Explore the causes, triggers, symptoms, and treatments of Rosacea.

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic, common inflammatory skin condition that presents as redness of the face. 

Diagnosing Rosacea cannot be done through a medical test, however they can be used to rule out other skin conditions and narrow down on rosacea.

The skin condition is most often developed in fair-skinned, blonde and blue-eyed women between the ages of 30-50 years. Those with Celtic or Scandinavian backgrounds also heightens risk of rosacea. A genetic history of acne and rosacea also contributes to the possibility of developing it.

Males can also develop rosacea, but often have more severe exterior symptoms.

There are four main rosacea subtypes which present different symptoms. Learn more about the types of rosacea.

What causes rosacea?

While the exact cause of rosacea is unknown, researchers have identified some numerous causes such as genetics, a dysfunctional immune system, bacterial imbalance, a defective peptide, and the new research on naturally occuring mites on the skin. 

The critter culprits

We all have an ecosystem made up of bacteria on our skin, this is what contributes to our unique microflora.

Two new fields of research have opened up into the links of Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) bacteria and Demodex mites playing a major role in the development and vicious cycle of rosacea skin. Mounting research suggesting that H. Pylori and Demodex can cause and trigger rosacea has encouraged more research to be conducted in understanding how these interplay with finding a cure.

The bacterial imbalance

H.pylori is a common group of bacteria found in our gut that may play a role in triggering and treating rosacea. 

When H.pylori are prevalent, levels of the hormone gastrin can increase, which causes an imbalance in acid regulation. This can lead to the flushing on the skin we see so often with rosacea.

When treated for H.pylori overabundance, rosacea sufferers experienced a reduction in symptoms, with papulopustular rosacea sufferers noticing the greater positive effects in remission.

As rosacea is a multi-triggered disease it’s possible H. pylori imbalance plays a significant role in aggravating rosacea.

Gastrointestinal symptoms are commonly present when there are high levels of H.pylori. These symptoms include stomach inflammation and ulcers as well as irritable bowel syndrome.

There are many links between bowel imbalances and skin issues, so assessing and improving gut health often helps with skin condition management. Learn more about the link between your gut and skin health here.

Demodex mites

Demodex mites are naturally occurring on the skin. There are two types; Demodex folliculorum that live in hair follicles, commonly on the face, and in the meibomian glands of the eyelids; and Demodex brevis that live in the sebaceous (oil) glands on the skin. 

An overabundance of demodex critters on the skin can aggravate the skin to show rosacea-like symptoms. Mounting research suggests that those with rosacea carry more demodex than a person without rosacea, and they are found in the regions that rosacea flares up.

Mites can be found inside pustules (small fluid-filled bumps on the skin) and papules (skin lesions) on the skin further disrupting the skin, or for some causing the skin to develop rosacea.

The peptide link

Rosacea sufferers experience a faulty peptide called the cathelicidin peptide; this is responsible for controlling blood flow and inhibiting bad bacteria.

The peptide for rosacea sufferers is present at much higher concentrations and has a different molecular structure, making it no longer function normally. It causes rosacea’s trademark bright red cheeks as well as sensitive skin.

The sensitive skin is in a hyper-reactive state so it is more affected by sun, food, drink, and temperature. These cause flare-ups of redness, swelling and even pain.

The faulty peptide also means that the Demodex mites have a better chance of attacking the skin, as it isn’t properly protected.

The mites and their bacteria then further aggravate the sensitive skin and trigger the immune system to overreact – and a vicious cycle of rosacea skin is perpetuated.

Gain control over rosacea

It’s important to understand that the different types of rosacea are not caused by a single issue but actually a combination of gut microbial imbalance, skin microflora, Demodex mites and potentially a genetic defect in the peptide cathelicidin

While there is no known cure for rosacea, and researchers can’t put their finger on the exact cause – we have a few tips on how you can manage it.

  • Food: Starting with diet. Many believe that starting with the gut has promising affects on rosacea. Cutting out dairy, alcohol, spicy foods, and junk foods works for most people with rosacea. These foods are all known to affect H. pylori population numbers. Keeping a journal on food can help link you to what can trigger rosacea for yourself. 
  • Weather: Protect the skin from harsh weather such as direct sun and cool winds. Sunscreen is very important especially in summer when UV is stronger, and in winter a scarf can lighten the impact the cold has.  
  • Moisturise: Keep the skin hydrated by moisturising daily. 
  • Prescription: Topical steroids work in the short-term but long-term use triggers steroid rosacea. Meaning, steroids pull you into a harsh life-long cycle. If you are to use them, then it is best to do so only for a short-term to calm the flare-up. 
  • Skincare: A good skincare product for rosacea should work with your sensitive skin and enhance the skin health. Bringing in skincare that can deal with the faulty peptide, offer skin repair and protection can significantly improve day-to-day quality of life.

Recommended products for rosacea

Thoroughly Gentle Cleanser

Clears dirt and toxins, unblocking skin pores. Removes bad bacteria, while supporting good bacteria and skin microflora.

Gently cleans and calms the skin leaving it protected.

Revitalizing Toner

Contains kiwifruit seed oil and natural extracts to protect and restore the skin lipid barrier.

Atopis Toner gently closes pores, locks in moisture to boosts collagen and help heal. It acts as an anti-inflammatory to reduce redness and even skin tone.

Radiant Balance Cream

Radiant Balance promotes clear, calm and hormonally balanced skin. Clinically shown to reduce visible redness and flushing on sensitive skin, even skin tone and revitalise dull skin while reducing acne breakouts.

Scientifically formulated for normal to oily and combination skin types.

Recommended reading for rosacea skin type

When colour matters

When colour matters

When colour makes a huge difference At Atopis we are often asked about the colour of our skin creams.  Why are they not white, or a standardised colour like other creams? Many 'natural' skin creams are bleached white or have colour added for a uniform appearance so...

read more
The Amazing Kiwifruit

The Amazing Kiwifruit

By Dr Iona Weir PhDChief Scientist and CEOAtopis Skincare   In my early days working as a Scientist I developed techniques that would allow for high-throughput screening of the DNA and biochemistry of individual cells and applied this to kiwifruit breeding. This...

read more
A Digital Attack on the Face?

A Digital Attack on the Face?

The following information may come as a shock. Who would have thought that the screens on our phones/laptops/tablets were causing our skin some serious damage!? It takes a person 15 minutes on average before they check their phone in the morning not to mention the...

read more
What is Milia? And Do You Have It?

What is Milia? And Do You Have It?

Milia – Those Bumps aren’t Acne! If you haven’t heard of Milia it looks like small bumps that commonly form around sensitive skin places such as the eyes. It is not rare to develop a singular milium or a crop of Milia at some stage in our life, but the appearance of...

read more
The Critters That May Cause Rosacea

The Critters That May Cause Rosacea

Our face is home to a whole ecosystem of microscopic creatures! These critters are mostly harmless. In fact, they are actually quite helpful - generally speaking their job is to eat dead skin cells, helping to rid the face of waste. However, a growing body of medical...

read more
The 5 Types of Rosacea

The 5 Types of Rosacea

Identifying and understanding the type of rosacea you or your loved one has is crucial to learning how to effectively manage it. Our answer to healing rosacea-affected skin is the Atopis Radiant Balance Cream – a steroid-free and 100% organic cream that...

read more
What Causes Rosacea?

What Causes Rosacea?

Experiencing a skin condition like Rosacea can often have a significant impact on social and emotional wellbeing.  It’s important to remember that you are not alone, and there are many things you can do to regain control of your skin. Explore the key known causes...

read more