In the Kitchen With Rosacea
The holiday season has arrived and with it comes festive celebrations filled with food, friends, and family. But for some, it can also bring a rosacea flare-up.
What Is Rosacea?
Almost 14 million Americans experience rosacea—a chronic, acne-like disorder. Affecting more women than men, rosacea typically first appears between the ages of 30 and 60. It cannot be cured, but it can be treated and controlled.
Rosacea begins as a flushing or redness on the face and can progress to spidery blood vessels that appear on the nose, cheeks, chin, or forehead. Overtime, the redness becomes ruddier and more persistent. If rosacea is not treated, bumps and pimples can develop. In advances cases, the nose may become swollen from excess tissue. This is known as rhinophyma. In the so-called ocular rosacea, eyes may feel dry and irritated.
Flare-ups and Triggers
People who have rosacea usually experience flare-ups followed by remissions. Flare-ups can sometimes be traced to certain environmental or lifestyle factors that serve as triggers. Some of the more common triggers include:
- Sun exposure
- Emotional stress
- Hot or cold weather
- Spicy foods
- Heavy exercise
- Hot baths
- Heated beverages
A Flare-up in the Kitchen
A recent study conducted by the National Rosacea Society asked more than 500 rosacea sufferers about their flare-ups. Almost 80% reported that cooking had caused their rosacea to flare-up. Some kitchen activities cited as culprits were:
- Being in an over-heated kitchen
- Feeling the heat from a hot oven
- Boiling or steaming foods
- Cooking over a hot stovetop
- Cooking for long periods of time
Don't Throw in the Apron Just Yet
The kitchen as a possible trigger may sound particularly frustrating as we enter into the holiday season—this time of year usually brings with it many hours in the kitchen. But having rosacea doesn't mean you have to stay out of the kitchen. Taking precautions while cooking can help prevent flare-ups.
In the same survey cited above, respondents listed preventive measures that had worked successfully for them. They included:
- Drink cool liquids
- Run air conditioning
- Use a fan
- Prepare some dishes in advance
- Take frequent breaks
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes
- Chew on ice chips
- Dab face and neck with a damp cloth
- Have minimal lights on
- Draw curtains or shades to keep direct sunlight out
- Use microwave oven whenever possible
Since rosacea cannot be cured, learning techniques like these to help control flare-ups is the first step to living with rosacea.
National Rosacea Society
The American Academy of Dermatology
BC Health Guide, British Columbia Ministry of Health
Canadian Dermatology Association
National Rosacea Society. Available at: http://www.rosacea.org.
Last reviewed February 2008 by Ross Zeltser, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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