Things to Pack in Your Beach Bag If You're Managing Rosacea

A big, floppy hat is a beach essential for everyone, but it's especially helpful for people with rosacea.

Summertime is filled with warm weather and loads of fun activities, but it can also bring the risk of flares for those people managing rosacea. Why? “The sun is one of the most common triggers of rosacea, period,” says Kenneth Mark, MD, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist with offices in New York City and Aspen, Colorado.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), a flare could result in skin being flushed for hours after you’re out of the sun. Dr. Mark says that may be accompanied by pimples and pustules, or it could be more severe and lead to full-blown red, tender, painful cystic lesions.

It’s important to try to limit flares because they tend to make rosacea flushing worse and more permanent each time. “Treatments which have worked in the past may become ineffective, and rosacea may progress and involve other areas of the skin,” Dr. Mizrachi-Jonisch says. “Repeated flushing events may lead to permanent reddening of the skin.”

Hence it’s a good idea to try to avoid flares from occurring. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun this summer — just make sure you have these items on hand before heading out for a day in the sun.

Bring Along a Visor or Hat to Shade Your Face From the Sun

To minimize your risk of a flare, you’ll want to protect your face from the sun as much as possible. A visor or a wide-brimmed hat should do the trick, Mizrachi-Jonisch says. Don’t only wear hats when you’re heading to the beach, though. The AAD says it’s a good idea to wear one any time you go outside. A good way to tell if your hat provides enough coverage is to hold it up to the sun. If you can’t see any direct light through the fabric, it has enough SPF protection to keep you safe.

Slather on Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen With At Least SPF 30

The AAD says it’s important that rosacea patients apply sunscreen every day, not just in the summer months. Make it a broad-spectrum sunscreen that contains an SPF of at least 30. If you have especially sensitive skin, choose one with only titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or both. The National Rosacea Society recommends applying sunscreen 30 minutes before leaving the house to give it time to fully absorb. Then reapply every two hours, or more often if you’re sweaty or head into the water for a swim.

Grab a Water Bottle to Ward Off Dehydration, Which Can Worsen Rosacea Symptoms

Mizrachi-Jonisch says staying hydrated is important to managing flares and recommends bringing a large water bottle with you to the beach. The reason becoming dehydrated is risky is because “when we are dehydrated, both our mucous membranes and skin are also dehydrated, and dry skin has a decreased barrier function, which can set off an inflammatory cascade and thus trigger rosacea flares,” Mark says.

Fill a Spray Bottle With Cold Water to Stay Cool in the Sunshine

The Cleveland Clinic says hot outdoor temperatures can make your skin flush, so even if you’re planted in the shade, you want to stay cool to protect your skin. One way to do it is by bringing a spray bottle with you. Fill it with cold water before you leave home and mist your face whenever you feel heated.

Remember Your Medication to Keep Your Symptoms of Rosacea Controlled

Mizrachi-Jonisch says it’s a good idea to keep your medication for rosacea on you at all times — especially in warmer weather when you’re spending time outdoors. When a flare does occur, time is of the essence. “The sooner a flare is treated and prevented from exacerbating, the easier it is to treat,” Mark says. The National Rosacea Society advises keeping up with your medicine, as your long-term therapy is likely the best way to prevent issues.

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