Like many skin conditions, there is a definite connection between rosacea and stress, but what is going on?
Rosacea is a condition where the sensitive skin of the face gets flushed, inflamed or breaks out in hot, itchy rashes in response to various triggers. Everyone who lives with rosacea has their own particular triggers, though there are several common ones that provoke a rosacea flare in many sufferers.
These include things like:
- Spicy food
- Hot drinks
- High energy exercise
And, yes, stress.
Stress is the culprit behind many a skin breakout; the hormones produced when someone feels threatened or anxious cause a release of inflammatory substances in the body, and it's these that can have a damaging effect on skin.
And so it goes with rosacea too. In fact, in one survey, 81% of respondents documented a connection between extreme emotional states and their rosacea flares.
You may not recognise what’s going on for you as stress: perhaps it feels like anxiety, worry or just that you’re under a lot of pressure at work or at home. Maybe you’re not getting enough sleep, and are feeling concerned about your health or money worries. But whatever the feeling is, it can have the same result.
Anxiety or stress over a long time, or even in quite intense bursts, can cause the body to overload on cortisol and adrenaline, among other substances. Useful for specific moments, when you might need to put all your body’s resources into avoiding or escaping danger, but not great long term. Over time, stress hormones can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate inflammatory responses, making flare ups more likely and more severe. They can also affect the body’s collagen production, leading to damage to the skin barrier function, which in turn can affect the skin’s ability to retain moisture, and therefore the likelihood of flare-ups.
So stress is a major culprit for skin issues generally, not just rosacea. In order to combat the effects of stress, it’s worth putting some stress management strategies in place, and finding your own ways of keeping yourself calm and healthy. While it might not be the root cause of rosacea - that’s down to a complex combination of genetics, environment, and topical triggers - stress is certainly a cause of rosacea flare-ups.
See our blog Stress and Your Skin for more information and tips about how to manage stress-related flares.
For more information about rosacea and how to manage it, see our blog for Rosacea Awareness Month.
Recommended products for rosacea-prone skin:
Balmonds Skin Salvation
with hemp and beeswax
Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream
with shea butter and calendula
Balmonds Cooling Cream
with shea, menthol, aloe vera & lavender
Balmonds Intensive Facial Oil
with rosehip, calendula, lavender & chamomile
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.