Rosacea During Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Rosacea during pregnancy isn't one of the most frequent manifestations. However, we'll tell you everything you need to know to prevent it.
Rosacea During Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Last update: 30 July, 2022

Although rosacea during pregnancy isn’t one of the most common skin manifestations of gestation, it does occur on occasion. For this reason, it’s also advisable to maintain a proper skincare routine during this period. In fact, any skin disease can worsen or manifest itself for the first time during pregnancy.

What is rosacea and why does it occur?

Rosacea is a common chronic inflammatory disease that appears in the form of different lesions on the skin surface of the face. Although it’s usually limited to the skin, there are also ocular manifestations of the disease.

Rosacea that develops during pregnancy is a momentary condition that tends to disappear after the baby’s born, when hormone levels begin to stabilize.

The exact cause of the development of rosacea during pregnancy is not known. However, since it is a temporary condition of pregnancy, it is strongly associated with the hormonal changes of that stage.

Among microorganisms, demodex mites seem to be involved in the development of rosacea, as a greater quantity is evidenced in the affected skin, according to some studies in the New England Journal of Medicine.

A pregnant woman putting cream on her face.
Facial care during pregnancy is key, due to the series of changes inherent to the state of pregnancy that predispose women to certain dermatological diseases.

Clinical manifestations of rosacea during pregnancy

Rosacea appears with erythema, telangiectasias, recurrent redness, papules, or pustules on the nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead. In other words, the manifestations of rosacea during pregnancy are often indistinguishable from manifestations that arise at other times of life.

Rosacea symptoms come and go, as flares and remissions, accompanied by persistent or transient facial redness. The central part of the face is the most affected area with stinging, burning, and tiny visible blood vessels, called telangiectasias.

Although some rosacea lesions, such as papules and pustules, may resemble acne, in general, open comedones (blackheads) aren’t seen in rosacea.

This disease is classified into 4 subtypes according to the clinical manifestations presented: Erythematotelangiectatic, papulopustular, phymatous, and ocular. Let’s look at each case.

Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea

Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea is characterized by persistent redness and flushing of the central region of the face. It may even present visible blood vessels and lesions characteristic of papulopustular rosacea. This type of skin is usually very sensitive, with an itching and burning sensation.

Rosacea papulopustulosa

The characteristic lesions of this subtype, papules and/or pustules, may occur together with transient or persistent facial erythema. This variant is often confused with localized acne on the face. Although there’s no definitive cure for rosacea, the disease can be controlled by appropriate treatment.

Rosacea fymatosa (rhinophyma)

Rosacea fymatosa isn’t one of the most common manifestations in pregnant women. It’s characterized by marked thickening of the skin and irregular nodules on the skin surface of the nose. In turn, there’s evidence of an increased volume of sebaceous glands and fibrosis.

Ocular rosacea

Ocular rosacea ranges from foreign body sensation, mild irritation, blurred vision, and dryness, to inflammatory keratitis and severe alteration of the ocular surface. It’s rare for rosacea to pose a threat to a person’s sight. Ocular manifestations of this disease may appear earlier than cutaneous manifestations.

Therapeutic options for rosacea during pregnancy

Rosacea is based on a clinical diagnosis and doesn’t usually require a biopsy. Then, the first therapeutic step is to advise the pregnant woman in order to identify and avoid triggers.

Topical treatments

Topical creams contain antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. They may even contain active ingredients with soothing and anti-inflammatory effects.

When rosacea occurs during pregnancy, it’s best to see a dermatologist in order to start the appropriate treatment and avoid oral medications. The latter is very important, as some drugs aren’t appropriate during lactation or pregnancy. In fact, systemic corticosteroids may be required, but have the potential to cause intrauterine growth retardation, hypertension, or gestational diabetes.

The use of appliances

Your obstetrician should be consulted before you start any of the following dermatological treatments:

A pregnant women stretching in the sun.
Meditation and yoga contribute to the therapeutic management of rosacea during pregnancy. In addition, they offer some more benefits to the body of the expectant mother.

Natural therapies

One of the triggers of rosacea outbreaks can be episodes of stress. Therefore, it’s a good idea to practice activities that provide the pregnant woman with calm and relaxation. Meditation, massage, and prenatal yoga are very effective in helping to alleviate the clinical manifestations of the disease.

Rosacea and skin care as prevention

It’s best to maintain a correct skincare routine, with the use of a mild pH-balanced cleanser for delicate and sensitive skin. In addition, rosacea isn’t a life-threatening condition and the overall prognosis is good. However, it can lead to anxiety and depression.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Bechstein SK, Ochsendorf F. Akne und Rosazea in der Schwangerschaft [Acne and rosacea in pregnancy]. Hautarzt. 2017 Feb;68(2):111-119. German. doi: 10.1007/s00105-016-3918-8. PMID: 28070633.
  • Gomolin T, Cline A, Pereira F. Treatment of rosacea during pregnancy. Dermatol Online J. 2021 Jul 15;27(7). doi: 10.5070/D327754360. PMID: 34391325.
  • van Zuuren EJ. Rosacea. N Engl J Med. 2017 Nov 2;377(18):1754-1764. doi: 10.1056/NEJMcp1506630. PMID: 29091565.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.