Rosacea is a long-term skin condition. It causes redness, visible veins and inflammation on the face and cheeks. There are many types of rosacea and they all affect the skin in different ways.
It affects many people across the world. But while it affects so many people, the causes of rosacea are not well understood. Learn more about rosacea causes and triggers in this article.
Research into what exactly causes rosacea is ongoing. Experts have come up with several theories on what could cause the condition.
Scientists have identified 4 main causes: genetics, immune system differences, bacteria and Demodex mites.
One potential cause of rosacea is that it runs in families. One survey conducted by the National Rosacea Society found that over 40% of respondents had a family member with rosacea.
40% of people with rosacea have a family member who has it.
Later studies have tried to identify which genes are responsible. Adiscovered several genetic features responsible for rosacea inflammation.
People with rosacea may have different immune systems.
Ongoingfound that people with rosacea have more of an anti-microbial molecule called cathelicidin.
This means that when the skin is irritated, the immune system overreacts and causes flushing and visible blood vessels.
Acne-like rosacea, also known as papulopustular rosacea, may be caused by bacteria that live in the gut. This type causes pus-filled bumps and spots like acne.
Heliobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterium that causes stomach ulcers and gastritis. However, it has also been linked to other conditions.
Oneshowed that this bacteria is involved in rosacea development. They discovered people with rosacea had higher levels of the bacteria. This may increase inflammation and vasodilation in the skin.
Another possible cause is a microscopic mite.
Demodex folliculorum is a type of mite that lives on the skin of most people. It is usually harmless. High levels, however, can cause some skin conditions.
shows that rosacea patients have higher levels of mites in their skin. This is especially true in people with acne rosacea. They found that people with rosacea have 15-18 times more mites than people who don’t have it.
It is believed that higher levels of Demodex disrupt the skin barrier. This sets off a chain reaction of inflammatory reactions.
Rosacea is particularly common in certain groups of people.
The skin condition is most prevalent in middle-aged and older people.estimate that symptoms usually develop between the ages of 30 - 50.
It is also more common in women. Onefound that 75% of people with rosacea were women. However, men are more likely to have severe symptoms.
Finally, it mainly affects people with fair skin. Although, it may be underdiagnosed in darker skin tones. This is because the redness is harder to spot in people with darker skin.
Some environmental factors can cause your rosacea symptoms to become temporarily worse. This is called a flare-up.
There are over 40 different rosacea triggers, from cheese to hot baths.
But, everyone’s skin is different. Your triggers won’t be the same as someone else’s. Here are some of the most common triggers.
One of the most common rosacea triggers is sun exposure. A survey conducted by the National Rosacea Society found that the sun triggered 81% of people’s symptoms.
Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) damages the skin cells, which can trigger the production of certain molecules. These molecules promote inflammation and cause visible blood vessels.
Sun protection is important, and not just for those with skin conditions. You should wear a 50SPF sun cream on high UV days and stay in the shade if you can.
Different weather conditions can also cause symptoms.
Hot weather can increase blood flow and dilates blood vessels, which can cause redness and flushing. Bacteria and skin mites also thrive in warmer temperatures, which can also lead to flare-ups.
Wind exposure can relax and widen the blood vessels which can cause your face to flush.
Cool temperatures can dry out and irritate your skin, which can make rosacea flare-ups worse.
Looking after your skin is important when you have rosacea. However, some skincare products may irritate your skin and make your symptoms worse.
Common skincare ingredients that trigger symptoms include:
Everyone’s skin is different. Always test a product on your neck before using it on your face.
Exercise is another common trigger of rosacea flare-ups.
Physical exercise causes your heart rate and breathing rate to increase. It causes an increase in core body temperature and blood flow. This is what causes a flare-up.
If exercise is one of your triggers, you may need to modify your exercise regime. You could lower the intensity of workouts or change the exercises you do.
Your diet may also play a role in your symptoms. While everyone is different, some foods may aggravate your symptoms.
You should keep a food diary and track your symptoms. That will help you find the foods that trigger your symptoms so you can avoid flare-ups.
Another common cause of flare-ups is your mental health.
has found that your nervous system affects your skin. Chemicals produced by nerve cells (e.g. neurotransmitters) regulate cells in the skin.
When you’re stressed, more of these nerve cells are produced as parts of the nervous system are activated. This can activate skin cells responsible for blood vessel dilation and inflammation, which leads to symptoms.
Certain medicines can cause rosacea flares. Specifically, medications that affect your blood flow.
Vasodilators are a group of medications that dilate the blood vessels and improve blood flow. They are predominantly used to treat high blood pressure and other heart conditions.
However, there are many types of vasodilators, some of the most common include:
Because of the way they work, they dilate the blood vessels which can cause symptoms.
Some other medications may cause flare-ups, including topical corticosteroids and niacin (vitamin B3).
You should ask your doctor if they can adjust your treatment if you think it is causing your symptoms.
One of the most significant risk factors for rosacea is menopause. During menopause, hormonal imbalances cause many changes across your body. It also can affect your skin and your blood vessels. Both of these factors combined can cause skin inflammation.
You can manage your symptoms with both trigger avoidance and treatment. There are many treatments for rosacea available, both tablets and creams.
You can order rosacea treatments online at HealthExpress. Complete a quick medical questionnaire about your symptoms. Once reviewed by one of our UK doctors, treatment will be sent straight to your door.
There are many theories for what causes rosacea. While we still don’t know the definite cause, there are still many ways to manage your condition.
Managing your triggers, taking care of your skin and using treatment are all effective ways to keep your symptoms under control.