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Prevention

There is no way to prevent rosacea, but the symptoms can be reduced by recognizing these common triggers: hot drinks, alcohol, spicy foods, stress, sunlight, extreme heat or cold. These conditions increase blood flow and cause the small blood vessels in the face to widen (dilate). If you have rosacea, try to identify your particular triggers and either modify them or avoid them entirely.

To cleanse and moisturize your face, you should select facial products that do not burn, sting, irritate or cause redness when they are applied. You should wash your face with lukewarm water and a mild soap, using your fingertips to apply the soap gently. You should avoid toners, astringents, scrubs, exfoliating agents and products that contain alcohol or acetone. Hydroxy acids and tretinoin (for example, Retin A) may sensitize the skin to sun and can worsen rosacea.

Sunscreens and sun blockers should be used regularly and liberally to protect the face. Use sunscreens with SPF factor of 30 or higher. If chemical sunscreens cause stinging, switch to physical sun blocks, which contain titanium or zinc oxide.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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