Skip to main content

Common Causes of Rosacea

Common Causes of Rosacea

Rosacea is a dermatologic condition that irritates skin on your face. Rosacea flare-ups look like flushing and redness, visible blood vessels under your skin, or even pimple-like red bumps.

While it’s a common skin issue that affects more than 14 million Americans, experts aren’t sure what causes rosacea. Your genetics, your immune system, and your environment may play a role, but anyone can develop rosacea during their lifetime.

The good news is that there are a handful of known rosacea triggers, and if you have rosacea, avoiding those triggers can reduce your symptoms.

John Cheesborough, MD, Dawn Kleinman, MD, and our team at Sanford Dermatology are here to help you find an effective rosacea treatment plan. Here, we describe the common causes of rosacea flare-ups so you can better manage the condition.

The most common rosacea triggers

Everyone is different, but some common factors that can cause rosacea flare-ups are:


People with rosacea tend to have sensitive skin. Certain ingredients found in cleansers, lotions, makeup, and other skin and hair products may trigger redness. To reduce the chance of aggravating your rosacea from cosmetics, try switching to fragrance-free products and avoid harsh aesthetic treatments like chemical peels.

Foods and beverages

Some of the most common rosacea triggers are foods and beverages. Alcohol can dilate your blood vessels, and hot beverages can raise your body temperature, both of which can leave you with facial redness.

Spicy food is another common cause. In fact, up to 75% of people with rosacea find that spicy food makes their symptoms worse. That spiciness comes from a chemical called capsaicin, which can make your skin red and warm and triggers rosacea flare-ups.


The environment around you is another trigger. Exposure to UV rays in direct sunlight can cause flushing. Extreme weather conditions — like hot temperatures, cold temperatures, and high winds — can also make rosacea worse. Protecting your skin from the sun and extreme weather can help reduce those flare-ups.

Exercise and stress

Both physical and mental stress can affect your skin. High-intensity exercise elevates your body temperature, and it may also trigger facial redness that lasts long after your workout. High emotional stress and strong emotions can also lead to a rosacea flare-up.


Some medications, particularly those that treat high blood pressure, work by dilating your blood vessels. If you have rosacea, taking these medications could make your symptoms worse. Alternative medications may be available, but always talk with your health care team before you stop taking any prescriptions.

Finding relief from your rosacea symptoms

The best approach to treating rosacea is a holistic one. Our team starts by reviewing your symptoms and your medical history, and then we work with you to create a customized treatment plan.

Avoiding your rosacea triggers can make a big difference and cut down the number of flare-ups you experience. We may also prescribe medication to treat symptoms like acne, redness, and infection. Along with these measures, we can help you find clinical-grade skin care products to soothe your skin. 

It’s not clear why some people get rosacea and others don’t, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with embarrassing rosacea flare-ups. Book a consultation with our team at Sanford Dermatology to get started on a journey to more even-toned skin.

Call our offices in Sanford, Lillington, or Pittsboro, North Carolina, for your first appointment. You can also book an appointment online for the Pittsboro location.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Botox and Fillers in Time for the Holidays

Botox and Fillers in Time for the Holidays

The weather outside is frightful, but your aesthetic shouldn’t be. Keep reading to learn more about our lineup of cosmetic treatments guaranteed to help you walk into your holiday parties with confidence. 
Why Do Some Men Go Bald While Others Don't?

Why Do Some Men Go Bald While Others Don't?

You’re losing your hair, but your friends have the locks they had in high school. What gives? To answer that question, we have to investigate the root cause of baldness. Here’s a closer look at male pattern baldness, who gets it, and how to treat it.
How to Prevent Acne Scars

How to Prevent Acne Scars

The only thing worse than acne? Acne scarring. But don’t worry. You’re not doomed to live in a never-ending cycle of skin problems. Here’s our ultimate guide to preventing and getting rid of acne scars.
Help! My Hair Is Thinning

Help! My Hair Is Thinning

Every day, you notice a little more hair in your brush. The next step? Balding. But don’t worry — there’s hope in an innovative treatment. Here’s how our experts team up with you to restore your lush locks.

5 Types of Psoriasis and How They're Treated

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that impacts your skin — that you already know. But you may not know that there’s more than one type. Keep reading to get a breakdown of the five most common types and their treatments.