Find Right Triggers

Posted: 11/07/2011

While medical therapy is an essential weapon in the battle against rosacea, identifying and avoiding the individual lifestyle and environmental factors that may aggravate the disorder can be a critical tactic to include in the arsenal. In National Rosacea Society (NRS) surveys of patients who pinpointed and steered clear of their personal rosacea triggers, more than 90 percent reported that this had reduced their rosacea flare-ups.

“In managing rosacea, it’s important for patients to know they do not have to avoid every potential trigger, because what may cause a flare-up in one person may not affect another,” said Dr. Lisa Maier, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Michigan, during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. “The key is to identify and avoid those specific factors that affect their individual cases.”

Although the array of potential rosacea triggers may be endless, some of the factors most commonly identified by rosacea patients include sun exposure (affecting 81 percent), emotional stress (affecting 79 percent), hot weather (75 percent), wind (57 percent), heavy exercise (56 percent), alcohol (52 percent) and spicy foods (45 percent). Other common triggers include cold weather, indoor heat, heated beverages, humidity, and certain skin-care and cosmetics products.

To help patients identify factors that affect their individual cases, the NRS offers a “Rosacea Diary.” The diary guides patients on a daily basis to observe and record weather conditions, foods and beverages consumed, lifestyle factors such as strenuous exercise, products used on the face, compliance with medical therapy and the occurrence of any flare-ups. By keeping track for a period of time, patients may identify which lifestyle and environmental factors to avoid in their particular case.

A new smartphone app is now available free online at app stores to help rosacea patients better manage their condition. The rosacea app acts as a personal journal with a “trigger tracker” section to identify triggers, and includes a “substitution finder” that suggests alternate foods and drinks that may be used in place of those causing flare-ups.

Patients can look for various ways to minimize their individual triggers, such as heat and cold weather. Use a scarf to protect against the wind and cold, and wear layered clothing to adjust from outdoors to inside. Avoid excessive indoor heat and do not sit next to a fireplace or hot stove. Some patients may also want to limit or avoid alcohol, especially red wine, during holiday festivities.

“Rosacea doesn’t have to take all of the enjoyment out of life,” Dr. Maier said. “Rosacea can be successfully managed by adhering to medical therapy and making the right lifestyle adjustments on an individual basis.”

Social Media Editor: Emma Terhaar

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The National Rosacea Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of people with rosacea by raising awareness, providing public health information and supporting medical research on this widespread but little-known disorder. The information the Society provides should not be considered medical advice, nor is it intended to replace

consultation with a qualified physician. The Society does not evaluate, endorse or recommend any particular medications, products, equipment or treatments. Rosacea may vary substantially from one patient to another, and treatment must be tailored by a physician for each individual case. For more information, visit About Us.