Dermatologist’s Tips to Avoid Rosacea Flare-Ups
There are many rosacea triggers you can avoid to prevent a flare-up. Rosacea gets worse when your complexion is exposed to things that increase the capillary blood flow in your skin or that irritate the fragile skin-barrier that characterizes rosacea-prone complexions. This is because two key characteristics of rosacea are an abnormal skin vascular response and skin-barrier fragility.
For over 30 years, I have treated rosacea-prone complexions, and there are many factors that cause rosacea triggers.
A number of them increase during the fall and winter. Others happen year-round:
- Classic, rosacea trigger-factors include drinking hot beverages, eating spicy foods, being in hot environments (such as running indoor heat or sitting in a sauna), and consuming alcoholic beverages. Interestingly, a recent scientific study showed that drinking caffeinated coffee is somewhat helpful for rosacea, while other hot and/or caffeinated beverages are not. Caffeinated foods, such as chocolate, are also not helpful.
- In many rosacea cases, there is a commonality where exposures which cause skin-flushing will trigger rosacea. The term for this is vasodilation; when the skin’s capillary network vasodilates, rosacea gets triggered. Alcohol, spicy foods, exposure to hot environments, and strenuous exercise all cause skin vasodilation. Menopause is associated with worse rosacea, and anyone who has gone through it knows that the “hot flashes” are associated with flushing and vasodilation.
- Extremes in weather, such as strong wind and cold, will trigger rosacea. Sun and humidity aggravate rosacea, too. Heat causes vasodilation. Wind and cold may also, but these cause additional skin-irritation by damaging the fragile, rosacea skin-barrier.
- Harsh skin-care products will trigger rosacea through irritation of the fragile rosacea skin-barrier. Products such as alpha hydroxy acids, retinoids, rubbing alcohol, acid face peels, and other irritants will seep readily into a rosacea-prone complexion and cause irritation. This triggers rosacea.
In addition to trying to avoid rosacea trigger factors, you can support your fragile skin-barrier with a skin care routine that helps your rosacea heal.
This means using products that restore the skin barrier and fight inflammation. In my practice, my rosacea patients have seen that the right products help quiet their propensity for skin-flushing and stinging.