While it might be obvious that the health and lifestyle can affect your skin, it can be surprising to learn just how many of your day-to-day choices are reflected in your skin. Want an extra cup of coffee? Skipped your sunscreen? Was it a bit windy out when you were outside gardening? All of those small things can have a big effect on your skin!
Since small lifestyle changes can make a big difference in the appearance of your skin, which ones should you concentrate on? Will you get more “bang for your buck” by wearing sunscreen every day or avoiding caffeine? Here are 5 changes you can make if you have rosacea and want to improve your skin.
1. Wear Sunscreen Daily We’ve all heard dermatologists say that you should be wearing a sunscreen every day, but how many of us actually do it?
“Since sun exposure has been identified as the #1 rosacea trigger, it’s especially important to remember to apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher as part of your daily routine,” says Dr. Doris Day, a board certified dermatologist and Galderma consultant in New York City.
Many of us rely upon the sun protection in our makeup, however we don’t typically apply enough product to reach the full SPF value of the product. Instead, look for a gentle sunscreen that you can apply as the last step in your skin care routine each morning, underneath your makeup. The average face needs roughly a teaspoon of sunscreen to achieve the correct amount of coverage. Apply the sunscreen and allow it to have a few minutes to set up, and apply your makeup over the top.
2. Keep a Symptom Diary Because your skin’s health is a reflection of many factors, it can be difficult to sort out what is causing your skin to flush and rosacea to flare up. If you’re unsure of your triggers, try keeping a diary tracking your skin’s condition with common triggers.
“Food, temperature and other environmental factors can trigger a rosacea flare-up. I recommend that patients keep a trigger journal to track how their skin reacts to these types of triggers and try to avoid them, whenever possible.”
3. Be Consistent in Your Routine It is very tempting to just fall in to bed after a long day at work, but you should resist that urge! You need to be consistent in your skin care routine, washing off dirt and makeup every night as well as using your medications and skin care treatments. One night off from your skin care routine can result in clogged pores and a flare in your rosacea which could last for days or longer. Spend the extra few minutes to take off your makeup every night.
4. Pay Attention to Your Skin Even though I currently have a skin care routine that works well, I do pay attention very closely to the condition of my skin and adjust things accordingly. For example, if my skin is feeling a bit drier, I will add in a little extra hydration with a few drops of a face oil. If I notice that my skin is a little more sensitive, I will back off on my treatments and use them every 3 nights instead of every 2 nights until my skin calms down.
5. Build in Backups While it is easy to say you’ll wear sunscreen every day, actually remembering to apply it every morning is something completely different! I’ve found that it is easiest to make lifestyle changes when you make it easy to remember. For example, I group all of my skin care together in my bathroom, and it is all next to my toothbrush so I am unlikely to forget it. I also have made it a habit to wear sun protective clothing and hats when I’m outside, so if I have forgotten to apply sunscreen that morning, I lessen my exposure.
If these lifestyle changes don’t work for you, it may be time to visit a dermatologist to learn more about potential treatment options.