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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What causes rosacea to flare up? Rosacea triggers

If you have rosacea, you will want to take stock of several things in your life that may be affecting your condition; these are called triggers. It’s important to know that what bothers you may not bother another rosacea sufferer. However, finding out what causes other people to have flare-ups may help give you ideas. Let’s go through the triggers.

The most common trigger is vasodilation. This means anything causing the capillaries to expand. Known vasodilators include: alcohol, caffeine, hot water, hot weather, flushing/blushing, spicy foods, sun, tanning beds, steam rooms, whirlpools, hot drinks, anger, exercise, menopause and the flushing associated with hot flashes, some medications, especially stimulants like ephedrine (found in many cold and allergy medications), herbal energy pills, stress, and extreme hot (or cold). That’s quite a list, yes?!

I also think vasoconstrictors are potential triggers, backing up my theory that rosacea is first and foremost a vascular condition. Vasoconstrictors include: smoking, air pollution, cold weather, cold water, and ice (applied to the face). [NEVER do this, by the way—rosacea or not!]

A mistaken link to rosacea is alcoholism or simply drinking alcohol in any amount. This, no doubt, comes from W.C. Fields who had a form of rosacea that affects the nose (it causes severe redness and swelling) called rhinophyma. And although alcohol can cause all kinds of problems including vascular changes, it is certainly not the only cause of this disease. Alcohol is a common trigger, but there are lots of people who suffer from rosacea, even rhinophyma, who have never touched alcohol in their lives.

I have a client who was having her hardwood floors refinished. She has what I consider to be a mild case of rosacea. She came in for a facial during this floor refinishing phase, and I could see a noticeable flare-up of her rosacea. Not only had the redness in her skin increased, but the poor-quality air in her house was causing severe sinus problems for her, and she was developing cough as well.

I mention this case study to illustrate how things that might not be on the trigger list may still be culprits in causing your rosacea to flare up. Be consciously aware of your environment and what may be affecting your body and therefore your skin.
There are many articles on this blog about rosacea as well as related categories like sensitive skin and others that will help you with this skin condition. Here are a few you may be interested in: