Don’t Let Your Holiday Drinking Cause a Rosacea Flare
If you suffer from rosacea, you know that certain triggers can cause a flare-up. The holidays wreak havoc with our skin anyway because of the stress, lack of sleep, and dietary changes that we subject ourselves to during the holidays. For people with rosacea, alcohol may be the biggest culprit for a red face that shows up in your holiday photos. See the science behind why alcohol is linked with rosacea flares, as well as what you can do to reduce redness and other symptoms.
Why Does Alcohol Affect Rosacea?
If you indulge in a glass of wine or holiday cocktail at the annual Christmas party, you might notice that your rosacea-prone skin becomes red. In a June 2017 study, researchers found that white wine and liquor had the largest effect on rosacea flares in women. Interestingly enough, these are the only two types of alcohol that do not contain anti-inflammatory flavonoids (which are found in red wine). However, other types of alcohol, including red wine, can also cause facial redness because alcohol is known to dilate blood vessels.
A larger study using data from the UK found that regular alcohol consumption increases the risk of rosacea by 51%, although the study did not specify exact amounts of alcohol that were consumed, compared to non-drinkers.
Alcohol consumption causes your blood vessels to dilate and raises your body temperature, which are believed to trigger the release of neurotransmitters called catecholamines, resulting in facial flushing. Alcohol is also known to “turn on” inflammatory cytokines, which also contributes to facial redness and other rosacea symptoms. Once these inflammatory pathways are triggered, it is difficult to turn them back off again, so the best approach is to avoid turning them on in the first place.
How to Manage Rosacea around the Holidays
If you are prone to rosacea, consider starting Rhofade™ (oxymetazoline). This is a prescription medication that you apply topically to your skin once every morning to help protect you from a rosacea flare. While it is still important to try to avoid or limit known triggers like alcohol, Rhofade can help you enjoy a holiday drink or two with a lower risk of facial redness.
Talk to a board-certified dermatologist about your skin symptoms and ask for a prescription for Rhofade. You can also work with a Skin Type Solutions physician in your area to develop a customized skin care regimen that can help to protect your skin during holiday excesses.
If you know that certain types of alcohol, such as white wine and liquor, tend to cause flare-ups for you more so than other drinks, stick to the ones that don’t upset your skin as much. You can also stock up on all the delicious holiday foods that double as anti-inflammatories, like dark chocolate, apples, nuts, and salmon.
No one wants their face to show up bright red in holiday pictures, so talk to your dermatologist about Rhofade and other tips for managing rosacea. If you want to indulge in a glass of wine or spiked eggnog over Christmas dinner, use Rhofade in the morning, combined with a custom-tailored skin regimen to calm inflammation.
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