Dealing With Rosacea In The Summer

Dry, red, itchy skin? You’d think it’s a dry cold winter we’re dealing with. But nope. It’s the summer. Here’s how to get relief.

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rosacea in the summer, a sketch of a woman with flushed cheeks
illustration credit: shutterstock

Seeing red

As someone with rosacea, you’d expect to find relief with weather changes, especially when winter is done and gone. The end of dry, cold air irritating your skin. No more artificial heating to irritate skin. But summer brings on a whole new set of problems for those with rosacea, who often suffer from red, inflamed skin. We connected with Dr. Jerry Tan, a Windsor-based dermatologist and spokesperson for the Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada about how rosacea in the summer is a whole new set of issues and exactly how you can deal.

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rosacea in the summer, illustration of a sun hat, sunscreen, cocktail
illustration credit: shutterstock

Rosacea in the summer: What you’re experiencing

The dermatologist says:  We’re outside more in the summer and our schedule is packed. Just try to find a weekend without a wedding, BBQs or camping trip. And Dr. Tan says that means an onslaught of triggers. “Sun exposure can aggravate redness of skin,” he says. “Increased heat and humidity can worsen flushing. And increased alcohol intake can aggravate both redness and facial flushing. […] In general, rosacea outbreaks are often associated with feeling hot. So stay cool – both in temperature and in temperament.”

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rosacea in the summer, sketch of women doing yoga with flushed cheeks
illustration credit: shutterstock

Rosacea in the summer: Other summer triggers

The dermatologist says: It’s not just the sun and the heat that will trigger a reaction, but also summer activities. Here’s how Dr. Tan says to deal with rosacea in the summer.

Exercise: “If you exercise in summer, try to do this in the early part of the day or in the evening when it’s cooler. Keep cold water on hand and sip frequently. Spritzing cool water on your face and sucking on ice chips is another way to cool the facial blood supply.”

Stress: “Summer is a time of social events and lots of entertaining. These can increase stress – a major trigger for rosacea. Plan ahead as much as you can and get help for special occasions. […] Emotional situations can often increase flushing and worsen facial redness.”

Alcohol: “While red wine is a common culprit for rosacea outbreaks, other alcoholic drinks can also set off flushing and redness. Try white wine or spritzers and alternate alcoholic drinks with cold water,” he says, adding that white wine seems to be much less irritating than red wine.

Spicy foods: Hold off on the fiery ribs. “Limit spicy foods as well as salad dressings and marinades made with peppery or hot spices.”

Hot places: “Stay away from barbecues and limit sitting in direct sunlight. If you feel a flush coming on, chew on small ice chips and find a cool, breezy spot where you can relax.”

Antibiotics: “In the summer, standard oral antibiotics used in rosacea should be used with caution, as these may increase the risk of sunburn reactions,” he says. These include: doxycycline, tetracycline and minocycline.

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rosacea in the summer, a sketch of a sunscreen bottle
illustration credit: shutterstock

Rosacea in the summer:  Switch up your skin care strategy

The dermatologist says: In the winter, your rosacea needs constant love with hydration. But in the summer months you need a new tactic. There is no need to cancel your summer plans. But you don’t need to suffer from these triggers either. You can control them, so that you don’t have facial redness, pimples and/or skin thickening, particularly of the nose.

Limit sun exposure: “It is important to maximize sun protection,” says Dr. Tan. Avoid sitting in the sun, especially between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are at their most intense. As for what to look for in a sunscreen, choose an SPF of 50 plus that is also broad spectrum (meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays).

Give your skin some rest: “Skin treatments, such as intense pulse light therapy, should not be used on tanned skin due to increased risk of adverse reactions such as colour change to the skin and increased risk of inflammation.”

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rosacea in the summer clothes
illustration credit: shutterstock

Rosacea in the summer: Beautiful skin and great style

The dermatologist says: We’ve likely hammered home that sun exposure will cause a rosacea flare-up. And you get it: Cover up your skin. Dr. Tan says to choose “Light, loose clothing with ample coverage.” Wear a chic broad-brimmed hat, UV-protective sunglasses, UPF clothing and sun block.

For more, read 15 Stylish Ways To Stay Protected Under The Sun.

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rosacea in the summer, confidence and makeup sketch
illustration credit: shutterstock

Rosacea in the summer: How to be confident with rosacea

The dermatologist says: It’s perfectly normal not to feel yourself when you experience rosacea a reaction. But letting it affect your day-to-day life is not the way to go, especially during the summer when we’re supposed to be vacationing, partying and getting outside. Dr. Tan recommends using a foundation with good coverage and a mineral sunscreen on your face. Remember, you have rosacea – you are not rosacea.


DermaBlend Smooth Liquid Camo Foundation, $45.50 at

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50, 20, at mass retailers.

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