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Rosacea: 9 Tangible Triggers for a Mysterious Medical Problem

Rosacea: 9 Tangible Triggers for a Mysterious Medical Problem


Rosacea is a skin condition characterized by skin redness and inflammation. It commonly starts in your 30’s or 40’s, and it may worsen as you age. It affects an estimated 14 million Americans, but there is a lot more to this condition that we still don’t know about, such as the exact causes or treatments.

Astoundingly, there is no definitive treatment for this condition. Does that mean you can’t do anything about it? Definitely not. The answer to treating rosacea lies in knowing its plausible triggers and avoiding them.

This article is all about the nine tangible triggers for this mysterious medical problem. Included are tips on how to avoid these triggers and suitable alternatives. Be sure to read all the way to the end of this article in order to learn how you can combat this condition naturally and safely, too.

1. Rosacea Smarts: Understanding Your Food Triggers

extra shots of alcoholYou might have observed that your face starts to turn red when you eat something extra spicy. This also happens after you have a few extra shots of alcohol. This process is normal and occurs to some extent in everyone.

When you eat certain foods, they act as triggers and cause the dilation of your body vessels. This is a phenomenon known as “vasodilation.” Vasodilation increases the supply of blood to the vessels of your skin. This results in flushing, feelings of warmth, tingling sensations and itchiness on your face.

While this process occurs in everyone to some extent, it gets a bit exaggerated if you’re a rosacea sufferer. It won’t be a pleasant sight if you turn all red while hanging out with your friends or worse yet, a date or partner. That’s why it is important that you know about the food triggers that may worsen your condition.

Here are some food triggers to look out for along with natural alternatives:

Alcohol: Almost all types of alcohol cause flare-ups of this condition, so avoid any type of alcohol, to be safe. The following is a list of alcohol that is a definite “no go” if you suffer from rosacea:

Spicy FoodsSpicy Foods: You may be a spice lover, but it’s a bad idea to eat spicy foods if you have rosacea. The heat they produce can dilate your blood vessels. Substitute fresh herbs like parsley, rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano and marjoram for flavor. Reduce your flare ups by decreasing your level of following spices in your foods:

  • Red Pepper
  • Green Chilies
  • Black Pepper
  • Paprika

Hot Drinks: Avoid drinking piping hot teas, soups, hot chocolate or any other hot beverages. Cool them down to warm, but not hot, before drinking them.

Hot Foods: As with hot drinks, be sure to let your food sit long enough to cool down before you start eating.

2. Wellness Matters: Strategies to Help You Stay Active

The blood demands of your body tissues increase during exercise. In fact, there can be a seven-fold increase in the blood supply to your body tissues during exercise. You may wonder that that happens. Here is how.

Exercise makes your heart pump blood faster. Also, it relaxes your blood vessels, causing them to grow several times their normal size. This causes a remarkable increase in the blood supply to your tissues including your skin. The situation gets worse if you’re working out while being dehydrated and in a warm environment.

Does that mean you have to give up on all sorts of exercises and activities? Not at all. You can still exercise, but take a word of caution. Here are some tips to help you feel happy and stay in shape without having a rosacea-flaring skin flush:

Exercise Early in the Morning or in the Evening When it is Cool. It is best if you exercise in these times of the day. The temperature of the surroundings will keep your temperature low, too.

Workout in a Rosacea-Friendly Environment. Be sure to work out in an environment that suits your rosacea needs. It’s a good idea to exercise outdoors. If you want to try exercising indoors, make sure the place of your workouts is cold and well ventilated.

