I am often asked how I keep my rosacea under control and my – sometimes unpopular – response is ‘through a lot of trial and error’. I was diagnosed with rosacea at 21 – 14 years ago – and I have made a lot of changes to my lifestyle, skincare routine, and mindset in that time. But by far the biggest change to my skin was finding out my rosacea triggers.
‘Just find your rosacea triggers!’… that sounds fairly simple, but anyone who has tried to pinpoint why one minute their skin is fine and the next it is purple, throbbing and swollen will know that it’s far from simple. It took me a long time to find my triggers and new ones crop up all the time. Therefore I often recommend that people do what I did: keep a diary of their reactions and potential triggers. From reading countless emails, private messages, and comments on my posts on social media, I’ve come to realise that triggers are the biggest point of confusion and frustration when trying to help your skin. So I’m here to help: I’ve spent a long time working on this and I’m so excited to announce that I’ve designed a Rosacea Trigger Checklist! (P.S I’ve also designed a Rosacea Flare Up Diary – look out for more info about that at the bottom of this post)
WHO IS TALONTED LEX?
If you’re new here, you’re probably wondering who I am and why I’m equipped to give advice about rosacea. I want to make it clear upfront that I am not a doctor. I am not a dermatologist. I am not an expert, apart from the fact that I have lived and breathed this condition for most of my adult life. I was diagnosed 14 years ago and I have been blogging about my skin here for 6+ years, using my platforms to advocate for and campaign about rosacea and skin positivity. I’m immersed in countless groups and communities about rosacea; have tried so many products; sought advice and treatments; and spoken to many dermatologists and – more importantly in my opinion – so many rosacea sufferers. I wanted to use this knowledge and expertise to try to help the community that has supported me more than I could ever fully explain.
WHAT IS A ROSACEA TRIGGER CHECKLIST AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?
When I was first diagnosed I wasn’t given much information by my doctor. A lot of the information that I started with was gleaned from the internet (which, back in 2005, was a lot smaller than it is now!) I found seemingly endless lists filled with things I should immediately give up or avoid. If you have just been diagnosed, or at the beginning of your journey, this list will seem overwhelming. I remember looking at similar lists and thinking it was absurd and unachievable. In fact, it made me want to give up immediately. But testing, identifying, and reducing or removing my triggers has been the most transformative thing that I have done for my skin, and I want you to have the same experience. I’ve designed a simple and easy way of tracking what you’ve tried and how it affected your skin, pre-populated with all of the common triggers for rosacea as well as some spaces for your own individual triggers. Think of it as rosacea triggers 101! Over the years, I scrawled guesses in my diary, or just tried to remember everything I’d tried and how it had impacted my skin, so I wanted to provide you with an easy way of tracking, monitoring, and staying on top of your triggers.
I’ve been working on this for a while and I’m so excited to share my Rosacea Trigger Checklist digital download.
I hope that the Rosacea Trigger Checklist is self-explanatory but just in case, here are 3 things I want you to bear in mind before you look at this list:
- This list is a guide of things you MIGHT react to – please don’t be put off by thinking every single one will apply to you.
- Many triggers can be worked around. For example, I will occasionally eat (a whole block of) cheese and accept that my face will be unhappy but I’m a grown up and can accept the consequences of my actions.
- You have to WANT to do this. I get a LOT of messages from people looking for a silver bullet cure for rosacea: hoping for the one thing they can do or change that will transform their skin. I’m here to tell you that that does not exist. I’m sorry. Isolating and eliminating triggers takes patience, concentration and dedication – it’s hard but it is SO worth it. I promise.
Obviously these sheets can be downloaded and used as you wish, but here are a few tips for use that may help you.
- Take your time. It may take a while to go through everything on this list so do not feel pressured to get it all done in a week.
- I’ve split out the reactions into ‘mild’, ‘medium’ and ‘severe’. These cannot be defined by me as every person is different: what is considered mild to me might be severe for you, and vice versa. Use the ‘notes’ section to describe the flare up and anything that might be good to remember (see below for more info).
- I have tried to cover all of the common triggers identified by Rosacea.org and dermatologists, as well as some that I’ve seen crop up in messages from readers of my blog and in rosacea groups of which I’m a member. I’ve also left space for you to fill in your personal triggers, as you may have some that I missed off. These Rosacea Trigger Checklist sheets are an evolving process. If you do find any top level triggers that you think I’ve missed I’d be really grateful if you commented below to let me know and then I can release updated versions as time goes on.
- Sometimes it can be hard to identify triggers in a sea of multiple potential triggers: perhaps in the space of a few hours you went to the gym, did your skincare routine, had a milkshake and then had a huge flare up. So how would you fill in the form? I would print out an initial copy of the sheet and tick every possible trigger and cross out things that you don’t think affect you. You are then left with a sheet with a reduced number of potential triggers, and from this list you can begin to isolate them. Print off another sheet, cross through the ones you’ve definitely eliminated and start working through the now edited list. Maybe next time you go to the gym you can leave the milkshake for another next day to see which one is affecting you. This sounds like a fiddly process but it’s the only way you can truly find out your triggers and begin to work around them. Test, isolate, identify, test, isolate, identify… keep going until you have a clear idea of what affects you.
- Once you’ve gone through this list and found the top level triggers that affect you, you can then begin to drill down into the specifics that are individual to you. E.g. you now know that some moisturisers suit you better than others, try to look into why that might be (ingredients, how they feel on the skin, how soon you apply them after washing your face…) By starting big and then pinpointing the details, you can streamline this process quickly and easily.
- There are some instructions here on how to print double-sided to save paper – it took me an embarrassingly long time to work out how to do this, so I thought I’d save you the time!
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