While people often consider the warm weather and endless sun of summer true delights, new survey results suggest that many rosacea patients are likely to describe the season in much less glowing terms.
Nearly 85 percent of the 1,190 respondents to a recent National Rosacea Society (NRS) survey said their condition is affected by the change in seasons, and almost half said their symptoms are at their worst when the warm weather arrives. Forty-six percent also said they have to make the most lifestyle adjustments during this time to reduce the likelihood of a flare-up.
"The sun and hot weather are such common rosacea triggers that it should not be surprising that rosacea is often aggravated in the summer," said Dr. Lisa Maier, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Michigan. "Everyone should minimize sun exposure and use sunscreen, but rosacea patients should be even more cautious than most. Even when it's not the sun, the heat or humidity can also lead to a flare-up in many individuals."
On the other hand, the survey suggested that cold weather may also be problematic for many rosacea sufferers. Thirty-six percent of all respondents and 46 percent of those who live in the North said their symptoms are at their worst during cold weather, when raw wind and biting temperatures can irritate already-sensitive facial skin. Nearly a third of the survey respondents and 44 percent of those in northern areas said they make lifestyle adjustments to ward off a rosacea outbreak during winter, such as covering their face with a scarf before going outside or avoiding the piping hot beverages often served on chilly days.
Regardless of which season wreaks the most havoc on their condition, 87 percent of the survey respondents said medication and lifestyle modifications have helped to reduce their symptoms.
"If patients notice that their condition tends to worsen during a certain season, they should be on the alert to take whatever seasonal steps may be needed to avoid their individual rosacea triggers," Dr. Maier said. "They should also talk to their dermatologist for guidance on managing their condition."