Heavy weight liftingDon’t do Strenuous Exercises. If you have rosacea, strenuous exercises are not suitable for you. This is because they will trigger symptoms by getting your blood pumping. You should avoid:

  • High intensity cardio exercises
  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
  • Heavy weight lifting

You should try light exercises, like:

  • Walking and jogging
  • Mild intensity cardio exercises
  • Body weight training workouts
  • Stretching exercises like yoga and Pilates

Don’t Let Yourself Get Dehydrated. Drinking water during your workouts and activities is the key. If you let yourself get dehydrated, your symptoms will only worsen. This is because dehydration restricts your blood vessels. Staying hydrated is also healthy for your entire body. Here are some ways you can keep yourself hydrated:

  • Take a water bottle to your workout sessions and keep sipping throughout.
  • Drink smoothies and juices before and after your workouts.
  • Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables throughout your day. Go for celery, watermelon, grapes, oranges and other produce that offers lots of fluids.
  • Keep a cold towel on your head and face. If you feel you’re getting warm, sit down and put a cold towel on your head and face. This will help your skin cool down quickly.

3. Heat is Not Your Friend: Go for Showers and Skip the Saunas or Hot Baths

You may love to sit in a sauna or have a hot bath, but you can’t afford to have these luxuries if you’re a victim of rosacea. The reason is because excessive heat causes your blood vessels to dilate and trigger typical flare-up symptoms of rosacea.

The best thing is to avoid taking hot baths. If it’s necessary, as in cold weather, make sure you don’t take such baths for too long. Try to limit your hot baths to less than two minutes.  Better yet, opt for a refreshing shower under tepid, but not steaming hot water.

4. From the Inside Out: Know Your Emotional Triggers

Being emotional has challenges of its own. The condition becomes even more problematic if you’re suffering from rosacea. You would have observed that your cheeks start to blush when you smile or are too excited. Why does that happen? Here is an explanation for this phenomenon.

Almost all our emotions sprout from our primitive “fight or flight” instincts. In this phenomenon, your body prepares you either to face an adversity or avoid it altogether by releasing adrenalin. The most important change in body systems that follows such response is vessel dilation.

Here are some emotions that can lead to rosacea flare-ups:

Laughter: Laughing helps you release pressure and relax, but too much of it is not so good if you have this condition. You should laugh but within some simple constraints, because it can increase your blood flow, resulting in facial flushing.

If you’re in the habit of laughing a lot, it can cause problems for you. One way for to cope with that is to control your breathing. If you think that you’re going to have a “laugh attack,” try to divert your attention by taking some relaxing deep breaths. It is okay to chuckle, as long as you go so gently and not overdo it. If you laugh hard enough to cause tears or lack of oxygen, it’s time to change that habit – and fast.

Fight or Flight Emotions: Just like laughter, you may have to control your other emotions like excitement, fear and anxiety. They will induce adrenaline to flow, which may be a trigger for your rosacea. One of the best ways to do that is by talking to someone about how you’re feeling. You can also try journaling to sort out your fears and emotions.

5. Rosacea and Menopause: The Hot Flash Connection

Women usually undergo menopause in their early 50’s. If you are passing or have had passed through this phase, you’d definitely know the challenges menopause symptoms can bring. Changes in the levels of estrogen, a hormone, are responsible for your menopausal changes. One such change is hot flashes. Hot flashes make you intolerant to heat and emotional changes, and therefore, it can make you even more susceptible to rosacea flare-ups.

stressIf you’re struggling with hot flashes, here are some tips on how to keep them and your rosacea down.

  • Continue to avoid the possible triggers we mentioned, above, like intense exercise, stress, anxiety, alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeinated and hot beverages.
  • Use fans and air conditioners in your house or place of work. Sit in front of one when you’re about to get a hot flare-up.
  • Take deep breaths and try to relax whenever a hot flash starts.
  • Drink plenty of fluids in the form of water, juices and cold beverages throughout your day.
  • Do yoga at least once a day for 20 minutes in the mornings or evenings for stress relief.
  • If things are getting out of hand, consider talking to your doctor about your condition.

6. What’s in Your Pill Bottle: Medications That Trigger Rosacea

You may be allergic to some medicines already, but you have to be extra careful about these medicines if you have rosacea. Observe caution about taking all medicines, even if you’re not otherwise allergic to them. Be especially careful with new medications, because some medicines can trigger rosacea on their own.

