The 9 Most Common Rosacea Triggers
Do you suffer with seemingly random rosacea flare-ups? Are you desperate to find out what could be causing them? If yes, you're one step closer to discovering the most likely causes triggering your infuriating rosacea.
Our rosacea experts at Finca Skin Organics have used their years of experience to compile the absolute must-read guide on rosacea triggers.
Here are the 9 most likely causes which could be setting off your rosacea:
- Food - especially those which are hot, spicy or high in sugar,
- Extreme Temperatures,
- Emotional Stress,
- Cosmetic Ingredients,
- Body Changes,
- Over-the-Counter Medication.
Rosacea sufferers can improve their chances of staying in remission by identifying and avoiding the given conditions that trigger flare-ups, although some may be unavoidable.
In this article, we go into detail about how each trigger can cause your rosacea and what you can do to prevent it. This should help you identify what triggers your rosacea as it varies widely from person to person.
Although knowing this information is very important in controlling your rosacea, outbreaks can be unavoidable. We at Finca Skin Organics understand this, which is why we offer a range of products dedicated to tackling rosacea and addressing its symptoms.
Food: A Common Rosacea Cause
in 2018, the Rosacea Review conducted a survey of more than 500 patients to find out if any dietary changes had affected their rosacea. A common theme throughout the survey was that many sufferers found success in avoiding spicy foods, such as Mexican (49%) and Indian (33%) food.
Hot food and drinks can also commonly trigger rosacea; in the same survey, a quarter of respondents reported that serving their food at cooler temperatures helped them reduce their number of flare-ups.
Like with spicy foods, hot food causes the blood vessels to dilate due to the high temperatures, which in turn can cause facial redness. As suggested in the survey, a good way to find out if hot temperature foods is one of your rosacea triggers is to see if serving at a cooler temperature helps.
Foods High In Sugar and Carbohydrates
High levels of insulin in the blood can exacerbate inflammation, which isn't good news if you suffer with rosacea. That means it can be a good idea to reduce your consumption of carbohydrates and foods high in sugar, as these result in high levels of insulin being produced in the body. Replace them with more fibrous alternatives, such as wholegrain foods, fruit and vegetables.
Certain foods can seemingly trigger an individual's rosacea for no apparent reasons. This can be difficult, but it's about knowing your body and what affects you. As we said before, the triggers vary widely on an individual basis.
The best way to determine if a given food triggers your rosacea is to keep a food diary. Record the meals you eat everyday, along with whenever a flare-up is triggered or your rosacea gets worse; this way, you can work out if your outbreaks occur after eating a specific type of food.
Having said this, there are a number of foods know to commonly cause rosacea. A list of foods known to induce rosacea flare-ups was compiled from by Dr. Jonathan Wilkin based on his rosacea patients' medical histories. The list includes:
- Spicy foods,
- Citrus fruits.
Many of these foods are thought to induce rosacea due to an excess of body fluids caused by high levels of fats. Apple cider tablets are an excellent way of breaking down these fats and can aid you in reducing the frequency of rosacea flare-ups.
If you suffer with Type 3 Rosacea in particular, otherwise known as Rhinophyma, we highly recommend introducing apple cider tablets into your daily routine.
These tablets can directly help with a clogged lymphatic system, thought to be a leading cause of Type 3 Rosacea.
Alcohol and Rosacea
Dr Wilkin's list also features alcohol as a common trigger for rosacea. It is commonly thought that alcohol causes rosacea, but this is not true - rosacea is a hereditary condition - but it can be responsible for outbreaks. Some drinks are more likely to cause a reaction than others - here is a list reporting the percentage of patients suffering with rosacea after drinking a given beverage:
- Red wine, 76%
- White wine, 56%
- Beer, 41%
- Champagne, 33%
- Vodka, 33%
- Tequila, 28%
- Bourbon, gin, and rum, 24%
- Scotch, 21%
In the same survey, 90% of those surveyed said that limiting their alcohol consumption reduced the symptoms of rosacea.
