If you have pale skin, you may be susceptible to a skin condition called rosacea, which causes flushing, red patches, and acne-like lesions on facial skin. Even if you’ve never had rosacea, drinking alcohol raises your risk of developing the condition, especially if you’re a woman.
Trading in hard liquor for wine and beer doesn’t help, either. In one survey of rosacea sufferers whose condition was triggered by alcohol, 76% flared with red wine, 56% with white wine, and 33% with champagne. Beer was cited as a trigger by 41%; only 21% were triggered by scotch.
At The Center for Dermatology Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, New York, our expert dermatologists want you to feel confident for the holidays and free from the red-faced embarrassment that a rosacea flare may bring.
Here’s why and how alcohol might bring on an attack of rosacea.
Alcohol dilates your blood vessels
When you blush from shame or excitement, your blood vessels expand to allow more blood flow to your face. The same thing happens when you drink alcohol.
Alcohol is a vasodilator, which is why most people look a little flushed after they’ve had a few drinks. That’s also why women and men with rosacea may feel embarrassed by their red faces; others may interpret their rosy noses and cheeks as signs they’re heavy drinkers.
However, you can have rosacea even if you never drink a drop of alcohol. But if you do have alcohol, it can worsen your rosacea, cause an embarrassing flare, or lead to your first flare ever.
Alcohol raises your body temperature
The No. 1 trigger cited by those with rosacea is exposure to sunlight, followed by stress and heat. No. 4 is alcohol. What do those four triggers have in common? A rise in your body temperature.
Winter can be a particularly difficult time when you have rosacea because all temperature extremes can irritate your skin and cause an attack. Combine freezing, windy exteriors with overheated, dry interiors and you have an ideal combination for a rosacea flare.
When you add alcohol to a body temperature already elevated by extreme weather and stress, you’ve created a perfect storm (especially if you’re warming yourself by a cozy fire).
Even if you abstain from alcohol, be careful of the drinks you do choose. Hot beverages such as hot cocoa might also make you blush and flush.
Alcohol isn’t the only holiday trigger
Winter’s weather extremes are associated with rosacea flares. You can control your temperature by dressing in layers you can quickly shed in overheated interiors.
Stress is another common rosacea trigger. About 77% of women and men surveyed found it hard to relax during the holiday season. If you number yourself among them, you might want to adopt de-stressing habits, such as deep breathing and meditation, to calm your nerves.
In addition to alcoholic drinks, another holiday staple may be spicy foods. Anything that tastes hot can flush your skin and trigger a rosacea flare.
Women who drink are susceptible to rosacea
If you’re a woman with a family history of rosacea, you might want to consider avoiding alcohol altogether, holidays or not. Women who drink alcohol have a higher risk of developing rosacea compared with women who don’t drink.
While the holidays may make you flush with excitement, you don’t want to stay red-faced all season long. If you’re troubled by rosacea symptoms, such as a red or rashy-looking face, red nose, or red eyes, we can help.
In addition to helping you identify your triggers, we offer rosacea treatments, including the Vbeam® laser system.
Vbeam makes dilated blood vessels less noticeable, removes visible veins such as spider veins, and improves the overall quality of your skin by stimulating collagen production.
Stay flush-free for the holidays and throughout the year by booking your rosacea treatment today. Contact our team by phone or online form.