What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic facial disorder characterized by flare-ups and remissions.[1] This can be a potentially life-disruptive disorder that typically begins any time after 30 years old. It involves redness on the nose, cheeks, chin or forehead and sometimes may occur on the neck, ears, scalp or chest. Over time, the redness tends to become more persistent and blood vessels become prominent. If left untreated, more pimples and bumps often develop. In many rosacea patients, the eyes can be affected and can appear watery or blood shot.

Although rosacea can affect all people of all ages, individuals with fair skin are believed to be at greatest risk. Rosacea is more frequently diagnosed in women than in men. While there is no cure for rosacea and it is of unknown aetiology, medical therapy is available to treat its signs and symptoms.

The common signs and symptoms of rosacea are:

Facial redness

A persistent facial redness can be noticed in the central portion of the face. Small blood vessels on the nose and cheeks often swell because of the increased blood flow.

Swollen red bumps

These bumps sometimes are filled with pus. The skin may feel tender and hot. This occurs because of the increased blood flow in the face. The swollen red bumps can also be painful (pain is usually sharp) especially if touched.

Eye problems

About 40% of the people who have rosacea experience eye dryness, irritation, swollen and reddened eyelids. This is because the swelling caused by increased blood flow can damage the eye.[2]

Enlarged nose

The nose may swell and become enlarged when there is an increased blood flow in this area.

While rosacea may or may not progress form mild to moderate to severe, early diagnosis and treatment is strongly recommended to prevent potential complications.

What causes rosacea?

The cause of rosacea is still unknown, but it is thought be due to hereditary and environmental factors, which can trigger or aggravate the condition by increasing blood flow to the surface of the skin. Some of these factors include:

Abnormalities in facial blood vessels

Dermatologists suggest that abnormalities in the facial blood vessels can cause flushing, persistent redness and prominent blood vessels.[3] What causes the inflammation of the blood vessels is not yet known.

H. Pylori Bacteria

This is a bacteria found in the gut and is known to stimulate the production of a protein that causes blood vessel dilation called bradykinin.[4] H. pylori may play a role in the development of the disorder.


Rosacea runs in the family. There is a 30 to 40% chance that the disorder can be passed through by the parents to their siblings.[5]

Light skin color

People with a fair skin color are at high risk for developing rosacea.


Some factors can aggravate or worsen rosacea:

Facial products that contain alcohol

For unknown reasons, people with rosacea have very sensitive skin. Irritants like alcohol can cause flare up of symptoms.

Drugs that dilate blood vessels like blood pressure medications

Examples are ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers and angiotensin II receptor blockers.

Hot environment or hot and spicy foods or beverages

They dilate blood vessels and leads to an increase in blood flow in the face.

Strenuous exercise

It can make a person sweat more. In this case, the sweat can irritate the sensitive skin of the person.


Activation of the stress hormone called cortisol leads to elevation of temperature. This in turn dilates blood vessels and increase blood flow to the face.


The heat from the sun dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow to the face. Also, its ultraviolet rays can irritate the sensitive skin.

What is the rosacea treatment?

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for rosacea. [6] Treatments focus on relieving the signs and symptoms. A combination of medications and lifestyle modifications generally provide the best outcome. The doctor may prescribe oral and topical antibiotics and camouflage creams that mask disfigurement of the skin, but simple home management can help control the symptoms of rosacea.

To treat rosacea:

Use appropriate cleansers

Harsh soaps and lotions should be avoided. Depending on skin type all of the Chi Cleansers are appropriate to use on a rosacea skin. Also, avoid rubbing the face when applying the cleansers to prevent irritation.


Glow in the morning under your moisturizer will help calm redness. Topically applied Niacinamide (B3) has been shown to increase ceramide and free fatty acid levels in the skin, prevent skin water loss, and stimulating microcirculation in the dermis. It also has a growing reputation for being able to treat an uneven skin tone, mitigate rosacea and reduce the red marks it leaves behind (known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation).

In the evening apply Chi’s Repair Serum. This serum contains Glycosaminoglycans that naturally converts to Heparin, an anti-coagulant, which reduces redness in the skin. Urea keeps the skin soft, supple and hydrated. Y-PGA increases the water content of the extracellular matrix and enhances desquamation of the upper layers of dead skin cells, increasing the smoothness of the skin, promotes cell proliferation and wound healing. It is also an anti-irritant and extremely soothing.


O2 Revitalizing Moisturizer brings oxygen back to the skin with LYCD (Live Yeast Cell Derivative) one of its active ingredients, which is also calming and regenerating. LYCD (also known as Bio-dyne life force) has a skin respiratory factor that helps skin cells promote the healing process through an increased uptake of oxygen. LYCD has been isolated as a protein fraction, containing a mixture of several peptides, one of which is a peptide fraction that stimulates wound healing. Biodyne is known to be biologically active on skin cells. SOD (Super Oxide Dismutase) aids in the synthesis of both collagen (the structural protein of our skin) and GAGs (polysaccharides that lubricate, hydrate and protect or cells). Gingko Biloba and Vitamin E assists in free radical damage, whilst oils of Almond, Avocado, Wheat Germ, Hazel Nut and Carrot help to nourish a compromised skin, with Sodium Hyaluronate improving EWL (Epithelial Water loss/Dehydration).

O2 can be used AM and PM on all skin types, and is suited to fair, sensitive skins.

Protect yourself from the sun

Sun exposure can flare up symptoms of rosacea. Use a wide-brimmed hat and physical sunscreens for added protection. Because rosacea tends to occur in mostly fair-skinned individuals, the use of sunscreen lotion with SPF 30 or more is recommended.

Avoid hot and spicy foods

Eating hot foods can make your blood vessels dilate and increase its blood circulation in the face leading to swelling and redness of the face. Allow your food to cool first before eating. Also, spicy foods can increase the temperature in the face, leading to an increased blood flow.

Avoid stimulants such as caffeine

Caffeine stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which can lead to elevation in the body temperature.[7] Avoid caffeine-rich foods such as cocoa, chocolate, coffee, carbonated drinks and energy drinks.


1. Beaman, N., et al (2007). Pearson’s Comprehensive Medical Assisting: Administrative and Clinical Competencies, page 372.
2. Hampton, F., et al (2008). Roy and Fraunfelder’s Current Ocular Therapy, page 157.
3. Fekrat, S., et al (2006). All about Your Eyes, page 38.
4. Bronner, F. (2006). Nutritional and Clinical Management of Chronic Conditions and Diseases, page 213.
5. What is rosacea? What causes rosacea? Retrieved from
6. Barrows, B. (2007). Rosacea 101: Includes the Rosacea Diet, page 21.
7. (n.d.). Caffeine. Retrieved from