Top 5 Triggers for Rosacea

Rosacea is characterized by redness on your cheeks, nose, chin, forehead, or eyelids, as well as inflammation, visible blood vessels, and acne-like bumps. While a rosy complexion sounds nice, rosacea is not attractive. In fact, many people with rosacea hide their faces and suffer from low self-esteem.

And while rosacea initially affects your appearance, the breakouts eventually become painful, leaving your skin raw and irritated. If left untreated, rosacea can lead to eye and vision problems. At Los Gatos Dermatology, we can help you ease the discomfort of rosacea. Our board-certified dermatologist, Bruce Saal, MD, has extensive experience treating this condition. 

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition affecting about 14 million Americans and 415 million people worldwide. Experts are not sure what causes it, but since it runs in families, there may be a genetic component. 

The condition mostly affects people over age 30. More women than men develop it, but men’s symptoms tend to be more severe. Flare-ups tend to happen periodically, with symptoms usually getting worse over time. 

Rosacea triggers

While there is no cure for rosacea, you can manage symptoms by avoiding triggers and also with medication. Different people have different triggers. The key to preventing flare-ups is to figure out what makes you develop a rosacea flare-up and then avoid those triggers. 

According to the National Rosacea Society, these are the five most common triggers for rosacea: 

Sun and hot weather

Sun is the No. 1 trigger of rosacea flare-ups. The reason: Many people with rosacea have visible blood vessels close to their skin. UV exposure and heat from the sun may contribute to this and lead to further dilation of these vessels.

If sun and heat are your trigger, simply make an effort to protect yourself from the sun and stay inside during peak sun hours. 


Stress can lead to several health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and depression. It can also trigger a rosacea flare-up. It’s impossible to eliminate stress from your life, but you can manage it through mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation.

Wind and cold weather

There’s a saying that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. This is true if wind and cold weather trigger your rosacea. Protecting your skin with gloves, scarves, or a ski mask in addition to sunblock can help you control your rosacea, because you can’t control the weather.

Heavy exercise

No one will argue about exercise being good for you. But it’s also one of the top five rosacea triggers. Exercise elevates your heartbeat, which increases blood flow to your skin and causes flushing. Don’t use this as an excuse not to exercise, though. Schedule your workouts during cooler times in the day. 


Some people may try to manage their stress with alcohol, but that doesn’t help you control your rosacea. Red wine, beer, bourbon, gin, and vodka are some of the top beverages that can trigger a rosacea flare-up. But you don’t need to give up spirits altogether. Just drink in moderation.

For more information about rosacea triggers and treatment, call us to make an appointment with Dr. Saal at our office in Los Gatos, California.

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