How to Identify Your Rosacea Triggers

by Anne Windermere Patient Advocate

Rosacea is a chronic skin disorder which causes inflammation of the facial area including the cheeks, nose chin, forehead, or eyelids. It can appear that you are flushed or blushing. In other cases acne-like skin eruptions may occur. Some rosacea sufferers experience pain, burning, and swelling of affected skin areas. The severity of this skin condition varies for each individual. Like most chronic skin disorders, there can be periods of remission and flare-ups. If you are one of the 16 million Americans diagnosed with rosacea you may wonder what you can do about it. In addition to medical treatment, it may also be helpful to identify your rosacea triggers, or those things in your environment which seem to make your condition worse.

In this post we are going to discuss how to create a rosacea-trigger diary.

Be aware that everyone is different and what may cause a flare-up for other rosacea patients may not affect you at all. It is best to keep a list of your unique set of triggers.

The purpose of keeping a list or diary of your rosacea triggers is so that you can figure out which elements in your life are most likely to aggravate your condition. You can then use this knowledge to avoid those conditions or environmental factors which provoke your rosacea symptoms. It is important to note, however, that in many cases, total avoidance of your triggers may be next to impossible. Don't feel guilty or beat yourself up if you experience a relapse of rosacea symptoms. It is not your fault.

If you decide to keep a rosacea-trigger diary you may want to divide your list of triggers into categories. These categories are not limited to but may include:

1. Foods and Beverages

2. Temperature related factors (Anything which can cause a change to how hot or cold you feel.)

3. Medications and/or Supplements

4. Medical Conditions or Illnesses

5. Weather

6. Emotions

7. Activities

8. Skin-Care Products (Any soaps, creams, oils, perfumes, or topical ointments which come into contact with your skin).

You may decide that you need more categories such as "environmental chemicals" or even "types of lighting". Personalize the list as to what makes sense for you and your situation. When you have a relapse of symptoms try to identify any precursors to the flare-up. What was your mood? What did you eat or drink? Did you use any new skin products? Remember that not everything you write down will be an actual trigger for your rosacea. Some things may just be chalked up to coincidence. What you want to look for are patterns over time. It may be beneficial to take data on your triggers for several months or more to obtain enough data to draw conclusions.

Which items on your list seem to come up more often in connection with your rosacea symptoms? Which triggers seem to elicit stronger and more severe reactions?

There are a number of ways to create a rosacea- trigger diary or assessment. In addition to creating a simple handwritten list, there are also printable checklists on-line as well as mobile apps to do the job. The National Rosacea Society has a Rosacea Diary Booklet which provides an easy to-do checklist of possible triggers. If you have an iPhone, Blackberry, or Android Smartphone, there is a free rosacea app which features a trigger tracker tool as well. "The Rosacea App," designed by Intendis (the manufacturer of Finacea
® (azelaic acid) Gel, 15) also provides daily Weather Alerts to inform users of a possible weather trigger.

Once you have collected sufficient data on your triggers and symptoms you can then share this information with your doctor or dermatologist. This type of information will be especially helpful to both you and your doctor in devising a treatment plan based upon your unique rosacea history.

To find out more about rosacea please refer to these Health Central articles:

If you have been diagnosed with rosacea we would love to hear from you. Can you identify those triggers which exacerbate your condition? How difficult is it to avoid your triggers? Tell us about your experience. Your story can help others who are trying to cope with this chronic skin condition.

Anne Windermere
Meet Our Writer
Anne Windermere

These articles were written by a longtime HealthCentral community member who shared valuable insights from her experience living with multiple chronic health conditions. She used the pen name "Merely Me."