How Can I Reduce Rosacea From Drinking?
Alcohol can lead to dehydration, which may aggravate your skin. Have a glass of ice water in between each alcoholic drink – the water will keep you hydrated and the ice will keep you cool.
Also, as seen in the above list, changing your drink of choice may help you limit the degree of your rosacea outbreak. Better still, abstaining from drink altogether can drastically reduce your level of rosacea in a short amount of time.
This mother-of-two reportedly consumed around 15 units of alcohol each week and stopped drinking for 2 months. This was the effect on her skin after 1, 2 and 4 weeks:
Extreme Temperatures Dilates Blood Vessels
Extreme temperatures, whether you're dealing with hot or cold, have always been very prevalent triggers of rosacea, and ones which can be difficult to avoid.
The reasons why temperature can be problematic for rosacea sufferers is that both hot and cold causes the dilation of blood vessels. This can lead to visible red veins popping up all over the face.
In cold temperatures, ensure that you keep your face as warm as possible, for example by wearing a scarf wrapped high around your face. Consider investing in a heavy, winter type balm to keep your skin hydrated in severe cold. The Finca Winter Balm is an excellent choice.
Too much heat when you're inside can also result in rosacea flare-ups, in particular when cooking near a stove or sitting by a fire for a long period of time. Saunas, steam rooms and hot showers should also be avoided.
After showering, if your skin feels tight, use an oil based serum, for example our Rosacea Sub Type 1 Serum, to replenish the oils in your skin which hot water is known to drain. This often leads to tightness and redness of the face which the serum can relieve.
Weather Is A Frequent Rosacea Trigger
Sun exposure is a major cause of rosacea, but there are some things you can do to limit it as a rosacea trigger. First of all, use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and make sure to look for one labelled as non-chemical. These skin-friendly sunscreens often make use of zinc or titanium oxide rather than more irritating chemicals.
Our Finca Facial Sunscreen makes use of zinc oxide and is composed of seven specially selected ingredients, known to be sensitive to the skin of rosacea sufferers. Make sure you apply often to keep your skin protected from the UV light which will dry out your sensitive skin quickly. Consider also wearing a wide-brimmed hat and using a sun visor for your car windows.
Subjecting your skin to the elements and exposing it to harsh wind is likely to cause it to dry out. It is therefore essential to take the necessary measures to protect your skin in these conditions.
We recommend investing in a balm such as the Finca Winter Balm, specifically designed for rosacea sufferers, especially if you work outside. It is worth noting that men are much more likely to develop severe rosacea and so the necessary precautions should be taken.
Humidity levels can drop in winter which can dry out skin like nothing else. This makes it a prime breeding ground for rosacea outbreaks, so anything which can be done to counteract this dryness is welcome.
In combination with the cold air, we often put central heating on in our homes which dries out the air further. Sufferers of rosacea, in particular type 1, will often feel the telltale signs of rosacea in these conditions before they appear visibly; the skin will feel tighter than usual, an indicator that it is not hydrated as it should be.
What can we do about it ? Dry air will draw the moisture out of your skin leaving small cracks on the skins surface. Its important then to step up your moisturising regime. A good rich moisturiser helps slow down water loss across the skin surface - we recommend our Anti Redness Primer, which is excellent at locking in moisture and preventing outbreaks.
Another method to help with rosacea caused by a lack of moisture in the air is to buy a humidifier. One member of the American Rosacea Forum stated that they "bought a humidifier 2-3 weeks ago and have been keeping the humidity between 35-45%," which has led to them seeing significant benefits to their skin.
Emotional Stress Exacerbates Rosacea
The distress rosacea causes can create a vicious cycle; it's common for rosacea outbreaks to result in emotional upset, which in turn can make your symptoms worse. Educating yourself about the condition is a great first step in overcoming this downward spiral.
It can also be a great comfort to know that you have products you can count on to quickly help with your symptoms if an outbreak does occur. Take a look at our natural rosacea treatment collection to find products that you can rely on.
