What Causes Rosacea? Understanding The Common Skin Condition

what causes rosacea

Have you ever noticed persistent redness or pus-filled bumps that resemble acne on your face? It could be symptoms of rosacea, a common skin condition that’s more than just a surface problem. It’s like a puzzle—made up of genetics, lifestyle, and environmental triggers—that researchers are still piecing together. Whether it’s mild, modertate or severe rosacea, it’s clear that there’s a lot going on behind the scenes, from inflammation to broken blood vessels. So, let’s dive into the science and uncover the causes of rosacea.

What Causes Rosacea?

Rosacea manifests in various types, each presenting distinct symptoms: rosacea marked by frequent blushing and small blood vessels, papulopustular rosacea featuring acne-like bumps and pustules, phymatous rosacea involving skin thickening, and ocular rosacea impacting the eyes and eyelids. Although the precise cause of rosacea remains unknown, several factors are thought to contribute to its development:


There appears to be a genetic component to rosacea, as it often runs in families. Certain genetic predispositions may make some individuals more susceptible to developing the condition.

Environmental Triggers

Various environmental factors can trigger or exacerbate rosacea symptoms. These triggers may include sun exposure, extreme temperatures (hot or cold), wind, humidity, and consumption of spicy foods or alcohol.

Immune System Dysfunction

Some researchers believe that abnormalities in the immune system may contribute to the development of rosacea. Inflammation plays a significant role in the pathogenesis of rosacea, and an overactive immune response may lead to the characteristic skin redness and flushing seen in affected individuals.


Certain microorganisms, such as the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H-pylori), have been implicated in the development of rosacea. However, more research is needed to fully understand the role of microorganisms in the pathogenesis of the condition.

Demodex Mites

Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis are microscopic mites that inhabit the hair follicles of the skin. While these mites are present on most people’s skin, individuals with rosacea may have higher populations of these mites or may have an abnormal immune response to their presence, leading to inflammation and the development of rosacea symptoms.

Skin Thickening

In some cases of rosacea, skin thickening may occur, contributing to the characteristic appearance of the nose (rhinophyma).

Overall, the development of rosacea is likely multifactorial, involving a combination of genetic predisposition, environmental triggers such as sun exposure, spicy foods, immune system dysfunction, and potentially microorganisms like Demodex mites. Understanding these factors can help in getting rosacea treated effectively.

symptoms of rosacea

Common Triggers

Rosacea, a common skin condition characterised by facial redness, inflammation, and sometimes acne-like bumps, can be exacerbated by various triggers. Understanding these triggers is essential for managing rosacea symptoms effectively. Here are some common rosacea triggers:

Sun exposure

UV rays can aggravate rosacea symptoms, leading to increased redness and inflammation. Protecting the skin with sunscreen and seeking shade when outdoors is important.

Spicy foods and hot beverages

Consuming spicy foods or hot drinks can cause flushing and irritation in those with rosacea, making symptoms more noticeable.

Alcohol consumption

Alcohol, particularly red wine and other forms of alcohol with high histamine content, is known to trigger rosacea flare-ups in many people.


Emotional stress can have a significant impact on symptoms of rosacea, often leading to increased redness and heightened sensitivity in affected individuals.

Harsh skincare products

Certain skincare products containing fragrances, alcohol, or other irritants can worsen rosacea symptoms, leading to increased redness, inflammation, and discomfort.

Symptoms and Signs of Rosacea

Rosacea manifests through various symptoms and signs, which can vary in intensity and presentation from person to person. Understanding these manifestations is essential for early detection and effective management. Here are some common symptoms and signs:

Facial redness

Persistent redness, often on central facial skin, is a hallmark symptom of rosacea. This facial redness may come and go, but it tends to worsen over time.


People with rosacea may experience episodes of sudden and intense flushing, causing the face to become red and warm.

Visible blood vessels

Small, visible blood vessels (telangiectasia) may appear on the cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin, contributing to the skin’s overall redness and vascular appearance.

Papules and pustules

Inflammatory lesions resembling acne may develop, particularly in the central facial area. These papules and pustules are often tender and may be mistaken for acne vulgaris.

Thickened skin

In some cases, severe symptoms of rosacea can thicken the skin, especially around the nose (rhinophyma). This condition is more common in men and may cause the nose to appear bulbous and swollen.

By recognising these symptoms and signs, individuals affected by rosacea can seek appropriate rosacea treatment and management strategies to alleviate discomfort and prevent the worsening of the condition. Treating rosacea early can also help reduce the risk of complications and improve overall quality of life.

visible blood vessels

Effective treatments

Effective treatments for rosacea focus on managing symptoms and minimising flare-ups to improve the overall appearance and comfort of the skin. Here are some common approaches to get rid of rosacea:


Gentle skincare routines using mild, non-irritating cleansers and moisturisers can help soothe sensitive skin and reduce redness. Avoiding harsh products and abrasive exfoliants is essential to prevent further irritation.

Sun protection

Regular use of broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF can protect the skin from UV rays, which can worsen rosacea symptoms. Wearing wide-brimmed hats and seeking shade during peak sun hours can also provide additional protection.

Topical treatments

Prescription retinoids and over-the-counter topical treatments containing ingredients such as azelaic acid, sulphur, or niacinamide may help reduce redness and inflammation, and the appearance of papules and pustules.

Oral medications

In some cases, oral medications such as antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to control rosacea symptoms, especially when topical treatments are insufficient.

Laser and light therapies

Light-based and laser treatment, such as intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy or vascular lasers, can target visible blood vessels, remove visible blood vessels and reduce redness associated with rosacea.

