Common Rosacea Triggers

Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin that can cause skin flushing, redness, skin thickening, and uneven skin tone. Many mistake rosacea for acne, as certain types of rosacea come with acne-like breakouts. 

If you’re suffering from rosacea, you know how hard it is to treat. Currently, there’s a lack of consensus among researchers regarding what causes rosacea flare-ups. 

That said, there are several well-known triggers. Although there are no medications or treatments that can make rosacea go away for good, there are lifestyle changes that can significantly impact your skin.

We asked our expert, Dr.Gail Zimmerman, about the most common rosacea triggers. Read on to learn how you can keep your skin clear and healthy.

Exercise and hot weather 

Patients who suffer from rosacea have blood vessels that dilate more than they should, which causes the characteristic red, flushed look.

Hot weather and exercise also dilate blood vessels temporarily. However, it can take longer for the blood vessels to return to normal in patients with rosacea.

To prevent your blood vessels from dilating for too long while exercising or walking outside on a hot summer day, consider doing the following:

  • Aim for shorter workouts 
  • Keep a cold, wet towel next to you to cool down your face 
  • Take a bottle of cold water when going outside in hot weather 
  • Wear a hat to protect your skin from the sun 
  • Invest in breathable fabric such as linen to prevent overheating 

Also, spicy foods and hot drinks can mimic hot weather and exercise by dilating your blood vessels. 

Certain foods 

Common trigger foods include spinach, legumes, yeast, citrus fruits, soy sauce, chocolate, eggplant, and vinegar. 

However, these triggers may not apply to you, so use a food journal to track what you eat and determine your flare-up triggers.


Certain medications and supplements — including vasodilators, beta beta-blockers, vitamin B3, and topical steroids — can trigger or worsen rosacea symptoms. If you’re currently taking medications or supplements, ask your doctor if your current treatments impact your skin health.

Skincare products 

Rosacea sufferers typically have sensitive skin. Perfumes that contain alcohol, hazel, or acetone may lead to redness or stinging. 

If you suffer from rosacea, remember that less is more. Using more creams, lotions, and mists may expose your skin to more potential triggers.

Get treatment for your rosacea 

Avoiding triggers is key to keeping your rosacea under control. But what if you don’t know what triggers a flare-up? Or what if you’re in the middle of a flare-up but have an event to attend in a week? 

Flare-ups vary in length, and they’re unpredictable. They can last anywhere between one day and one month.

Rosacea can also cause uneven skin tone and scarring that lasts for months, or even years, after the initial flare-up. If active rosacea and scarring are your main concerns, Dr. Zimmerman can help you achieve a glowy complexion with topicals, oral medications, and laser therapy. 

Contact us to schedule an appointment and get expert advice on preventing and managing your rosacea.

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