It is also important that you try and get an adequate amount of sleep each night and exercise regularly to keep your mind in the right place. If you can, go for low-intensity exercise if high-intensity bothers your rosacea, but more on that in the next section.
Cover Up With Makeup?
If your redness persists and you want to try and reduce it's prevalence with makeup, there are a few things to consider:
- Use a green-tinted primer underneath foundation to neutralize redness.
- Men can also use such a primer to reduce redness and restore confidence.
- To start with, apply in a small amount so the green tint is not too noticeable - add layers as needed.
- We recommend Finca's Green Tinted Anti-Redness Primer especially designed for type 1 rosacea.
High-Intensity Exercise Can Result in Rosacea
For many rosacea sufferers, flushing from exercise may pose a special challenge if it causes the condition to flare-up. Reducing the intensity of your exercise routine can limit the severity of any rosacea post work-out, but in some cases, this is unavoidable - you don't want to let rosacea stop you from doing what you love.
There are a few tips which can help make your rosacea more bearable while exercising:
- Avoid exercising outside during the hottest part of the day, try and exercise during the morning or evening.
- When working out inside, try and do so in a well ventilated room. It may be best to give hot yoga a miss...
- Try draping a cool damp towel around your neck, or chew on ice chips, anything to keep your body temperature down.
- Drink plenty of water and do your best to not become overheated.
Those of us with rosacea have extremely sensitive skin, which means we must avoid many ingredients commonly found in cosmetics. Certain ingredients can really bring out rosacea like nothing else.
Some common skincare ingredients to avoid:
- Witch Hazel,
- Eucalyptus Oil.
Any product with a fragrance artificially added is also a likely culprit for setting off a bout of rosacea; such fragrances cause more allergic contact dermatitis than almost any other ingredient. With this in mind, make sure to use your nose when buying cosmetics, if it smells strong, its best to steer clear. It is also worth being careful of essential oils.
It is also recommended to avoid exfoliating agents and astringents (products which encourage pores to close). Although it may be tempting to exfoliate to rid the skin of any roughness, skin with rosacea must be treated gently, so resist the urge to scrub at it with an exfoliant.
A good rule of thumb is also to go for products with as few ingredients as possible. These days, cosmetics have any number of alien-sounding names listed on them, which is why all of our products at Finca Skin Organics use as few ingredients as possible to be kind to your skin, and none have added fragrance.
Changes In Your Body Can Induce Rosacea
The Menopause is a time of complex physiological change which has distinct phases, beginning with the perimenopause. Periods often become irregular and you may experience hot flushes, reddening the skin. Women in the perimenopause phase may also find that their skin becomes dry or oily in patches which can result in rosacea.
When a women starts undergoing menopause further changes happen. Due to the body not producing as much estrogen as before, the skin will become drier and thinner; there is a relation between lower levels of estrogen and reduced collagen production which effects the thickness of your skin.
In addition, the natural slowdown of cell turnover and decrease in nautral humectants (that reduce loss of water) in the skin will heighten the dryness. At this stage, a really good moisturiser with hyaluronic acid is needed to counteract that dryness- we recommend our Rosacea Serum Sub-Type 1.
Pregnancy is another thing that can bring on rosacea for women, as there are a lot of hormonal fluctuations going on in the body during this time. It is worth avoiding all potential skin irritants, such as perfumes and essential oils.
While it is ill-advised to use self-prescribed oral medication, topical creams and serums can help alleviate rosacea symptoms. Consult with your doctor or dermatologist when considering using such products during your pregnancy.
Over-The-Counter Medication Can Dilate Blood Cells
Finally, it is well worth knowing that some over-the-counter medication could be contributing to your rosacea. Some medication dilates the blood vessels, in particular vasodilators and topical steroids. These can easily cause rosacea flare-ups and it is recommended to consult with your doctor if there is an alternative. In most cases, the rosacea will clear up once the medication is no longer being taken.