Lifestyle modifications

Avoiding common triggers such as spicy foods, hot beverages, alcohol, and stress can help minimise flare-ups. Managing stress through relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga may also be beneficial.

Dietary adjustments

Some people find that certain foods or drinks exacerbate their rosacea symptoms. Keeping a food diary and avoiding known triggers can help identify and minimise dietary-related flare-ups.

By incorporating these treatments and lifestyle changes into a comprehensive management plan, people with rosacea can effectively control their symptoms and improve their skin’s appearance and overall quality of life.

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes can play a significant role in managing rosacea and reducing the frequency and severity of flare-ups. Here are some lifestyle changes to consider:

Stay cool

Heat can exacerbate rosacea symptoms, so try to stay cool whenever possible. Use fans or air conditioning to regulate indoor temperatures, and avoid hot baths, saunas, and steam rooms.

Maintain a healthy diet

While there’s no specific rosacea diet, some individuals find that certain foods or drinks can trigger flare-ups. Keep a food diary to identify potential triggers and consider limiting or avoiding them.

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption, as these can dehydrate the skin and exacerbate symptoms of rosacea.

By including these lifestyle changes into your daily routine, you can effectively manage your rosacea and improve the overall health and appearance of your skin. Finding what works best for you may take some trial and error, so be patient and consistent in your efforts.

Drink water for clear skin

Managing Rosacea Flare-ups

Managing flare-ups is the key to coping with rosacea and maintaining skin health. Here are some strategies to help effectively manage flare-ups when they occur:

Cool compresses

Apply a cool compress or washcloth to the affected areas to help soothe inflammation and reduce redness during a flare-up. Avoid hot water, as it can exacerbate symptoms.

Gentle skincare

Stick to a gentle skincare routine during flare-ups, using mild cleansers and moisturisers that won’t further irritate the skin. Avoid abrasive scrubs and harsh products that can worsen symptoms.

Topical treatments

If prescribed by your dermatologist, apply topical medications or creams specifically designed to target symptoms of rosacea, such as redness, inflammation, and acne-like bumps.

Seek professional help

If home remedies and over-the-counter treatments aren’t providing relief, consult with a healthcare provider or dermatologist. They can offer personalised treatment options tailored to your specific needs and help you manage severe or persistent flare-ups effectively.

Best Skincare Routine for Rosacea

Developing a skincare routine tailored to your rosacea can help manage symptoms and promote healthier skin. Here’s a guide to building the best skincare routine for rosacea:

Gentle cleanser

Use a mild, non-irritating cleanser formulated for sensitive skin to cleanse your face twice daily. Avoid products containing harsh chemicals, fragrances, or exfoliating agents that can aggravate symptoms of rosacea.


Choose a gentle, non-comedogenic moisturiser to hydrate and soothe your skin. Look for products that contain ceramides or hyaluronic acid to help strengthen the skin barrier and lock in moisture without clogging pores.


Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher daily, even on cloudy days. Opt for a mineral-based sunscreen containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which are less likely to cause irritation than chemical sunscreens.

Avoid irritants

Steer clear of skincare products containing alcohol, menthol, eucalyptus, peppermint, or other common irritants that can trigger flare-ups. Read ingredient labels carefully and opt for gentle, fragrance-free formulations whenever possible.

Patch test new products

Before incorporating a new skincare product into your routine, perform a patch test on a small area of your skin to check for any adverse reactions or sensitivity.

Be gentle

Handle your skin carefully, avoiding harsh scrubbing or rubbing that can exacerbate redness and inflammation. Pat your skin dry gently after cleansing, and apply skincare products using a light touch.

Consult a dermatologist

If you’re unsure which skincare products are best for your rosacea or if your symptoms aren’t improving with over-the-counter treatments, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. They can provide personalised recommendations and prescribe medications or treatments to help manage your symptoms effectively.

Natural Remedies for Rosacea

Natural remedies can complement traditional treatments and help manage symptoms of rosacea. While these remedies may not work for everyone and should not replace medical advice, they can relieve mild symptoms or be used alongside prescribed treatments.

Green tea

Green tea contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce redness and inflammation associated with rosacea. Applying cooled green tea bags to affected areas or drinking green tea regularly may provide relief.


Oatmeal has soothing properties that can help calm irritated skin and alleviate itching associated with rosacea. Try taking an oatmeal bath or applying a homemade oatmeal mask to soothe inflamed skin.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera gel has cooling and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness and irritation in rosacea-prone skin. Apply pure aloe vera gel to affected areas for soothing relief.


Honey has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe and heal rosacea-prone skin. Apply raw honey as a mask or spot treatment to reduce redness and promote healing.


Chamomile has anti-inflammatory and calming properties that can help soothe irritated skin and reduce redness associated with rosacea. Use chamomile tea bags as a compress or apply chamomile-infused skincare products to affected areas.


Probiotics may help improve gut health and reduce inflammation, indirectly benefiting symptoms of rosacea. Consider incorporating probiotic-rich foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi into your diet or taking a probiotic supplement.

Seeking professional help

Professional help is essential for dealing with rosacea, especially if home remedies haven’t worked. Hub.health providers specialise in treating skin conditions like rosacea and can create personalised plans to ease symptoms and prevent flare-ups. They’ll assess the severity of your rosacea and suggest treatment options. Plus, they can advise on skin care routines, lifestyle changes, and avoiding triggers.

Ready to treat rosacea? Start your consultation today!

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