Pulling the trigger on Rosacea flare-ups

(MEDSTAR) - Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that comes and goes. Knowing your triggers is good ammunition to have.

"My cheeks were really red," said Barbara Kasinecz, who saw the first signs of rosacea after spending time in a sauna. "You know, it didn't dawn on me that it was Rosacea. I thought it was just because of the steam bath."

But the heat and humidity triggered a flare-up.

"Essentially, your trigger, your alcohol, your coffee, your hot shower in the morning, sitting and soaking in a hot bath tub, those are all things that allow those fragile capillaries to create that flushing, blushing effect," said Dr. Pamela Meyer, a dermatologist in Hellertown, PA.

Untreated, that blushing can turn to inflamed bumps, pimples and thickened skin.

"Identifying your triggers is so very important because if you can identify them and you can avoid them, you can slow or stop the progression of the Rosacea," Dr. Meyer said.

The list of triggers is long and varied. To find yours, Dr. Meyer suggests a challenge. "If you think that you're sensitive to yogurt, which is also on the list, have some yogurt, see what your skin does over the next 24 hours."

if you become flushed or pimply, let it clear and try again several weeks later. "If the same experience occurs, then that would be identifiable as a trigger for you," said Dr. Meyer.

Since her steam bath, Barbara's found other things that aggravate her Rosacea. A couple of those triggers are spicy food and the economy.

"If I stress too much about it my face really gets really red," said Barbara.  

Another trigger is the wind when she's riding her Harley. "I have a full shield mask which helps a lot."

The full face shield protection helps her steer clear of another flare-up.

For more on Rosacea triggers and treatments, visit the National Rosacea Society website.

Fast facts:

  • About 14 million Americans have Rosacea.
  • Roughly 40 percent of Rosacea patient say they avoid being in public when symptoms are at their worse.
  • Exposure to certain environmental conditions, foods or products can trigger a Rosacea flare.
  • If triggers can be avoided, patients can often prevent flare-ups and keep symptoms under control.

For general information on Rosacea:

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