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Rosacea Triggers

What can trigger rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by redness, flushing, visible blood vessels, and sometimes, acne-like breakouts. While the exact cause of rosacea remains unknown, researchers have identified various triggers that can worsen its symptoms. By understanding and avoiding these triggers, individuals with rosacea can effectively manage their condition and improve the overall health of their skin.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), several factors can trigger or exacerbate rosacea symptoms:

  1. Sunlight, for instance, is a common trigger. The ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight can cause blood vessels in the skin to dilate, leading to increased redness and flushing. It is crucial for individuals with rosacea to protect their skin from the sun by wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen and seeking shade during peak sun hours.

  2. Hairspray is another common trigger that individuals with rosacea should be cautious of. The chemicals present in hairspray can irritate sensitive skin and contribute to facial redness. It is advisable to choose hair products that are labeled as non-comedogenic and fragrance-free.

  3. Heat, whether from hot weather, hot baths, or saunas, can provoke rosacea symptoms.

  4. Stress

  5. Alcohol

  6. Spicy foods 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has further expanded the list of potential rosacea triggers.


  1. Cinnamaldehyde-containing foods such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, and chocolate can trigger flare-ups in some individuals.

  2. Additionally, hot drinks and histamine-rich foods like aged cheese, wine, and processed meats have been identified as potential culprits.

To minimize the likelihood of using products that may irritate the skin, it is important to read ingredient labels carefully. Avoiding products that contain certain ingredients can significantly reduce the risk of triggering rosacea symptoms. Some ingredients to watch out for include:


  • alcohol - extremely drying and irritating to the skin

  • camphor - often found in topical ointments and creams, can cause redness and irritation

  • fragrance - read our blog article which details more of why fragrances are harmful

  • glycolic acid - commonly found in skincare products, can be too abrasive

  • lactic acid - commonly found in skincare products, can be too abrasive

  • menthol - a cooling agent, can trigger a burning sensation

  • sodium laurel sulfate (commonly found in shampoos and toothpaste) - a foaming agent, can strip the skin of its natural oils and lead to dryness and irritation

  • urea - used as an exfoliating ingredient, can be too harsh for individuals with rosacea-prone skin


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