What Triggers Rosacea?
Although there isn’t currently a cure for rosacea, a common inflammatory skin condition, its symptoms tend to occur in flares triggered by a variety of environmental factors. Because of this, many people have found that they are able to better manage their rosacea symptoms by identifying and avoiding their unique triggers. If you’re having difficulty controlling facial flushing, redness, and bumps, consider some of the most common rosacea triggers and take steps to adjust your lifestyle accordingly.
In a survey of more than 1,000 rosacea patients, the National Rosacea Society found that an overwhelming number of participants experienced rosacea flare-ups due to sun exposure, making this the leading trigger. Therefore, it is important that you use sunscreen every single day, rain or shine, and try to avoid spending long periods of time out in the sun during midday hours. In addition to sunshine, very cold temperatures can also trigger a flare-up of rosacea, along with strong winds and dry air. If you need to go outside during this kind of weather, try to cover up as much of your exposed skin as possible. Use a scarf or hat to keep your face protected from cold, windy weather.
Foods and Drinks
According to the same survey mentioned above, 52 percent of rosacea sufferers notice a flare-up of redness and flushing when they drink alcohol, making this one of the most common food-related triggers. Hot beverages like coffee, tea, and hot chocolate can also cause redness, as well as spicy foods and citrus fruits. Spicy foods can dilate the blood vessels under your skin that cause flushing, and citrus fruits trigger your body to release histamine, which is also related to rosacea flares (Everyday Health).
Men and women with rosacea need to pay special attention to which skincare and other personal care products they’re using. Products that contain irritating or drying ingredients like fragrances, dyes, foaming agents, and certain alcohols can cause a flare-up. If you notice that a particular product or ingredient is making your skin red or causing a stinging or burning sensation, discontinue use and talk to your dermatologist about a gentler alternative. You can find a Skin Type Solutions Physician Partner in your area by clicking here.
Medications and Medical Conditions
Some medications, including topical steroids and vasodilators, may lead to redness, flushing, and bumps associated with rosacea. If you’re currently taking these medications and suspect that they might be contributing to your skin symptoms, talk to your doctor about possible alternative solutions. In addition, medical conditions like hormonal imbalances and changes in estrogen and thyroid levels can cause rosacea flare-ups.
Intense exercise and temperature-related factors can also commonly trigger redness and flushing. While stopping exercise altogether isn’t realistic or even healthy, there are a few things you can do to help minimize rosacea flares during and after your workout:
- Keep your skin cool while working out by misting it with cool water or placing a cool, damp towel on your neck or forehead.
- Avoid exercising outside during the hottest, sunniest hours of the day, usually between 10am and 4pm.
- Break up your workout into shorter sessions throughout the day, rather than all at once (National Rosacea Society).
Those struggling with rosacea should also try to avoid taking long, hot showers or baths and exposing their skin to saunas or other hot environments.
Many people are pleasantly surprised to find that by making some small adjustments to their lifestyle habits, they are able to significantly reduce the amount and intensity of rosacea flare-ups. The key is to pay attention to which triggers tend to cause redness and flushing for you, as not everyone will respond to each trigger in the same way. Then, you can take steps to avoid the ones that cause the most problems for your skin. For information about the latest rosacea treatments, take a look at this blog.
Dr. Leslie Baumann, M.D. and her team at Baumann Cosmetic Dermatology believe in proof, not promises. World-recognized for both cosmetic and general dermatology, our treatment strategies rely exclusively on evidence-based, scientifically verified products and procedures that promote skin health and a natural appearance. We combine effective medical procedures with individualized instruction on proper skincare, nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle in order to maximize the health of the skin and body as a whole while minimizing the effects of aging. For more, visit Dr. Baumann’s blog for daily updates Monday through Friday, or inquire about an appointment through Derm.net.