What are your rosacea triggers?
It can be hard to tell sometimes. You’re going about your day and everything is fine, and suddenly your skin is flushing.
Everybody is unique, and you may have some triggers that another person with rosacea wouldn’t have. But several common triggers seem to affect most people with rosacea. Avoiding these may help you reduce your flare-ups.
Rosacea Triggers 1: Sunlight
According to a national survey of more than 1,000 rosacea sufferers, sun exposure was the most common trigger for symptoms. Just a few minutes of sunlight on vulnerable skin can lead to flushing and redness.
Solutions: Your best approach is to protect your skin from the sun as much as you can. Clothes are your best option. Choose long-sleeved shirts and pants, hats, and sunglasses. Umbrellas can also come in handy. Use a safe sunscreen (like zinc oxide) with an SPF of 30 or higher, and stay out of the sun at the most intense times of day, between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Stress is another common rosacea trigger. It increases inflammation inside the body, which can then contribute to changes in the skin that encourage flushing. Long-term stress can also contribute to more severe flares.
Solution: Practice regular stress management. That means doing something every day that helps you relax. Good options include exercise, deep breathing, meditation, yoga or tai chi, art therapy, spending time with a pet, and talking things over with a friend.
Hot weather and humidity can both trigger rosacea and lead to a flare-up, which can make summertime particularly difficult.
Solutions: Do what you can to stay cool. Keep cold water with you throughout the day to sip. Wear light clothing and stay in the shade if you can. Eat cooling foods like watermelon and berries, and carry a cool spritz bottle with you so you can spray your skin when needed.
We suggest using our Rescue + Relief Spray as your cooling spritz. It has aloe, chamomile, water lily, and other calming ingredients that help tame inflammation while wicking away heat. It works particularly well if you store it in the refrigerator or a cooler.
4: Heavy Exercise
Speaking of heat, exercise is another common trigger for those with rosacea. Exercise is great for your overall health and can help reduce stress, but it also tends to get you hot and sweaty.
Solutions: Don’t stop exercising! Instead, look for ways to keep cool. Dress in layers so you can remove clothing when you need to. Keep a cold, wet cloth nearby that you can drape around your neck when you start getting hot. Sip a cold drink, and place a fan nearby to help you cool down.
It may be best to limit your exercise to indoor spaces during the hot summer months or try exercising at night as long as you know you will be safe.
Wind can be a big trigger for rosacea. The cold winter wind is particularly harsh. And if your skin is moist and you get windburn, that can cause even worse problems.
Solutions: Again, protect yourself with clothing. Use hats, scarves, high-necked shirts, facemasks, and more to keep your skin protected from the wind.
Then add a protective skin care product like our Restorative Skin Balm. It helps create a barrier to protect against harsh weather elements while encouraging skin to regenerate and heal.
Apply to the affected areas before going out.
Alcohol can not only trigger rosacea, but it may also increase your risk of developing it if you don’t have it already. Drinking alcohol seems to increase the production of inflammatory cells, which can lead to the widening of blood vessels and voila, flare-up.
Solutions: Drink slowly to measure your tolerance. Some people may be triggered after just one drink, but another may require two or more. Then track the effects of different types of alcohol.
You may be fine drinking beer, for instance, but unable to tolerate wine or champagne. It may also help to drink slowly, with little sips, dilute your drink with more ice, and alternate drinks with a glass of water.
Rosacea Triggers 7: Hot Baths
Oh, how disappointing. You were so relaxed in that warm tub, and then the redness started crawling up your arms.
Again, the heat is the problem. It widens blood vessels and can bring on flushing.
Solutions: Add some crushed oatmeal to your bath. It has anti-itch properties that may help prevent flushing. Then keep your water comfortable, but at a moderate temperature, and sip on a cool lemonade or similar drink while soaking.
Several foods have a reputation for triggering rosacea symptoms. Most are hot and spicy, like peppers, hot sauce, and Thai food. But you may also find that some dairy products trigger your symptoms, or certain foods with histamines in them like tomatoes, citrus fruit, legumes, chocolate, and nuts.
Solutions: Keep a diary for two weeks where you record everything you eat and any symptoms you have. Try to zero in on any foods that may lead to symptoms, then avoid those foods, or eat less of them.
Rosacea Triggers 9: Medications
This is a less common trigger, but it may affect about 15 percent of rosacea sufferers. Common culprits include topical steroids, some blood pressure drugs, and some opiate painkillers.
Solutions: Don’t stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor first. But if you suspect a new medication may be causing your symptoms, ask about trying an alternative.
10: Skin Care and Cosmetic Products
It may surprise you to learn that in the survey mentioned above, 41 percent of respondents said their flare-ups were triggered by skincare products and cosmetics.
Solutions: Surveys have identified some skincare ingredients that may lead to rosacea symptoms in those with the disorder. These include fragrances, camphor, lactic acid, menthol, peppermint oil, sodium laurel sulfate, witch hazel, propylene glycol, tretinoin, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, hydroquinone, chemical sunscreens (like oxybenzone), and any kind of bar soap.
Seek out gentle and natural skincare and cosmetic products, and avoid those with harsh ingredients like those listed above that may cause flare-ups. You can buy with peace of mind at CV Skinlabs. All of our formulas are free of the above-named ingredients, and they include anti-inflammatories and heat-removing ingredients.
Since we developed these products with our sensitive skin customers in mind, we also targeted them for skin concerns like rosacea. They’re fragrance-free and contain moisturizing ingredients and emollients like plant oils and bega-glucan (from oats) to help reduce redness and itch. What’s more, they’re clinically proven to reduce redness, irritation, and inflammation.
Taking care of your skin with calming products like those at CV Skinlabs can also repair the outer barrier, making your skin more resistant to rosacea triggers.
What are your most common rosacea triggers?