Coping With Rosacea

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Living with rosacea can be challenging. While the skin condition itself only rarely causes medical complications, the cosmetic effects vary from person to person. And it’s not uncommon to feel a substantial emotional burden due to the symptoms.

If you have rosacea, stress and anxiety may worsen your symptoms. Learning to cope with rosacea is different for each person. Getting social support, using makeup effectively, and knowing your triggers are all strategies to consider as you focus on living your best life with rosacea.

Emotional

The link between your personal feelings and your skin condition is something you shouldn't ignore. While not everyone has the same exact skin reaction in response to feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, or other emotions, many people with rosacea notice a link.

You may notice that your rosacea flares up when you have short-term mood changes, or your rosacea could be impacted by a mood disorder that is present almost all the time.

Sometimes, it’s the skin appearance that is the main causes of emotional distress. This can lead to a cycle of anxiety and skin flare-ups, especially if you are concerned about your appearance at an upcoming event.

Managing Emotional Triggers

You can try to pinpoint the emotions that tend to worsen your skin symptoms. For example, a job interview, an intimidating or bullying person, or getting ready for performances can all make your rosacea worse.

You might not be able to avoid these situations, and you may benefit in other areas of your life by going through with them.

If you notice that certain situations or people provoke feelings that exacerbate your skin condition, you might benefit from talking with a therapist to help you gain skills to manage your anxiety about these issues.

Coping With Concerns About Appearance

When rosacea is the main issue causing you to have stress or depression, you can get help by talking to your doctor about ways to reduce the visible effects of the condition. Gaining a sense of control through medication or cosmetics can help alleviate some of your negative feelings about your skin.

You might also benefit from counseling to help you cope with your feelings about the aspects of your rosacea that you might not always be able to fully control. 

Physical

Because lifestyle triggers like sun exposure and diet can have an affect on rosacea, identifying the factors that exacerbate your condition is an essential part of keeping your skin at its healthiest. 

You are likely to experience more effects of your rosacea when you are exposed to the common triggers. But you might not develop flare-ups from all of the typical triggers, and you might notice some of your own that aren’t that common.

Using sunscreen and avoiding extreme hot or cold temperatures may keep flare ups at bay. And staying away from cigarettes (including second hand smoke), alcohol, and spicy food is a useful strategy for controlling rosacea. 

Exercise

For some people, physical exercise can worsen rosacea. Because exercise is generally good for your overall health, you can talk with your doctor or a personal trainer about trying physical exercises that don’t cause you to sweat or overheat.

Consider exercising in a relatively cool environment, possibly by keeping a fan nearby. This could be an option for you when you exercise alone, and many fitness centers also keep fans in their exercise rooms. Ask the instructor if you can stay near the fan while participating in the class.

Also, showering or cleansing your face shortly after your exercise can minimize the effects of sweat on your skin. 

Social

While rosacea isn’t rare, you might not personally know others who have it. Networking with people who are living with the same condition as you can help you share your experiences and appreciate that you aren’t alone. You might learn about helpful products or about products that may worsen your skin condition.

You can find people to network with in-person or as part of an online support group. A first step could be asking your dermatologist or their staff to give you recommendations for a support group you could join.

Keep in mind, however, that for some people, support groups can actually cause more harm than good. This may be a problem if members share unproven medical ideas or try to compete with each other in terms of who raises more disease awareness or who has the most distressing disease effects.

Be sure to use social support only if it is beneficial for your own peace of mind and if it helps you cope with your condition and your life.

Practical

When you’ve been living with rosacea, you may decide that taking control of your skin’s appearance is important to you, even if you have accepted your condition emotionally.

It’s understandable that you might want to have a consistent facial appearance that doesn’t change with time or that you may not want to feel obligated to explain skin outbreaks to people. You may also want to avoid appearing like you could have a contagious infection when meeting people who don’t know about your skin condition. 

Makeup and cover up can help you keep a consistent physical appearance that you are comfortable with.

You can experiment with different brands to make sure you use products that do not irritate your skin. And you can find shades of face cover up that blend well with your skin tone. 

If you need help with selecting and learning to put on makeup, consider going to a beauty counter at your local store or to a salon to get advice. Men and women may find makeup beneficial for covering up skin discoloration. 

A Word From Verywell

Rosacea is a chronic condition. Living with rosacea involves an awareness of the interplay between your emotions and your skin. If the emotional challenges are interfering with your peace of mind, be sure to reach out to your doctor for a referral so you can minimize the impact of the condition on your feelings as well as the impact of your emotions on your skin.

You can reach out to your medical team and a social support system to help you cope. And you can develop your own routines—such as a healthy skin care regimen, wearing makeup, or avoiding certain foods—to help you manage your complexion.

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