Protecting Your Skin
Lazy days in the summer sun, relaxing by the pool or spending time at the beach sounds idyllic, but for people who have Rosacea, time spent in the sun can be enemy #1.
In normal skin, ultraviolet rays from the sun stimulate a protective response – the skin becomes darker and thicker while the blood vessels physically retreat into the deeper layers of the dermis for protection.
For people with Rosacea, sun exposure can cause damage to the structure of the skin, triggering harmful inflammatory enzymes that damage already fragile blood vessels. Within 20-25 minutes of direct sun exposure, UV rays trigger the release of inflammatory substances in the skin that results in flushing (or a flare-up), followed by continued inflammation over the next 24 to 36 hours.
Over time, continued exposure to the sun causes the structure of the skin of Rosacea suffers to become thinner, more porous and more dehydrated than normal, healthy skin, making it difficult for people with Rosacea to participate in simple summer activities without compromising their skin health.
A survey conducted by the National Rosacea Society revealed that sun exposure was the number one trigger among respondents, affecting 81% of respondents. To minimize flare-ups and damage from the sun, the NRS recommends the following precautions:
- Avoid direct sun exposure during the peak hours of 10 am to 4 pm.
- Wear a wide-brimmed (ventilated) hat that protects the face from the sun and keeps you cool at the same time.
- Use an umbrella to shade yourself from the sun when you cannot avoid it.
- Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen – one that protects against UVA and UVB rays – with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors and every 90 minutes when outdoors and always after contact with water.
- Select a sunscreen that does not irritate the skin. Read the ingredients carefully. Many sunscreens contain chemicals especially harmful to Roscacea suffers.
- Avoid sunscreens containing octyl methoxycinnamate, octyl salicylate and PABA. Instead, look for sunblocks containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. A sunscreen that contains silicone also can help protect the skin and minimize stinging and redness. Silicone may be called dimethicone or cyclomethicone.
- Simple Zinc Oxide has long been used as a primary topical agent in protecting against skin damage from the UVA and UVB rays of the sun. It is safe and non-irritating, but it’s very white and does leave behind it’s tell-tale sign.
- Wear sun-protective clothing – clothing that blocks both UVA and UVB rays are widely available now. Some companies make clothing with all day 100+ SPF protection.
- Sun Protection Products Get a New Look (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- Sun Protection for Melasma Suffers (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- Sunscreen: New Guidelines this Summer (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- April is Rosacea Awareness Month (healthyskinsolutions.com)