Living with rosacea can sometimes feel like walking through a minefield. One misstep and your face might feel like it’s on fire. Knowing what can cause your rosacea to flare up is a crucial step toward managing this condition.
Your skin is your body’s first line of defense. It shields you from dirt, germs, and the sun’s damaging rays. But when you have rosacea, your skin also becomes a telltale sign that something’s amiss. It can turn red, bumpy, and inflamed at a moment’s notice, which is not only uncomfortable but can also be distressing.
“Rosacea is a long-term skin condition that typically affects your face,” explains family doctor Natalia Hapych, MD. “The symptoms can vary in severity, but they often include redness, small bumps or pustules, and visible blood vessels. And, just like any chronic condition, understanding your triggers can help keep flare-ups at bay.”
How We Experience Rosacea
Our skin is a living organ that communicates with us constantly. When our skin is happy, it appears clear and healthy. But when something upsets it – like the triggers we’ll discuss in this article – it doesn’t stay silent.
Rosacea’s symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some people may simply notice a flush of redness on their cheeks, nose, or forehead, while others may experience swollen, red bumps or pustules.
“Rosacea is a very individual condition,” says Dr. Hapych. “What triggers a flare-up in one person may not trigger it in another. The key is understanding your own body and what causes your rosacea to act up.”
Recognizing Your Rosacea Triggers
Dr. Hapych emphasizes that recognizing what triggers your rosacea is a crucial part of managing the condition. This can help you avoid these triggers or lessen their impact on your skin. Here are six common triggers:
Spending time in the sun can cause rosacea flare-ups in many people.
“Sunlight can cause inflammation and damage to the skin, leading to a flare-up,” explains Dr. Hapych. “Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day and seeking shade can help.”
Not only the sun but any source of heat can trigger rosacea. This can include a hot bath, a heated room, or even a hot cup of coffee.
“If heat is a trigger for you, try to keep your surroundings and your body as cool as possible,” advises Dr. Hapych.
Stress can manifest physically in many ways, including as a rosacea flare-up.
Certain Foods and Drinks
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, hot, spicy foods and alcoholic beverages are common triggers for many people with rosacea.
“Try to identify any foods or drinks that cause your skin to react and try to limit your consumption,” recommends Dr. Hapych.
Exercise is beneficial for overall health, but for some people with rosacea, it can cause a flare-up.
“If you notice your rosacea flares up after exercising, try low-intensity workouts and make sure to cool down properly afterward,” suggests Dr. Hapych.
Cold, wind, and high humidity can all trigger rosacea flare-ups.
“Protecting your skin from harsh weather conditions can help keep flare-ups at bay,” says Dr. Hapych.
Managing Rosacea at Home
If your rosacea symptoms are mild, you may be able to manage them at home before rushing to the doctor. Here are some things you can try:
- Use gentle skincare products.
- Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day.
- Stay hydrated.
- Try to identify and avoid your triggers.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and exercise.
“Taking care of your overall health is just as important as focusing on your skin,” Dr. Hapych explains. “Healthy lifestyle habits can improve not only your rosacea but also your overall well-being.”
When to Call a Healthcare Provider
Despite your best efforts at home, you may still experience rosacea flare-ups. If your symptoms are severe, persist for more than a few days, or significantly affect your daily life, it’s time to call your healthcare provider.
“Seeing a healthcare provider for rosacea can provide you with more treatment options and tailored advice,” says Dr. Hapych. “They can prescribe topical or oral medications, recommend laser or light therapies, or refer you to a dermatologist.”
Living with rosacea can be challenging, but understanding your triggers and how to manage them can help you take control of your condition.