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Rosacea Causes & Triggers

The root causes of rosacea are unknown, though heredity may play a large part.


The cause of the redness is known and involves a relatively simple process. Rosacea causes dilation of the capillaries close to the surface of the skin. Under normal conditions, when we blush, these capillaries become dilated allowing more blood to enter. The redness shows through the skin. When the blush passes, the capillaries return to a normal state and our face returns to its normal colour.

In the condition known as rosacea, the capillaries become chronically dilated. There is more understanding of the triggers than there is of the causes of rosacea. Rosacea can be triggered by emotions. Normally a person would simply blush and the moment would pass. However, in rosacea, the capillaries remain dilated. Other triggers are the sun, wind, spicy foods and alcohol. These triggers dilate the capillaries, which then remain dilated causing the cheeks, forehead, chin and nose to have a “rosy” colour.

The appearance of small papules often causes rosacea sufferers to believe they are suffering from acne. However, this “rosacea acne” is not true acne, which is caused by clogged pores, not dilated capillaries.


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