How Does the Sun Affect Rosacea?

The sun has 2 types of rays, UVA and UVB. You can think of UVA as the rays that age skin and UVB as the ones that burn the skin. UVA rays disrupt the structure of our skin deep down, but the UVB rays can cause physical pain.

How can UVA rays damage the skin?

Our collagen and elastin fibers are deep within the skin, and they are built like a basket weave. They have a very defined pattern, but when the sun comes in and damages that, the knits can get stretchy and loose. Likewise, our skin won’t bounce back as much. 

When your skin experiences damage, it tries to heal itself, but it can’t always go back into the basket weave. Plus, UV rays can cause dark spots are hyperpigmentation. That’s why protecting your skin from the sun is important. 

You’ll also want to use hydrating ingredients and retinoids to re-stimulate collagen since visible light can also cause fine lines and wrinkles, specifically hydrators and retinoids. However, sunscreen is the best way to prevent these things or lessen their severity. In addition to the most common effects of UV radiation, UV radiation can also trigger rosacea.

UV Radiation and Rosacea 

When a lot of people think about sun damage, they don’t think about rosacea. Rosacea can flare up due to different things like alcohol, spicy foods, and stress. But, the sun definitely does a number on rosacea, especially when it comes to Fitzpatrick skin types 1-3. Fitzpatrick types 1-3 are much more prone to rosacea, redness, and even rhinophyma. 

According to the National Rosacea Society,  “Sun exposure appears to trigger a substance in the body that may lead to the visible blood vessels that often appear with rosacea.  Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, a component of sunlight can lead to the production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a substance that has been linked to the development of visible blood vessels (telangiectasia).”

More simply, the sun can intensify Rosacea. When rosacea intensifies, it can lead to something called rhinophyma. “Rhinophyma is a skin disorder that causes the nose to enlarge and become red, bumpy, and bulbous. It is thought to result from untreated, severe rosacea, a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes facial redness on the nose and cheeks.” However, this is simply a precaution. Untreated rosacea does not always or even commonly result in rhinophyma. 

Rhinophyma is not technically caused by sun exposure either, but once again, sun exposure can cause rosacea and require more serious treatment. You can prevent rosacea from getting worse by avoiding sun exposure, excessive drinking, and spicy food. And in addition to sunscreen, azelaic acid is one of the best ingredients you can use to calm rosacea. Azelaic acid also works for redness and pigment.  

Paula's Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster - $39


Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 - $17.49 

If you’re oily, this is the botanical face screen SPF 40. It’s great for acne-prone skin, and it’s a little tinted, making it good for discoloration. Sometimes heavy sunscreens can also irritate rosacea. So, for rosacea, it's good to have a sunscreen with a texture that won't irritate the skin.

Skin1004 Madagascar Centella Hyalu-Cica Water-Fit Sun Serum SPF 50- $11.69 

This is another great option. It’s a K-beauty, chemical and organic blend that goes on completely sheer. It amazing for sensitive skin, and it protects from both UVA and UVB rays. The formula is wonderful for redness, and it also works well on fine lines because the formula doesn't get stuck in the wrinkles. If you use certain sunscreens, they may peel up and make the lines look more intense, especially if they have mica or glittery pigments.