What can I do to stop blushing from rosacea?


A little blushing, especially in an embarrassing situation, leads to a rosacea flare-up and takes a while to go away. Do you have any tips to make blushing go away faster, or stop it all together? Thanks!


Dear Lucas,

Thanks for writing in. In another article I discussed how blushing can be attractive [Read more: Does Blushing Make You More Attractive?]. But for people with chronic conditions like rosacea, blushing can cause anxiety and discomfort.

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a condition that causes redness, swelling, and sores on the face. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rosacea is a condition caused by blood vessels swelling under the skin. It most frequently affects people in their 30s-50s, fair-skinned people, and women (though men with the condition tend to have severe symptoms) (PubMed Health). Primary symptoms include causes the face to turn red, swell, and develop sores (that appear like acne). Secondary symptoms can include burning or stinging, prolonged redness, manifestations in the eye, dryness, plaque, and changes in appearance (Rosacea Research Foundation).

Doctors don’t know what exactly causes rosacea, though information leads toward immune cells and inflammatory mediators are in some way responsible (SkinMed). The condition is cyclical, but not seeking treatment could lead it to worsen over time, eventually causing permanent facial and ocular damage. For many people there are triggers — commonly things like hot or cold temperatures and spicy foods — that can cause flare-ups.

Managing rosacea with your lifestyle

English: Mostly Red Peppers
People with rosacea should avoid spicy foods as they could cause a flare-up.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most important steps in managing rosacea is to understand your triggers. While there are some common things that set off a flare up — being active in the heat, sun exposure, stress, spicy foods, and alcohol — triggers are different for every person. One of the best steps to take in beginning to manage Rosacea is to figure out and avoid triggers. Avoiding UV exposure, spicy foods, and activity in heat will be helpful in managing rosacea. In one scientific survey, 78% of respondents found moderate effectiveness in managing rosacea with lifestyle techniques (90% of respondents found medical treatment helpful) (Rosacea Research Foundation).

If embarrassment or stress is the cause of blushing finding management techniques is important. Stress about blushing can cause more blushing. In a preliminary study of those with a fear of blushing, one weekend of group therapy helped nearly all of the participants (Anxiety, Stress, and Coping). Though this study is preliminary, literature on dealing with blushing suggests that you can develop mental tools for coping with the kind of embarrassment and anxiety that brings on blushing. Many articles mention cognitive therapy and relaxation techniques (Anxiety and Depression Association of America).

There are articles about alternative treatments like emu oil and vitamin K, but many of these have not been substantiated with enough studies to prove their efficacy.

Managing rosacea with medical treatment

Oral antibiotics are used to treat rosacea, as are topical creams and surgery. (Photo credit: Grumpy-Puddin)

Seeing a doctor who takes an active part in treatment can help people with rosacea figure out the best course of action for them. The first treatments often include oral and topical antibiotics (doxycycline and tetracycline, for example). The second line of treatment, should antibiotics not work, are medications like isotrentinions (isoretinol and Accutane, for example) (PubMed HealthAmerican Family Physician). A 2007 study found that application of 0.05 percent oxymetazoline (a blood vessel constrictor), aided symptoms of rosacea. [Read More: Exciting new treatment for rosacea]. As a last resort, those with particularly difficult conditions may seek surgery (electrosurgery or laser surgery, for example) as an option (Mayo Clinic). All of these things can help people with rosacea avoid flare-ups.

Bottom Line

English: Rosacea. Erythema and telangiectasia ...
By using medical treatments and avoiding triggers, rosacea sufferers can usually manage the condition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Living with rosacea means employing several tactics for keeping flare-ups at bay. While medical treatment is a crucial component, figuring out triggers and learning coping strategies supplements medical intervention. Though we don’t know the exact cause of rosacea, those with the condition can learn what causes flare-ups and find strategies to tackle them.


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