By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
The exact cause and pathology of rosacea is not known. However, there are several trigger factors and pathological processes that have been associated with aggravation of rosacea symptoms.
Some of these include:
Helicobacter pylori infection
High blood pressure
Exposure to hot or cold weather
Consuming spicy food or hot drinks
One significant trigger of rosacea symptoms is sun exposure, which has also been associated with other types of photodamage of the skin such as skin cancer and sun spots. Studies have shown sun exposure to be responsible for causing rosacea in almost two thirds of patients, particularly among Caucasians or those with fair skin.
Although studies exploring the development of rosacea among Asian populations are uncommom, one study including Korean participants showed that sun exposure, hot baths and vigorous exercise were the main triggers of rosacea and that among elderly individuals, long-term sun exposure was the most significant contributor.
For most patients with rosacea, skin needs to be evaluated carefully with each receiving individualized therapy to account for the variation in symptom triggers and disease severity from person to person. In mild cases of rosacea, for example, most patients are advised simply to avoid sunbathing and to apply sun protective creams or lotions when they are exposed to the sun, while those with more advanced disease may be advised to avoid all skin irritants as well as being administered medication.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc
Last Updated: Sep 22, 2013