Knowing how to calm rosacea flare ups from exercising requires paying close attention to your skin and the ingredients you use in your skin care products.
If you’re someone who has rosacea, it may feel like you’re flying solo in your fight or as if the cards are stacked against you. We totally get it. First of all, know that you’re not alone in your frustration or struggle because, according to the National Rosacea Society, over 16 million people in America have rosacea. Second, there’s a bounty of resources, products, and treatments available that can help you manage your skin and keep you feeling confident, healthy, and happy. That’s where we want to come in.
Today we’re talking about a topic that doesn’t get too much attention, but that we feel many people with rosacea can relate to: exercising and dealing with post-gym flare ups. With the help of Kenneth Mark—a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist who’s based in NYC, the Hamptons, and Aspen—we’re covering what rosacea is, why exercise can lead to a flare up, and what to do before, during, and after your workout to keep your skin calm.
What, exactly, is rosacea?
If you’ve been diagnosed with rosacea, you probably already know the answer to this question. However, there are lots of people who maybe aren’t fully aware of the symptoms or signs and could use a crash course.
In short: Rosacea is a chronic, common skin disease that causes persistent redness on areas of the face and nose that normally blush, explains Mark. That includes your forehead, chin, and lower half of your nose.
“Rosacea can also cause redness and visible blood vessels in your face, and may also produce small, red, pus-filled bumps [called] pustules,” he says. “These signs and symptoms typically occur during ‘flares’ of the disease followed by periods of remissions.”
Why exercise can cause rosacea flare ups:
Here’s the thing: Pretty much anyone who breaks a sweat is going to get a little red. That’s a completely normal part of exercise, and it’s important to keep in mind that redness alone does not equal rosacea. That said, people with rosacea can often experience more intense redness, or redness that lingers.
“While we do not fully understand the pathophysiology of rosacea, we do know that vasodilation (the dilation of blood vessels) and inflammation play a key role in it,” says Mark. “Exercise can obviously cause an increase in body temperature with resultant vasodilation and increase in redness.”
Preventing intense rosacea flare ups when working out
To prevent rosacea flare ups in the first place, you must first be aware of the common triggers. Those include alcohol consumption, sun exposure, hot environments, spicy foods, and stress. Engaging in any of the above before, during, or after your workout will only increase your likelihood of a flare up.
One of the most effective steps you can take when working out is to make sure you’re properly hydrated. You should walk into your workout hydrated, consume lots of water during, and gulp down on even more H20 afterward. This also helps keep your body at a cooler temperature and your skin clearer, in general.
“Also, decreasing workout intensity, decreasing the heat of your environment when possible, and decreasing the time of your workout can help,” notes Mark.
Maybe that translates to quitting hot yoga, running in the early morning or evening versus midday, trying interval training versus intense and ongoing cardio, or dropping the temperature in your house if you’re working out at home. That also could mean investing in a fan (or seeking one out at the gym) for your workouts, and using cool compresses before, during, and after exercise.
Another good tip is to refrigerate your favorite creams, sheet masks, or aloe vera, and apply them after your shower. Benton’s Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel, Klairs’ Rich Moist Soothing Cream, and Manefit’s Beauty Planner Cucumber Sheet Mask are all formulated to be soothing on your skin.
Ultimately, you shouldn’t let rosacea dictate your world or prevent you from getting the exercise that keeps you feeling good. Remember: Everyone gets a little red during a workout, and by following the advice outlined above you’ll be able to leave the gym with skin that’s happy and healthy.