If you are one of the millions of Americans who have rosacea, you and your doctor have probably spent a lot of time trying to identify things that trigger a flare-up. Some of these triggers are difficult to avoid, though, especially when it is a room in your own home—the kitchen. But, don't throw in the apron just yet! There are steps that you can take to reduce your chance of having a flare-up.

Learning About Your Kitchen Triggers

Unfortunately, the kitchen, which is usually the most popular place in the house, presents a lot of challenges for people with rosacea. When trying to pinpoint potential triggers in the kitchen, think of the environment, as well food and drinks. The National Rosacea Society offers these examples:

  • Being in a hot kitchen (eg, having the oven on for a long time, cooking over a hot stove)
  • Eating hot foods or drinking hot beverages
  • Eating or drinking caffeinated products
  • Eating spicy foods
  • Drinking alcohol (eg, red wine, beer, bourbon, gin, vodka, champagne)

In addition to spicy foods, you may have many other food triggers, such as:

  • Meats (eg, liver)
  • Diary products (eg, yogurt, sour cream, cheese)
  • Fruit (eg, oranges, bananas, plums, raisins)
  • Vegetables (eg, tomatoes, eggplant, avocado, spinach, pea pods)

If you feel unsure about what can lead to a flare-up, you may want to keep a rosacea diary. This involves keeping a daily log of the food and beverages that you consumed, as well as the activities that you did. This information can help you and your doctor pinpoint triggers. The National Rosacea Society's website provides a diary form that you can use.

Making Changes in the Kitchen

Do you have a new recipe that you have been waiting to try? Don't let rosacea stop you! Get back into the kitchen with these tips:

  • Keep the environment cool by:
    • Putting on the air conditioner or using a fan
    • Spritzing your face with cool water
    • Stepping out of the kitchen to escape the heat
    • Staying hydrated by drinking ice water
    • Choosing meals that do not need to be cooked in the oven—For example, an indoor electric grill cooks food quickly without heating up the kitchen.
  • Let food and drinks cool before consuming them.
  • Try to avoid food and drink triggers.—Carefully read ingredients and choose recipes cautiously. Keep in mind that certain spices, like chili powder, may lead to a flare-up.
  • Ask for help in the kitchen.—For example, if you are cooking something over the stove, ask a family member to assist you. This will give you a chance to take a break from the heat.

The more you learn about your triggers, the more confident you will feel about returning to the kitchen. Rosacea doesn't mean you have to end your days of being a creative cook!