How to Avoid Rosacea Triggers

Apr 03, 2023
misc image
If you’re dealing with the flushing and lumpy skin of rosacea, an inflammatory condition, it helps to know your triggers so you can avoid them. We’ve got the scoop for you here.

Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects the face, neck, head, eyelids, ears, and chest. There’s no cure, but treatments exist to reduce symptoms and make the problem less noticeable.

At Anchorage Dermatology & Cosmetics, Dr. Courtney Bagayoko and our skilled team treat patients with rosacea in their Anchorage, Alaska office. While we offer a full scope of effective solutions for the condition, identifying your triggers — and learning how to avoid them — can help you prevent flare-ups from occurring. Here’s what you need to know.

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a common inflammatory skin condition whose symptoms are often confused with those of acne, eczema, or an allergic skin reaction. It affects up to 20% of the population, particularly women over 30 who have fair skin and blue eyes, though darker-skinned people can also develop it. Symptoms may come and go, and they can change over time.

Rosacea comes in three primary types, categorized by the symptoms they cause:

  1. Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea; causes skin redness, flushing, and visible clusters of blood vessels (spider veins)
  2. Papulopustular rosacea; causes skin redness, swelling, and pus-filled bumps
  3. Phymatous rosacea; causes thickened facial skin and a bulbous nose (rhinophyma)

Signs and symptoms of all three include stinging, itching, or burning sensations in the affected areas. In addition, rosacea can cause inflammation of the eyelids and eyes (ocular rosacea) that leads to dryness, redness, irritation, and blurry vision.

What causes rosacea?

Doctors don’t know exactly what causes rosacea, but they believe both genetic and environmental factors may be involved in its development.

Studies suggest that rosacea may arise from blood vessel abnormalities and problems with the immune system. People with rosacea have blood vessels that dilate too easily, causing the characteristic facial redness and skin flushing. 

And while inflammation is the immune system’s normal response to injury, pathogens, and environmental toxins, inflammation related to rosacea is abnormal, interfering with the skin's ability to act as a protective barrier for the body.

External factors can both increase your risk of developing rosacea and trigger its symptoms. Well-studied triggers include:

  • Ultraviolet (UV) light; causes oxidative stress, damaging skin cells
  • Microorganisms; overgrowth of the skin mites Demodex folliculorum stimulates abnormal immune response
  • Helicobacter pylori; gut bacterium stimulates bradykinin production, causing blood vessels to dilate
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Emotional stress
  • Heat exposure
  • Very cold wind
  • Spicy foods
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol

Most triggers cause blood vessels in the skin to dilate, leading to the characteristic redness and flushing.

How to avoid rosacea triggers

Knowing what your triggers are can help you avoid encountering them or allow you to minimize your risk of a flare-up.

It’s easy to avoid smoking, alcohol, and spicy foods. But while you can’t always avoid going outside and being exposed to UV light, heat, cold, or windy conditions, you can shade your skin with clothing and hats when you do go out, and you can apply sunscreen to minimize your risk.

If you have a problem with H. pylori, Dr. Bagayoko can treat the infection with two antibiotics at the same time to help resolve the situation. Common treatments for a Demodex problem include metronidazole-based therapies, benzoyl benzoate, and sulfur.

Want more tips about avoiding rosacea triggers and managing your condition? Call Anchorage Dermatology & Cosmetics at 907-865-8455, or book your appointment online with us today.