Unlike the lyrics in the Gershwin song, when it's "summertime" the living can be anything but easy for rosacea sufferers. Fortunately, while it's the season when rosacea tends to heat up just like the outdoors, most of these problems can be overcome with proper precautions.
In a National Rosacea Society survey of more than 700 rosacea patients, 71 percent said their condition was affected by changing seasons and 57 percent named summer as the time when their rosacea is at its worst.
Summer also is the leading time of year respondents said they must make the most lifestyle changes to avoid rosacea flare-ups. But the good news is that 83 percent said lifestyle modifications, along with medical therapy prescribed by their dermatologists, had improved their symptoms.
In another National Rosacea Society survey, sun exposure was ranked as the most common trigger for flare-ups. Hot weather ranked third, while humidity, physical exercise and wind were high on the list as well.
Armed with this knowledge, patients should develop lifestyle procedures now for minimizing hot weather flare-ups from seasonal rosacea tripwires that affect their individual cases. Here are some basic precautions to consider:
Always use a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or higher. Apply sunscreen daily on exposed areas of the skin and face at least one hour before going outside. Use a waterproof sunscreen when swimming. If sunscreen irritates your skin, try a pediatric formulation that is gentler but gives the same protection.
If your rosacea is extremely sensitive to the sun, wear a large-brimmed hat to shield your face.
Swimmers may find chlorinated or salt water irritating to their skin. Rinse your face immediately after swimming and reapply sunscreen if you remain outdoors.
To ease the effects of high humidity, try to keep the face cool and clean. Avoid abrasive cleansers because excessive cleaning can lead to further irritation. Do not use facial products that contain alcohol or other harsh additives.
For summer activities that expose you to wind -- boating, a windy day at the beach or on a golf course -- use a light scarf and large-brimmed hat to shield your face.
Avoid flushing and overheating from hot weather or physical exertion. Try to keep your body temperature down by chewing on ice chips, using a spray bottle filled with water to cool down your face or draping a cold wet towel around your neck.
Take extra precaution when exercising during the summer and avoid any high-intensity workouts. Instead, try low-intensity exercise routines at shorter but more frequent intervals.
Avoid any outdoor exercise between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun is at its hottest. On extremely hot days, go to an air-conditioned gymnasium instead.
Every sufferer will not find it necessary to take all of these precautions. To determine your individual tripwires, the National Rosacea Society offers a free Patient Diary Checklist to help you pinpoint those factors that aggravate your particular case.
A little knowledge and forethought go a long way in managing your rosacea during the summer. Keep these hints handy as the temperatures rise and, most importantly, adhere to the medical therapy prescribed by your doctor.
The National Rosacea Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of people with rosacea by raising awareness, providing public health information and supporting medical research on this widespread but little-known disorder. The information the Society provides should not be considered medical advice, nor is it intended to replace
consultation with a qualified physician. The Society does not evaluate, endorse or recommend any particular medications, products, equipment or treatments. Rosacea may vary substantially from one patient to another, and treatment must be tailored by a physician for each individual case. For more information, visit About Us.