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The 5 Most Common Rosacea Triggers

Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by redness and pustules that most often affect the central part of the face. Often mistaken for other skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea affects an estimated 16 million Americans. 

Although there is no cure for rosacea, treatments can reduce skin inflammation and relieve symptoms. April has been designated as Rosacea Awareness Month, an appropriate time to widen understanding of this skin disease. 

As a leading dermatology practice in Southern New England, we’re committed to managing skin conditions so our patients feel and function better. Led by Dr. Yvonne Hines, our highly skilled staff of clinicians at Hines Dermatology offers the latest advancements in dermatology and dermatopathology services. 

Common rosacea triggers

Once a patient receives a rosacea diagnosis, limiting exposure to triggers plays a big role in minimizing flare-ups. Further, rosacea flares are more than a minor inconvenience; repeated flushing can cause lasting redness, and blood vessels near the surface of the skin may become visible.

Knowing these triggers serves as a guide for what changes patients can make to prevent or lessen future flare-ups or keep rosacea from worsening. Although each patient is different, a good place to start is with common triggers. 

According to a survey of rosacea patients by the National Rosacea Society, here are five of the most common rosacea triggers that patients need to recognize.

1. Sunlight

In these surveys from patients, sun exposure is the leading trigger for rosacea flare-ups. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays sets off a complex biological response that triggers symptoms in some 81% of patients with rosacea. Additionally, the sun dilates blood vessels and increases the temperature of the skin, contributing to redness and flushing.

2. Emotional stress

Second only to sun exposure, stress is an extremely common trigger for rosacea symptoms. Patients are much more likely to experience flares following an emotionally stressful event. Stress causes the body to release various chemicals linked to abnormal skin reactions in patients with rosacea. In fact, chronic stress may lead to a vicious cycle of rosacea flares.

3. Hot weather

Individuals with rosacea experience an abnormal chemical and physical response when exposed to high temperatures and humidity. In patients with rosacea, there’s increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system in response to triggers such as heat. The sympathetic nervous system controls breathing, heart rate, and perspiration, among other things. 

The rate of blood flow through the skin, heart rate, and sweating are all higher than normal in patients with rosacea in response to warm temperatures, contributing to flare-ups.

4. Heavy exercise

As with heat and hot weather, individuals with rosacea react abnormally to heavy exercise. Physical activity increases heart rate and raises body temperature, sending the nervous system into overdrive. The cause of this central nervous system overactivity isn’t fully understood, but the greater the nervous system activity, the greater the risk of rosacea symptoms.

5. Alcohol

For individuals with rosacea, a glass of wine or beer may trigger symptoms. A significant number of people with rosacea (over 50%) report alcohol as a common cause of flare-ups. Alcohol dilates blood vessels and may cause the face to flush. Limiting alcohol and avoiding exposure to common and individual triggers can help control rosacea.

Take the first step toward successful rosacea treatment by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Hines. She helps patients better understand underlying factors and the best approach to caring for their skin.

Anyone who is experiencing rosacea flares is encouraged to call our Attleboro, Massachusetts, office at 508-222-1976 or book online to schedule an appointment. Another option is to send a message to Dr. Hines and the team here on our website.

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