Up at Home
What’s in my kit?
- Ice packs
- Red and amber LED light therapy
- Cucumber or green tea
The first step is to start drinking water. Give your body what it needs to cool down from the inside out. Water is vital to your body’s temperature regulation and to the health of your skin. If a flare-up on its way, start drinking water and keep sipping on a regular basis.
Next, comes the ice packs. I know that some people are tempted to apply an ice pack directly to the inflamed skin. I’m of a different mindset. Since I know that my skin reacts very badly to extreme cold in the wintertime, this makes me believe that applying ice directly to my face may not be a good idea. Instead, I take one or two ice packs – the small-size gel kind meant for children’s first aid are perfect – and hold them against the back of my neck for around 10 minutes or so. As surprising as it sounds, it actually feels very good since rosacea flare-ups tend to make me overheated.
While I have the ice on my neck, I turn to my red and amber LED light therapy. This isn’t laser or IPL. It’s a very strong LED light power-head that puts out certain very bright wavelengths of red and yellow (amber) light. I was fortunate enough to be a part of a product trial for this type of light therapy, and I haven’t stopped using it since. For me, it quickly clears the discomfort like burning, itching and stinging. The redness is cooled gradually but more quickly than it would on its own.
Once the light therapy session is done, I often apply either green tea (chilled) or cucumber paste (pieces of cucumber I’ve blitzed in the blender) to my face for about 20 minutes to a half hour. This step feels fantastic and is the perfect cooling final stage of my flare-up busting strategy.
Soothing a Rosacea Flare-up While Away from Home
Obviously, light therapy and a fresh cucumber mask are out of the question while away from home at work, at a restaurant or shopping. In these cases, my rosacea flare-up first-aid kit is slightly different.
What’s in my kit?
- Thermal water (travel-size can)
- Instant-cold ice pack
- Mineral green concealer powder (talc-free)
- Mineral foundation powder (talc-free)
- A super-soft mini-kabuki makeup brush
Just like when you’re at home, drinking water is the first step. Cool your body down and hydrate. This sounds too simple to work, but it does help.
Secondly, mist your face with thermal water. This provides an immediate cooling sensation without irritating your face or upsetting any skin care products or makeup you happen to be wearing.
Thirdly, have an instant-cold ice pack with you. These are the type they sell for first aid kits and that don’t need to be frozen because they are made from chemicals that freeze when they mix together. As with the gel ice packs at home, don’t place this against your face; even if it is tempting. Place it against the back of your neck, under your arms, or even on the bottoms of your feet. These locations will cool you down the fastest.
If it doesn’t look like this will be enough to reduce your redness, a touch of green mineral concealer to neutralise the redness, followed by a thin layer or two of mineral foundation powder can help you to hide it. Use gentle, circular motions with a very soft brush to apply the powders then spritz your face with a little more thermal water to give a more natural and finished look to the makeup (and to enjoy a bit more cooling).
Sure, makeup might not be the best thing for your skin, but if you’re away from home and you don’t want to look as red as a tomato, it can help to cool your embarrassment if not your skin. Since anxiety plays a huge role in flushed skin, keeping calm by knowing the redness isn’t showing can make a big difference.
I hope this helps you through your next rosacea flare-up. Do you have different items in your emergency kit? Please share them in the comments!