Rosacea: Diagnosis, Triggers, and Management

Rosacea is a long-term skin condition that causes facial redness, visible blood vessels, and sometimes small red bumps or pimples. Although it’s often linked with fair skin, people of all skin tones, including darker skin, can develop rosacea. However, rosacea may appear differently on dark skin, resulting in distinct diagnoses, triggers, and management difficulties.

Differences in Presentation

Rosacea may present differently in individuals with darker skin tones. Rather than the typical redness, they may experience persistent brown or gray discoloration known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). This can lead to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, as the symptoms may be confused with other conditions, such as acne or dermatitis.

Common Triggers

Regardless of skin tone, several factors can cause or aggravate rosacea symptoms. Among the most common triggers are:

  1. Sun Exposure: UV radiation from the sun can worsen rosacea symptoms and lead to increased pigmentation in darker skin.
  2. Heat and Temperature Extremes: Hot weather, saunas, and steam rooms can cause flushing and inflammation in people with rosacea.
  3. Spicy Foods and Alcohol: Flare-ups can be triggered by certain foods and beverages, particularly spicy foods and alcohol.
  4. Stress: Emotional stress and anxiety can trigger or exacerbate rosacea symptoms.
  5. Skin Care Products: Harsh skincare products and those containing fragrances can irritate rosacea-prone skin.

Effective Management

Rosacea management in dark skin necessitates a customized approach that addresses the unique challenges of skin type and tone. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Gentle Cleansing: Avoid scrubbing the skin and use gentle, non-irritating cleansers. Soft cleansing aids in the prevention of further inflammation.
  2. Sun Protection: Sunscreen with a broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30 is required to protect the skin from UV damage and to prevent symptoms from worsening.
  3. Topical Treatments: Dermatologists may prescribe topical medications such as metronidazole, azelaic acid, or ivermectin to reduce inflammation and redness, depending on the type of rosacea.
  4. Oral Medications: In more severe cases, oral antibiotics or other prescription medications might be recommended to control symptoms.
  5. Lifestyle Modifications: It is critical to recognize and avoid triggers. Manage stress by eating a well-balanced diet and using stress-reduction techniques.
  6. Avoid Overexfoliation: Excessive exfoliation may aggravate inflammation. Exfoliation should be done gently, with no harsh scrubs.
  7. Avoid Irritating Ingredients: Avoid skincare products that contain alcohol, fragrances, or other irritants.
  8. Cooling Techniques: To relieve flushing and inflammation, apply cool compresses or products containing soothing ingredients like aloe vera.

Skincare Routine for Rosacea in Dark Skin

Morning Routine:

  • Cleanse gently with a non-foaming cleanser.
  • Apply a fragrance-free, moisturizing SPF 30 or higher sunscreen.

Evening Routine:

  • Use the same gentle cleanser to clean.
  • Use a rosacea-specific topical treatment that your dermatologist has recommended.
  • After that, apply a mild, fragrance-free moisturizer.


  • To soothe the skin, use a hydrating mask.
  • If necessary, use a mild chemical exfoliator instead of harsh exfoliants.

As Needed:

  • To reduce redness and inflammation, apply cool compresses.
  • For specific treatment adjustments, consult your dermatologist.

Consult a Dermatologist

People with dark skin who have rosacea should consult a dermatologist specializing in different skin types. The dermatologist can accurately diagnose the condition, recommend appropriate treatments, and advise on managing triggers.

We want you to know that rosacea may appear differently on darker skin tones, but don’t worry! We have effective ways to manage it with the proper knowledge and strategies. By establishing a gentle skincare routine, identifying triggers, and seeking professional help, we can empower you to manage your rosacea and keep your skin healthy and comfortable. Let’s work together to find the best solutions for you!