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Trigger, Tripwire, Flare up, Flush

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Trigger, tripwire, flareup and flush. These are probably the four most common terms used when discussing rosacea. Because of poor communication and rosaceans not understanding what there terms actually mean much confusion results, adding to the already confusing dilemma of rosacea understanding. So to set the record: 

Flare up according to the NRS is "a more intense outbreak of redness, bumps or pimples.."  

Tripwire or Trigger is the same thing according to the NRS who uses these words interchangeably and states that both terms mean, "factors that may cause a rosacea sufferer to experience a flare-up—a more intense outbreak of redness, bumps or pimples. [1]

A medical dictionary source defines flush as: flush 1. transient, episodic redness of the face and neck caused by certain diseases, ingestion of certain drugs or other substances, heat, emotional factors, or physical exertion. See also erythema. [2]

A blush is a flush usually caused by psychological factors. A flush can be caused by a any number of factors as noted above including psychological factors. 

The reason this is brought up is that while most rosaceans confuse flushing with a flare up there are rosaceans who report having a flare up of rosacea and DO NOT FLUSH. These ones are admittedly fewer in number, and flushing is usually associated with a flare up, but nevertheless demonstrates that flushing is not necessarily a rosacea flare up. One could flush or blush and the skin returns to normal in a rosacea sufferer. Flushing does not NECESSARILY mean a rosacea flare up and it only means that it MAY produce a rosacea flare up. Those who think flushing is rosacea is like thinking pimples mean you have rosacea (or for that matter, believing that erythema is rosacea). There is more to a diagnosis of rosacea than simply having pimples and erythema (see Diagnosis). For example, one could have erythema and have Atopic Dermatitis, not rosacea. 

Flushing is one of the signs or symptoms usually associated with rosacea, but not necessarily required. Pimples are associated with rosacea but not necessarily required, i.e., Phenotype 2. Rosacea is always associated with redness or erythema. 

Hopefully, if rosaceans understand these terms, trigger, tripwire, flareup and flush better, we will all be on the same page when we discuss rosacea. 

End Notes

[1] Coping With Rosacea, National Rosacea Society, page 1

[2] Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary

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