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Rosacea - Preventing rosacea

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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You can take steps to prevent your symptoms of rosacea from flaring up.

Avoiding triggers

Avoiding known triggers can help reduce the severity and frequency of your rosacea symptoms. To establish what triggers your symptoms, you could keep a daily diary of your activities.

Advice about how to avoid common triggers of rosacea is explained below.


As sunlight is the most commonly reported trigger of rosacea, you should use sunscreen every day, even when it's overcast.

A sunscreen cream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 is recommended. A broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UV-A and UV-B light should be used. Using sunscreens specifically designed for children may help reduce skin irritation.

During summer months, minimise your exposure to the sun, particularly in the middle of the day when the sun is hottest. However, remember sun can also be strong in the morning and evening, so take adequate precautions at these times as well.

To reduce your exposure to the sun:

  • regularly apply sunscreen to your skin
  • wear a wide-brimmed hat


After sunlight, stress is the second most reported trigger of rosacea. Successfully managing your stress levels can help control your symptoms.

You can reduce stress by:

  • taking regular exercise
  • eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • getting the right amount of sleep

As strenuous exercise can trigger an outbreak of rosacea, a low-intensity exercise programme, such as walking or swimming, may be better than high-intensity activities, such as running or aerobics.

You may also want to try relaxation techniques, such as:

  • deep breathing exercises
  • meditation
  • yoga

Read about stress management for more information about coping with, and reducing stress.

Food and drink

The most commonly reported food- and drink-related triggers are alcohol and spicy foods. You may want to completely remove these from your diet to see if your rosacea improves.

However, there are many other dietary triggers that can adversely affect some people with rosacea. Include information about how your diet affects your rosacea symptoms in your rosacea diary.

Cold weather

Covering your face and nose with a scarf can help protect your skin from cold temperatures and wind.

If you need to spend considerable time outside during cold weather, protect your face with a balaclava.

Skincare techniques

The advice below about skincare techniques may also help control your rosacea symptoms.

  • Do not rub, scrub or massage your face. It can irritate your skin
  • Gently clean your skin every morning and evening using a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser.  Use soap-free cleansers with non-alkaline or neutral pH. Avoid scented soaps and alcohol-based skin cleansers
  • Rinse your face with lukewarm water and allow skin to dry thoroughly before you apply medication or make-up
  • Look for products suitable for sensitive skin; usually described as mild, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and non-comedogenic (will not block pores)
  • Use a moisturiser to soothe skin if it feels sore
  • Avoid oil-based or waterproof cosmetics requiring solvents for removal. Use water-based make-up
  • Be aware some gels have alcohol bases. Water-based skin products are now on the market and are kinder on the skin. They are usually known as creams and serums
  • Avoid astringents, toners and other facial or hair products that contain ingredients that might irritate your skin, such as fragrances, alcohol, menthol, witch hazel, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, camphor, clove oil, peppermint, sodium lauryl sulphate and lanolin
  • You may want to avoid anything on your skin that you aren't sure of and then gradually reintroduce products once your symptoms have been treated and cleared
  • Men may find that using an electric razor, rather than a blade, helps reduce skin irritation
  • Some patients find that regular facial massage reduces lymphoedema
  • Do not use steroid cream unless you are specifically instructed to by your GP. It may make your symptoms worse
Medical Review: July 01, 2012
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