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Top 10 Triggers That Exacerbate Rosacea

Rosacea is a common skin condition characterized by easy flushing, facial redness, broken blood vessels or telangiectasias on the skin. In some types of rosacea, acne-like bumps, irritation of the eyes, and even enlarged oil glands can also be present. Patients with rosacea also complain of exquisitely sensitive skin with frequent burning or stinging in the affected areas.

“It’s an extremely common condition, and unfortunately, one that causes a significant amount of distress and self-consciousness amongst those affected,” says Dr. Miriam Hanson, board certified dermatologist in Austin, Texas. While the exact cause of this condition is still unclear, a number of contributing factors and therapies have been well described. In fact, Dr. Hanson uses a variety of skin care products, topical prescription creams, oral pills and laser therapies to treat her Rosacea patients.

“Contributing factors is a big one!” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, board-certified dermatologist that practices at Sanova Dermatology in Austin. Rosacea actually has triggers that can exacerbate and cause the disease to flare. “I always advise my patients that the first step to managing their rosacea is to avoid its triggers.”

Dr. Hanson and Dr. Mamelak always advise their patients on the top 10 things to avoid in order to prevent a rosacea flare.

10. Temperature

Ski trip, or day at the beach? Extreme heat and cold is thought to damage superficial blood vessels in the skin that impairs their ability to to dilate and constrict, ultimately leading to a flushed appearance.

9. Hot drinks

While you might feel Starbucks tastes better “extra hot,” these beverages deliver heat directly to the source in individuals with rosacea. The heat causes blood vessels to dilate resulting in a flushed appearance.  Coffee, tea or tottie – allow your drink to cool down to avoid this trigger.

8. Spicy food

“Jalapenos, chili, I mean, we do live in Texas,” says Dr. Mamelak. That extra spice might not be so nice for rosacea patients though. So the next time a friend proposes Thai, think twice about the curry and maybe opt for a milder dish.

7. Caffeine

It’s hard to imagine braving the day without your morning cup of coffee, but this warm delicious energy-booster is known for causing a flare in rosacea. “Unfortunately, it’s not just the heat,” says Dr. Hanson. “Iced coffee, iced tea, even chocolate has caffeine!”

6. Exercise

We all know the importance of working out and making sure that we stay healthy, but intense workouts can easily bring on a flushed response. “Exercise increases blood flow to the skin, which can be a factor in why you may experience a flare to your rosacea,” Dr. Mamelak shares.

5. Alcohol

“Over half of the patients with rosacea says that alcohol causes them to flare,” says Dr. Hanson. Red wine, in particular,  is known for its ability to produce redness in rosacea patients. Patient will however note that some forms of alcohol will be better tolerated than others.

4. Emotions

It’s not always that easy to avoid an embarrassing situation, but emotional liability is not helpful when it comes to rosacea. Decreasing stress, anger management, and boosting one’s confidence are good ways to avoid being ‘red in the face.’

3. Skin care products

A number of personal care products can directly affect rosacea. Alcohol-based toners and exfoliating acids such as glycolic and salicylic agents can cause significant irritation. “I like to review each patients skin care regimen to ensure they are using sensitive skin product, and nothing that might cause additional skin irritation or stinging sensations,” says Dr. Hanson.

2. Medications

Steroid creams and inhaled steroids used to treat allergies, the blood pressure medication amiodarone, and vitamin supplements including B-6 and B-12 have all been shown to exacerbate rosacea.

1. Sun

Ultraviolet radiation is known to damage the skin. “From an aging perspective, we see UV light break down collagen and elastic fibers in the skin,” says Dr. Mamelak. These same collagen and elastic fibers support blood vessels. With less support, these vessels leak a number of metabolic products and  mediators that cause inflammation and damage to the skin. “We know that there is a strong correlation between rosacea and sun exposure. This why I tell all my patients to use a good sunscreen and protect themselves from the sun.”

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Not all triggers are guaranteed to cause rosacea flares in all patients. If you have problems with facial redness, or need help controlling your skin condition, please contact us to day at Sanova Dermatology.

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