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What Triggers Rosacea, and How Do I Prevent Flare-Ups?

Here's a look into the suspected causes of rosacea and the most common triggers of the condition.

The exact cause, and therefore primary trigger, of rosacea is not yet known. What scientists do know is that the condition is characterised by high levels of inflammation within the skin.

Rosacea research is currently focused on genetics, small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and changes to skin's microflora (e.g. mites and yeasts). The suspected genetic cause means that even if you haven't suffered from rosacea your whole life, it's likely you inherited a vulnerability to the condition.

While researchers have not yet confirmed the cause, they've identified promising leads to understanding the condition. Rosacea treatment is currently focused on quelling flare-ups. The understanding of triggers has been learnt through direct observation of people suffering from the condition.

 

What Triggers Rosacea, and How Do I Prevent Flare-Ups?

 

The U.S. National Rosacea Society conducted a poll of 1,066 rosacea patients to identify the most common triggers. This poll provides a helpful starting point for anyone attempting to manage rosacea through lifestyle changes. The key findings are outlined below:

 

Sun exposure 81%
Emotional stress 79%
Hot weather 75%
Wind 57%
Heavy exercise 56%
Alcohol consumption 52%
Hot baths 51%
Cold weather 46%
Spicy foods 45%
Humidity 44%
Indoor heat 41%
Certain skincare products 41%
Heated beverages 36%
Certain cosmetics 27%
Medications 15%
Medical conditions 15%
Certain fruits 13%
Marinated meats 10%
Certain vegetables 9%
Dairy products 8%
Other factors 24%

 

What Triggers Rosacea, and How Do I Prevent Flare-Ups?

 

You might have noticed that all rosacea triggers fall into one of four main categories:

  1. Environment
  2. Lifestyle
  3. Diet
  4. Skincare

While almost all rosacea-prevention tactics are focused on avoidance, e.g. avoidance of spicy foods or hot baths, skincare is a little more complicated.

You'll notice the list mentions 'certain skincare products' and 'certain cosmetics'. Further research conducted by the National Rosacea Society found that rosacea was aggravated by skincare products and cosmetics containing the following ingredients:

  • Alcohol
  • Witch hazel
  • Fragrances / essential oils
  • Potentially stinging ingredients (e.g. glycolic acid, ascorbic acid)

As a rule, rosacea prevention generally means avoiding:

  • Astringent toners
  • Traditional spot treatments
  • Highly scented skincare
  • Natural skincare featuring essential oils
  • Exfoliating acids (glycolic acid)
  • Low-pH skincare (such as vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid)

We highly recommend selecting skincare from one of the following ranges to help avoid flare-ups and improve your skin's inner health.

If you're not sure which products from these ranges would be best suited to your rosacea, please contact a member of our trained team via our skincare recommendations form.