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Can exercising trigger rosacea?

Exercise is the fifth most common rosacea trigger, according to the National Rosacea Society, so it’s hardly surprising you might be wary of it if you suffer from rosacea. However, abandoning an exercise routine is not the answer!

Here’s how to stay active without aggravating your symptoms and managing flare ups.

We sat down (virtually) with Minimal Fit Founder, Robert Jackson, who manages his rosacea whilst working as a Exercise & Nutrition Coach.

Rob's top tips for avoiding triggering rosacea whilst exercising are:

  1. Avoid hot, low intensity workouts
  2. Clean your face after training
  3. Purchase a large fan and sweat towel!

Q: Please could you explain a little bit about your skin journey?

"I have very fair and sensitive skin in general. Having had eczema as a child, that has continued throughout my adult life in some form or another. It seems to go through good and bad phases, with some foods, drinks and products causing irritation to it.

Over the years I have tried all kinds of creams, lotions and potions to fix problems I've been having at the time but have not always been successful."

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Q: Do you find working out has an effect on your skin?

"This only started happening in my 30's, but now I find that if I sweat a lot my skin can remain quite red for hours or a day after. Especially so if I don't wash my face soon after training, but not too soon as that sometimes doesn't help and can even make it worse. It's a find balance between the two!

Indoor training on a stationary bike or treadmill is the worst, because I'm not moving and sweating a lot. Cycling outdoors is better because the wind helps keep me cool. When I cycle indoors, I have a large fan and sweat towel to use. "

Q: How to prevent flare-ups when you work out?

"I try not to let it make me avoid things too much, but I am conscious of it. I have been asked to go to hot pod yoga but that is a definite no-go as I'll be sweating way too much.

The best thing for me is to keep cool, have a sweat towel ready and make sure I can wash my face within 15 minutes of finishing training, after cooling down a bit first."

Q: What have you found works for you?

"I have been using Azelaic Acid regularly. For me, it helps reduce any redness. I started off using The Ordinary one, and now I use a prescribed one which is 20% Azelaic Acid, which is stronger than anything you can buy off the shelf.

I use it once a day in the evening before bed. It does sometimes make my face a little redder to start with, but it's gone within an hour. If I have had a bit of a flare-up, I find it stings my face once I apply the cream and that last for around 5-10 minutes."



You shouldn’t let rosacea dictate your lifestyle or prevent you from working out to keep you feeling good. You deserve to feel confident in your own skin, and it’s all about finding the right routine and products for you. However, if your rosacea gets out of control, then don’t be afraid to talk to your dermatologist about other treatment options.

References: National Rosacea Society
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