Is stress making my rosacea worse?

Megan Dominion

In short, yes, stress could very well be one of several triggers of a rosacea flare-up. As many as 79% of rosacea patients have reported that emotional stress has been a common factor in rosacea flare-ups.1Rosacea Triggers Survey, National Rosacea Society, Here’s a bit more on what could be going onwith your skin.


Rosacea is a skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It appears as small, red bumps on your skin – most commonly on your face. There are different kinds of Rosacea, but the exact cause and cure is unknown, although there are various ways to minimise symptoms and their appearance. Rosacea often comes in cycles or flare-ups, so the appearance of it may come and go for several weeks or months at a time. 2Source: What Is Rosacea by Stephanie Watson, WebMD

Can stress cause Rosacea?

While stress alone will not cause your rosacea to develop, it can definitely increase inflammation all over and inside your body. In turn, stress could cause the existing condition to be aggravated or create / cause a flare-up.3Source: Stress Control Cuts Rosacea Symptoms, According To New Patient Survey, Severe flare-ups are associated with long-term stress or stressful life events. Stress can also increase the intensity and longevity of rosacea flare-ups and inflammation.


Stress can be a trigger for rosacea flare-up

What triggers Rosacea

Nobody knows the exact cause of rosacea but there are several factors that could either cause or aggravate a flare-up. These include:4Source: Factors That May Trigger Rosacea Flare-Ups, National Rosacea Society,

  • Vitamin deficiencies – such as a lack of Vitamin B-12, of an excess of other vitamins
  • Alcohol consumption – alcohol dilates your blood vessels and may cause your face to appear flushed
  • Sun exposure and heat – the sun can trigger and increase inflammation in rosacea
  • Cosmetics – certain face creams may trigger rosacea if they have fragrances or alcohol in them
  • Menopause – changes in your hormones may increase or trigger flare-ups
  • Foods – spicy food or allergies can also trigger redness and flushing
  • Exercise – can increase your body temperature and trigger inflammation
  • Medication – some medications are also known to affect certain rosacea conditions
  • Lack of sleep – tiredness, fatigue and exhaustion can cause a flare-up and affect your skin

How can I calm and manage my rosacea

Firstly, you need to learn and identify what your triggers are. Rosacea (similar to pigmentation and melasma) are skin conditions that have no cure, but are completely manageable.

  1. Reduce as much stress as you can from your lifestyle and find ways to practice self care. Stress and anxiety are a common trigger for a rosecea flare-up
  2. Get lots of sleep, eat a healthy diet and lead a healthy lifestyle where possible
  3. Use natural skincare products and ingredients. Find out about a skincare routine and products for your skin type.
  4. Avoid excessive alcohol, sugar and diary and see if it makes a difference in your skin
  5. Don’t spend too much time in the sun and wear a high SPF sunblock when you do
  6. Avoid skin treatments like Dermapen, peels, exfoliators or any harsh chemicals on your face
  7. Try using ice packs and other cooling face masks when you have a flare up
  8. Go for an allergy test. You may be suffering from a food or environmental allergy that could be aggravating your skin.

We recommend having a look at this more comprehensive patient guide for controlling Rosacea developed by the National Rosacea Society for more information as well as visiting a dermatologist.

In the end, it really comes down to trial and error on what works for you, and your skin. Try a process of elimination on certain products and food ingredients and keep a journal of your progress. Only eliminate one factor at a time e.g dairy or alcohol and see which item has made a difference.

Stay hydrated, well-rested and enjoy your journey to new, improved and beautiful skin. We’ve also written about how your pillowcase may be causing your breakouts, take a look if you think this may be helpful.

Megan Dominion

Megan Dominion is SILKUP's Managing Editor. She's been down both the curly hair and skincare rabbit holes many times and loves that there's always something new to learn; a new science, method, product or personal experience.