Rosacea: Common Causes and Triggers

Rosacea is a common skin condition that may prevent people from enjoying a clear, even, healthy glow. Commonly affecting people with fair skin, typically people of Northern European descent, rosacea triggers include a variety of factors, such as sun exposure, a hyper-reactive immune response, genetics, gender and reactions to medication. Read this article to find out if you have rosacea or just sensitive, red skin. If you suffer from rosacea, knowing what triggers your condition can help you prevent outbreaks and treat them when they do arise. Here are common rosacea triggers. 

Common rosacea triggers

Skin specialists recommend that if you have rosacea, you should pay close attention to how your symptoms respond to different environmental and dietary stimuli. This can help sufferers identify rosacea triggers, so as to avoid or minimise such triggers in the future. Decreasing rosacea triggers can temporarily reduce the likelihood of flushing. Here are eight common rosacea triggers to avoid:


  1. Hot humid environment
  2. Hot drinks
  3. Alcohol
  4. Spicy foods
  5. Eating a large hot meal
  6. Certain medications
  7. Sun and wind exposure
  8. Emotional stress

What Causes Rosacea Flushing and Spots?

1. Heat

Rosacea Type 2, also known as Papulopustular Rosacea, is a mild to moderate form of the condition. Red spots emerge when the skin is aggravated by heat and may disappear later in the day. It’s often confused with acne vulgaris breakouts; however, the breakouts are commonly caused by a bacterial infection. Since the conditions look so similar, it’s best to have it assessed by a Certified Professional.

2. Skin mites

Demodex mites are tiny mites that occur naturally on the skin. However, people who suffer from rosacea may have up to ten times the population of these mites that people with healthy skin. Demodex mites cause a reactive immune response, which releases histamine and triggers inflammation. The result is a red flush to the skin.

Rosacea Skin Demodex Mite

3. The gut

Gut flora may play a role in chronic skin conditions, according to research. Research suggests a link between skin inflammation and Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO is a gastrointestinal condition where food stays too long in the gut, creating conditions that fuel the growth of pathogenic organisms. This can then lead to a leaky gut and inflammation. Other research suggests that a diet rich in fiber and fermented foods supports healthy gut flora and can reduce inflammation and SIBO.

4. Oil

Although in the early stages of rosacea, skin appears dry, in more severe cases, skin may appear flaky, dry and oily. Rosacea sufferers often report a tight feeling in the skin immediately after cleansing. This is typically followed later in the day by an oilier complexion on the forehead and cheeks. The level of skin oiliness depends on sebum production, which itself depends on key factors including genetics, gender and age. Skin oiliness increases after puberty, with sebum production higher in most men due to higher testosterone production. After menopause, many women experience a rapid decline in sebum production, which can leave skin feeling very dry. Contrary to popular belief, excess sebum alone does not cause rosacea or acne. Instead a healthy skin barrier relies on a critical balance of lipids in sebum. Without a healthy skin barrier, other factors can come into play.

5. The immune system

Proper communication with the immune system is important for skin health. This is because the inflammatory cascade, and histamine release, occur in response to a perceived attack on the body, not just an actual attack. Due to the close connection between every cell, an increase in sebum production can be seen as a natural response to help counter the effects of inflammation. Unfortunately, for those with skin conditions related to problems with sebum, this can create a vicious cycle. Sebum excess may trigger other disruptions causing more inflammation, immune system disruption, and further excess sebum production.

Treatments for healthy skin

As with many skin diseases, rosacea has a complex array of causes linked by a single key factor: inflammation. New discoveries have helped to evolve our understanding of rosacea at the cellular and molecular level. As a result, treatment recommendations have evolved to include advice on improving the health of internal organs and digestive health.

We recommend using products from the Rosacea Skincare Collection.

Normal Skin Kit

The Normal Skin 4-Piece Essential Kit contains everything you need to start your journey to glowing skin. It contains Benefit Clean, a gentle cleanser ideal for all skin types; Affirm, an antioxidant firming serum; Define, an alpha-hydroxy acid complex cream with retinol; and Emulsion, an ultra-rich moisturiser.

If you have rosacea, you may be wondering if you can use retinol or products that contain it. Rest assured, you can use retinol; however, the strength of the application has to be tailored correctly. 

Gentle Clean Sensitive Skin Cleanser

This gentle cleanser lives up to its name. It's ideal for all skin types and conditions, and is especially gentle on rosacea skin. Gentle Clean is free from irritating surfactants and contains healing shea butter, aloe vera, and a blend of antioxidants. 

CPR Skin Recovery Serum

This serum calms, protects, and restores red, irritated, and sensitive skin and is ideal for those with rosacea. CPR contains a blend of vitamins, antioxidants, and other natural ingredients to heal skin, reverse damage, and neutralise redness. 

Define Vitamin A Resurfacing Treatment

Many people with rosacea are hesitant to use vitamin A or retinol because they worry about more redness and irritation. However, the key to using vitamin A and retinol products is in the dosage, or the percentage of vitamin A  the product contains. Define contains 2% encapsulated Retinol AGP complex, which makes it very well-tolerated, even with rosacea skin. This treatment resurfaces the skin, stimulates collagen and elastin production and even boosts the skin's natural moisture factor.

Mystic Hydrating Treatment

This is a lightweight, non-greasy hydrating treatment perfect for all skin types and conditions. Mystic contains deuterium oxide (D2) to hydrate and protect the skin from free radicals. Additionally, it's antibacterial and anti-fungal and even contains anti-inflammatory properties. 

REDuce Anti-Redness Serum

Ideal to heal rosacea skin, REDuce is a soothing serum that contains anti-inflammatory properties as well as a concentrated blend of vitamins and antioxidants. It also contains nourishing shea butter and jojoba oil to heal redness, irritation, and damage and is antibacterial and anti-microbial. 

Hydrate+ SPF17

Hydrate is a lightweight, non-greasy daily moisturiser ideal for all skin types, including sensitive and rosacea skin. It's non-irritating and offers antioxidant protection as well as sun protection.


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