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18 common rosacea triggers

Certain foods, temperatures, activities and moods are among the potential triggers for rosacea to flare up. There are many known or suspected rosacea triggers.

Foods and drinks

  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Hot drinks
  • Hot foods (in temperature)


  • Exercise or heavy exertion
  • Hot baths or saunas

Weather conditions

  • Hot weather
  • Cold weather
  • Humid weather
  • Wind
  • Sunlight


  • Stress or anxiety
  • Sudden change in emotion, like when you feel embarrassed or burst out laughing

Medical conditions

Other rosacea triggers:

Keep in mind that not all of these things will trigger your rosacea. Each person is different. The important thing is to learn what causes your own rosacea symptoms. You can use a triggers diary to keep track.

Why do triggers make rosacea worse?

Doctors still aren't sure what causes rosacea, but in many people, things that make your face flush also make rosacea worse.

When you flush, blood rushes to your face, making it red and warmer. So avoiding activities, products, or moods that cause flushing - like many of the triggers above - can reduce your symptoms of rosacea.

Avoiding rosacea triggers

Once you've worked out what your personal rosacea triggers are, find ways to avoid them.

Food and drinks. Obviously, cut down on - or cut out - any foods that cause symptoms of rosacea. You could also try some simple substitutions. For instance, in the morning, replace that steaming mug of tea or coffee with a cold drink.

Exercise. Unfortunately, working out can aggravate your rosacea. But given all of its other health benefits, you still need to be physically active. The answer is to adjust your routine. Instead of one long workout, try splitting it into several shorter segments. Consider longer low-intensity workouts instead of more demanding ones. You need to stay cool. Don't exercise outside when it's too hot. If you're inside, use a fan or air conditioner. During your workout, drink plenty of water. Afterwards, cover your face with a cool cloth.

Weather. You can't control the weather, but you can protect yourself from it. On sunny days, wear a hat and use sunscreen to protect your skin. Also, do the obvious: dress warmly on cold days and lightly on hot ones.

Emotional stress. Learn ways to calm yourself before your anxiety results in a rosacea flare-up. You might try deep breathing exercises or yoga.

Medication. If you think a drug may be a trigger, talk to your doctor. See if you could try a different drug instead.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on November 15, 2016

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