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Common Rosacea Triggers and How to Track Them

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on October 01, 2021

You've probably noticed that certain foods, temperatures, activities, emotions -- or something else entirely -- will trigger your rosacea to flare up. 

What Are Some Common Rosacea Triggers?

Foods and drinks that cause rosacea:

  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Hot drinks
  • Hot foods (in temperature)

Activities that cause rosacea:

  • Exercise or heavy exertion
  • Hot baths or saunas

Weather conditions that cause rosacea:

  • Hot weather
  • Cold weather
  • Humid weather
  • Wind
  • Sunlight

Emotions that cause rosacea:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Sudden change in emotion, like feeling embarrassed or bursting out laughing

Medical conditions that cause rosacea:

Other rosacea triggers:

Keep in mind that not all of these things will trigger your rosacea. Everybody is different. The important thing is to learn what causes your own rosacea symptoms. You can use a diary -- like the one at the end of this article --  to keep track.

Why Do Triggers Make Rosacea Worse?

Doctors still aren't sure what causes rosacea, but in a lot of people, things that make your face flush also make rosacea worse.

When you flush, blood rushes to your face, making it red and warmer. So avoiding activities, products, or emotions that cause flushing can reduce your rosacea symptoms.

Avoiding Rosacea Triggers

Once you've figured out what your rosacea triggers are, find ways to avoid them.

Food and drinks. Don't eat foods that cause rosacea symptoms. You could also try some simple substitutions. For instance, in the morning, replace that steaming mug of coffee with iced coffee.

Exercise. Unfortunately, working out can worsen your rosacea. But you still need to be physically active. So change your routine. Instead of one long workout, try splitting it into several shorter segments. Try longer, low-intensity workouts instead of more demanding ones. And stay cool. Don't exercise outside when it's too hot. If you're inside, use a fan or air conditioner. During your workout, drink plenty of water. Afterward, cover your face with a cool cloth.

Weather. You should always wear a hat and use sunscreen to protect your skin while outside. Also, do the obvious: dress warmly on cold days and lightly on hot ones.

Emotional stress. Learn ways to calm yourself before stress results in a rosacea flare-up. You might try deep breathing exercises or yoga.

Medication. If you think a medicine may be a trigger, talk to your doctor. See if you could take a different drug.

 

Use this diary each day to keep track of your symptoms. After a week or so, see if you find a pattern in your flare-ups. Then bring your diary to your next doctor's appointment.

Date: __________

How were your symptoms today?

No flare-upMild flare-upSevere flare-up

Did you follow your doctor's treatment plan today?

YesNo

 

What weather were you exposed to?
What did you eat?
What did you do?
How did you feel?
What drugs or products did you use?
Sunlight

For how long?

 
______________
Spicy foods

What and how much?
 
______________
Took a hot bath or sauna Medication

What and how much?
 
______________
Heat


For how long?
 
______________
Hot drinks


What and how much?
______________
Exercised


How and how long?
______________
Skin care products or soap

What did you use?
 
______________
Cold



For how long?
 
______________
Hot foods



What and how much?
______________
Felt sick or had other symptoms

Explain.
 
______________
Cosmetics



What did you use?
 
______________
Wind

For how long?

 
______________
Alcohol

What and how much?
 
______________
Felt anxious or stressed

Explain.
 
______________
Perfume or aftershave

What did you use?
 
______________
Humidity


For how long?
 
______________
Other possible trigger foods

What and how much?
______________
Other


Explain.
 
______________
Other products

What did you use?
 
______________
WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES: 

Blount, B. American Family Physician, Aug. 1, 2002. 

Gupta, A. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 2005. 

National Rosacea Society: "Coping with Rosacea." 

Powell, F. New England Journal of Medicine, Feb. 25, 2005.

FDA.

Diary adapted from the National Rosacea Society's "Rosacea Diary Booklet."

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