April is Rosacea Awareness Month and we thought it'd be an ideal time to take a look at some of the common triggers of this condition. Rosacea is a chronic skin condition affecting more than 16 million Americans. Many sufferers don't even know they have Rosacea, so awareness is key. Do you have the following symptoms?
- Visible blood vessels
- Skin tends to flush easily and it often looks like you’re blushing
- Swelling of the eyelids and watery eyes
- Soreness and itching of the skin
- Bumpy and rough skin texture
- Pus-filled pimples
- Skin is almost always red and inflamed
If you’re experiencing two or more of the above symptoms, you should visit a dermatologist because you may be suffering from Rosacea. There is still no exact cause of Rosacea, despite years of research. While we don't know the cause, there are several known triggers. Being aware of these triggers and avoiding them may help to reduce Rosacea flare-ups.
Beat the heat
Hot, humid weather can aggravate Rosacea. The heat tends to promote flushing and redness, so avoiding it when possible can help keep flare-ups at bay. People also find that sweating and overheating due to exercise can make things worse. Even relaxing spa treatments such as saunas and steam rooms are common triggers, so they should be avoided.
Food and drink culprits
Certain foods and drinks can wreak havoc on Rosacea symptoms, so knowing these triggers will be beneficial. Spicy foods made with aromatics such as curry and cayenne can make your flushing worse, as can alcohol. Hot beverages such as coffee, tea and cocoa also may lead to more redness and irritation.
Read your product labels
Skincare products often contain harsh ingredients known to contribute to flare-ups. Menthol, camphor, alcohol, peppermint, clove and eucalyptus are all common Rosacea triggers found in skincare.
Synthetic fragrance is a common contributor to the side effects of Rosacea. Yet, it is hard to avoid. From perfumes and shower gels, to shampoos and laundry detergents, fragrances are everywhere. Avoiding anything with artificial fragrance that comes into direct contact with your skin will be helpfful. Look for fragrance free personal and laundry care items and see if using them rather than their scented counterparts makes a difference in your skin.
Sun smarts are essential
Sun exposure is considered the number one Rosacea trigger, so protection is key. Wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen will not only help to prevent a sunburn, but it also will help prevent flushing and redness. Thirty minutes before you head outdoors, be sure to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin to help minimize UV damage.
Find your moment of zen
Emotions -- good and bad -- are known to exacerbate Rosacea flare-ups. Something as innocent as laughing can trigger flushing just as much as crying or yelling. Many Rosacea sufferers also find that being embarrassed can literally have them seeing red. While we are not suggesting you ignore your feelings, trying to find a sense of balance and calm can help prevent flare-ups caused by extreme emotions. While there is no cure for Rosacea, knowing and avoiding the most common triggers may help keep redness, irritation and flushing at bay.