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The Patient’s Guide™ to Rosacea is the most respected online publication providing information about facial redness & rosacea, its management and treatment, and its symptoms. Our mission is to provide you, our reader, with unbiased, scientifically accurate information about rosacea, its causes and symptoms, as well as potential treatments.
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Causes & Triggers

Cause Unknown

  • Cause Unknown
  • Genetics and Gender
  • Envrionmental Possibilities
  • Alcohol Not a Cause
  • Although scientists have yet to determine the exact cause of rosacea, they believe it's probably some kind of combination of genetic and environmental factors.

    Genetics and Gender

    No specific rosacea-causing genes have been identified, but the condition tends to run in families and almost always among those with fair skin. A 2008 survey by the National Rosacea Society found that nearly 52 percent of people with rosacea said they knew of a relative who also had the condition. 

    Rosacea is diagnosed more often in women than in men. But when the condition occurs in men, the symptoms tend to be much more severe.

    Environmental Possibilities

    Environmental factors being investigated as possible causes include a bacterium (helicobacter pylori) and a mite (Demodex folliculorum) that lives in hair follicles.

    Recent research has found that people with rosacea may have excessively high levels of a naturally occurring protein called cathelicidin. Another chemical being explored for its possible role in rosacea is adenosine triphosphate, which is released by the nervous system when the body is under stress. Stress is a frequent trigger of rosacea flare-ups. 

    Alcohol Not a Cause

    One common misperception about rosacea is that it's caused by alcohol. Although drinking alcohol can trigger the flushing associated with rosacea, many people who develop the condition are non-drinkers.

    Common Triggers

    While the causes of rosacea remain unknown, certain factors can lead to rosacea flare-ups by causing the small blood vessels under the skin to dilate. These triggers include consuming alcohol (as just noted); drinking coffee, soup, and other hot beverages; taking a hot bath; eating spicy foods; exercising; going out in cold or humid weather; experiencing stress; and using certain topical creams, lotions and make-up. 

    Biggest Trigger: the Sun

    According to surveys, the most common trigger of rosacea symptoms is sun exposure. In one survey, 81 percent of people with rosacea cited sunlight as a flare-up factor.

    In fact, people with rosacea who drive a lot tend to develop more symptoms on the left side of their face the side by the car window. Since modern car windows block UVB but not UVA rays from the sun, this tells us that the non-burning (but still skin-damaging) UVA rays are probably a big contributor to the condition.

    One of the most important self-help meaures you can take to manage your rosacea is to wear protective clothing and a sunblock whenever you go outdoors.


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    Rosacea physician Dr. Eric Bernstein explains the causes and treatments for Rosacea
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