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Dr. Eva Simmons O’Brien received her MD from Yale University and is a board-certified dermatologist. With over 30 years of experience, she has worked for hospitals, established her own private practice, and consulted for organizations such as the FDA. Today, Dr. Eva runs her own practice in addition to serving as our Chief Science Officer.

What Causes Rosacea?

What Causes Rosacea?

What Causes Rosacea?



If you have rosacea, you’re familiar with the seriously irritating condition of your skin when you have a flare-up. Knowing what triggers your rosacea and how to deal with it is critical in managing it and getting over a flare-up faster. 

If you suspect you might have rosacea but haven’t been diagnosed, you should see your dermatologist. Here, we’ll cover what rosacea is, why you have it, what can trigger it, and how to handle your skin when you get a rosacea explosion. 

What Is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a skin condition characterized by reddening of the skin. Rosacea usually happens from time to time. A person with rosacea may experience breakouts or “flare-ups” of rosacea. 

It can happen to any skin type, but it’s most common in caucasian skin. It can be confused for acne because it can be accompanied by small, red, pus-filled bumps that look like zits. 

On darker skin colors, rosacea may be mistaken for areas of hyperpigmentation or scarring. However, rosacea is almost always accompanied by burning and discomfort.

Symptoms of Rosacea

Unlike other types of breakouts or areas of dermatitis, rosacea has a characteristic burning sensation that usually makes your skin feel very sensitive and uncomfortable. Symptoms of rosacea include:

  • Flushing, redness, and overall look of irritation on the face, especially on the forehead, chin, cheeks, and nose. 
  • Visible veins that look like spider veins or broken capillaries. 
  • Swollen, small red bumps, pustules, or pimples that resemble acne.
  • Burning, itching, tingling, and pain in the areas affected.
  • Swelling and thickening of the skin on the nose cause it to look larger. 

Some people with rosacea may also experience dry eyes and swollen eyelids. This is known as ocular rosacea and usually happens before you ever have the first rosacea breakout on the skin. 

What Causes Rosacea?

The root cause of rosacea isn’t well understood. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, rosacea can be hereditary, so if one or both of your parents or siblings has rosacea,  you’re more likely to deal with it too.

Rosacea might be the result of an overactive immune system. It appears that rosacea is an inflammatory response by the skin, but numerous different triggers can cause the reasons why you experience an outbreak. 

There’s no cure for rosacea, but your doctor can prescribe you topical creams that can help. If you have a severe case of rosacea, you may be prescribed an oral antibiotic.


Although you can develop rosacea at any time, most people develop it after 30 years old.  It’s also more common in women, but men with rosacea have a higher risk of developing thickening of the skin on the nose, also called rhinophyma.


If you have rosacea, you might notice that certain foods or drinks cause you to experience a flare-up. Most often, spicy food or hot drinks are the culprits. This is because both spicy foods and hot beverages increase blood flow which can cause more blood flowing to the face, triggering a breakout. 


Drinking can cause outbreaks and can also cause rosacea to worsen. If you notice your rosacea gets worse when you drink, try limiting the amount you drink or making sure you drink water between your drinks, which may help reduce the redness you experience. 

Weather and Climate

Where you live and how much time you spend outdoors can cause your rosacea to act up. If it’s really hot, humid, or extremely cold, your rosacea can be triggered. Rosacea can also be affected by wind or sun exposure. 

If you have rosacea, using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 will help give you the protection to help prevent a flare-up.

Emotional Distress

Stress, anger, and sadness can all play a part in causing a flare-up of rosacea. As if the cause behind your strong emotions wasn’t enough. 

Working Out

Exercise increases blood flow to your skin and is incredibly beneficial to your body, but it probably doesn’t do you any favors when it comes to rosacea. Intense workouts, exercising in extreme temperatures, and sweating profusely can all irritate your skin and increase the amount of rosacea you experience. 

Improper Skin Care

If you’re not using any skincare products, your lack of skincare could be an issue. If you do use skincare products, using the wrong ones could be triggering your bouts of rosacea. 

Using harsh, chemical ingredients can cause issues with your skin, leaving it feeling irritated and causing it to look red.

How To Manage Rosacea

Dealing with rosacea can be hard, but knowing what your triggers are can help you avoid flare-ups. Using better skincare can also help you avoid developing more intense rosacea and can help you mitigate damages when you do get a flare-up. 

Lucky for you, Disco has skin-care products that are dermatologist-approved and formulated to work perfectly with the pH balance of a man’s skin. Here’s how to care for your skin without causing sensitivity or leaving your skin red and rashy. 

  • Disco’s Hydrating Facial Moisturizer. Every face needs moisture, and our moisturizer is formulated with natural ingredients that are gentle on your skin. Macadamia oil offers soothing properties that help calm irritated skin and areas of discomfort, perfect for delivering hydration when you have a flare-up. 
  • Disco’s Face Cleanser Stick. You’ve got to wash your face, but when you have an outbreak of painful rosacea bumps, it can feel irritating to use a cleanser. Our facial cleanser stick is different. 

Made with coconut oil, our cleanser gently helps get rid of your skin blemishes without disturbing your skin’s natural moisture balance, clogging pores, or causing irritation.

  • Disco’s Rejuvenating Face Mask. The solution for getting rid of the small, red bumps and blemishes that can come from a flare-up of rosacea or mask contains charcoal to dig out impurities from your skin and willow bark extract to reduce puffiness; the perfect combination of ingredients to getting your skin back in shape. 

Using better skincare can help you manage your rosacea flare-ups better and experience less discomfort (read: burning, itching, and stinging) when you do have a breakout. 

Let’s Disco

You’ve got options for skincare, and you’ve definitely got options for treating your rosacea. If you’re working with your dermatologist, you may be prescribed a topical medication like ivermectin, brimonidine, or oxymetazoline. Always use them as your doctor advises.

In between, make sure you’re using safe products for your skin and effective in keeping it clean and hydrated without causing irritation. Disco’s skincare lineup is easy on your skin yet powerfully effective. 

When rosacea strikes, hit back hard with skincare that’s tough enough for a man’s skin but gentle enough to soothe the symptoms of rosacea. 



Rosacea - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic 

All About Rosacea | 

Rosacea: Who gets and causes | 


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