If you have not found a trigger yet, look into the prescription drugs you’re using. One of your drugs might be the cause of your frequent rosacea flare-ups. Here is the list of drugs to look out for:

  • Topical Steroids
  • Antibiotics
  • Opioid Painkillers
  • Beta Blockers
  • Vitamin Supplements

If you suspect one of your prescription drugs is a rosacea trigger for you, here is what you should consider:

  • Call your doctor immediately. Do not stop the use of any medications until you have contacted your doctor, especially if they are for a serious health condition like heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • If they don’t know about it already, be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about your rosacea condition and your possible triggers.
  • Whenever your doctor suggests a new medication, ask them if it is a potential rosacea trigger.
  • If you experience increased rosacea symptoms and suspect your meds are the culprit, contact your doctor and ask them to prescribe you with some other medicine.

7. Smoking: Not Good for Your Lungs or Your Rosacea

SmokingResearchers believe that smoking is one of the strongest triggers for rosacea. Why it causes rosacea flare-ups is a still a matter of debate. While some medical professionals think it is because smoking dilates blood vessels, others thing It is due to the ability of cigarettes to make your bodily immune systems work in an aberrant fashion. So give up smoking altogether, and you may find you will enjoy a rosacea-free life.

8. Beware: What You Need to Know About Skin Care Products

You must understand that your skin is different from other people’s skin. What works for some might not work for you. Also, the products that are safe for some people might not be safe for you.

The product you choose should have following qualities:

  • A neutral or near neutral pH of seven.
  • Natural ingredients instead of synthetic ones.
  • A lack of pungent deodorants and soaps with strong fragrances.
  • Ingredients that are safe for sensitive skin types.

How do you tell if a product is safe for you to use? Just do a simple spot test. Here is how to do that:

  • Wash your hands with tap water.
  • Apply a small amount of the product on the back of your hand.
  • Keep it there for five to 10 minutes.
  • If an allergic reaction appears, don’t use that product.

It’s always better to get some expert medical advice. Be sure to talk to your physician or a dermatologist about your condition and the products that would be best suit your skin.

9. All About the Weather and Your Rosacea Flare Ups

Changes in the weather are a big cause of rosacea flare-ups for many people. It’s natural for you to sweat in warm and humid seasons. Generally, it is without any consequence, but if you have rosacea, changes in weather can be troublesome for you. Hot and humid seasons can cause excessive dilation of your blood vessels.

Drink an eight-ounce glass of waterHere is how you can stay rosacea-free in warm weather:

  • Avoid going out at noontime or when your chances of exposure to sunlight are the highest. If you must go out in the sunshine, your best bet is early morning or late afternoon.
  • If you have to go out, make sure to apply a protective sunblock on all sun-exposed areas of your body at least 20 minutes before exposure.
  • Keep yourself hydrated. Drink an eight-ounce glass of water six to eight times a day. Sip on seltzer water, juices and smoothies throughout the day.
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothes.
  • Sit under fans and air conditioners.

The flare-ups are not limited to hot and humid weather. Cold, blustery weather and strong winds can be problematic, too. Rosacea sufferers generally have a sensitive skin. Even minor changes in weather can wreak havoc on them. Cold weather and strong wind take away all the moisture from your skin. This way, your skin gets exposed to the harsh environment.

Here is how to keep your skin protected in cold weather:

  • During cold winters, avoid going out as much as you can.
  • If you’ve to go out, make sure to apply a skin moisturizer on all your exposed body parts.
  • Cover yourself properly with warm hats and scarves.
  • Set the thermostat of your house and office to a reasonable temperature.

Rosacea is a mysterious medical condition. There is a lot about this condition that we still don’t know. Moreover, there is no magic pill that can cure it for good. These features make prevention even more important. That’s why it is crucial that you take a look at your routine and try to identify your underlying triggers. Be sure to make note of the triggers we have covered in this article and avoid them. Doing that, along with the tips we mentioned can save you from a lot of rosacea discomforts.