Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that may begin or worsen during pregnancy. Symptoms may include facial flushing, redness or discoloration, and nodules in the central part of the face.

If a person suspects they have rosacea, it is important to contact a doctor for advice. The doctor may recommend topical medications. However, not every medication for the treatment of rosacea is safe for use during pregnancy.

Keep reading to learn more about pregnancy rosacea. This article looks at causes and symptoms, treatment options, diagnosis, and more.

According to a small 2023 study, the onset of rosacea commonly occurs during the childbearing years in women. This means that the condition may manifest during pregnancy.

Physiological changes in pregnancy may sometimes cause rosacea to start or worsen.

In addition to the usual types of rosacea, some evidence indicates that pregnancy can result in the onset of a rare, severe subtype called rosacea fulminans.

Learn more about the types of rosacea.

Rosacea produces atypical physiological changes that cause malfunctioning of the immune system and neurovascular system, affecting the nerves and blood vessels. These systems also undergo changes in pregnancy, and this may play a role in developing rosacea.

A 2021 review explains that hormonal changes during pregnancy may lead to symptoms of rosacea. These can include:

  • swelling
  • increased blood vessel accumulation
  • boosted discharge of oil from the oil glands

While some people may develop rosacea during pregnancy, existing rosacea symptoms may actually improve for some people.

A small 2023 study found that, during pregnancy, 48.7% of people who already had a rosacea diagnosis experienced worsening symptoms. Around 33.3% of people experienced no change, while 17.9% of people saw improvements in their symptoms.

Learn about what can cause a rosacea flare-up.

Rosacea causes recurring symptoms in the central part of the face, affecting the nose, forehand, chin, and cheeks. These include:

  • redness or discoloration
  • flushing
  • telangiectasia, a widening of tiny blood vessels in the skin that results in a visible pattern of lines
  • pustules, bulging patches of skin that are full of pus
  • papules, small raised areas of skin tissue

Eye symptoms occur in around 50% to 75% of cases. These include

View the slideshow below for photos of rosacea.

Doctors can diagnose rosacea based on a person’s symptoms and medical history.

In some cases, they may order tests to rule out other possible causes.

Treatment for rosacea can include avoiding any known triggers and using topical medications.

It is important to note that some rosacea medications are not safe to use during pregnancy.

Medical treatments

Topical treatments can depend on the symptoms and the type of rosacea but may include:

  • metronidazole
  • azelaic acid
  • ivermectin
  • benzoyl peroxide
  • brimonidine

Oral medications, such as antibiotics and corticosteroids, may be beneficial in severe cases.

Avoiding triggers

A key part of managing rosacea involves avoiding triggers. Common triggers include:

  • spicy food
  • tobacco smoking
  • exposure to ultraviolet radiation
  • temperature changes
  • alcohol consumption
  • air pollution

Learn about natural treatments for rosacea.

Rosacea has no cure.

However, it may be possible to manage the condition by avoiding triggers. Doctors may also recommend medical treatments.

Rosacea fulminans can be more challenging to manage. It is important to begin treatment as early as possible.

A person’s doctor can provide more information about their outlook and help them create a suitable treatment plan.

It may not be possible to completely prevent rosacea from developing.

However, the American Academy of Dermatology Association advises the following measures to help prevent rosacea from worsening:

  • using a fragrance-free moisturizer
  • avoiding the use of toners and exfoliators
  • applying sunscreen with SPF 30 or above daily
  • covering the face below the eyes with a scarf in cold, windy weather
  • taking warm showers instead of hot showers
  • exercising when it is cooler rather than warmer

Learn more about skin care and rosacea.

A person noticing any changes in their skin could contact a doctor for advice. The doctor can confirm the diagnosis and advise on suitable treatments that are safe for people during pregnancy.

If a person is currently receiving treatment for rosacea and is pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, it is important to contact a doctor to discuss whether their current treatment plan is suitable during pregnancy.

Pregnancy rosacea can occur because the condition affects people in the childbearing years. Hormonal and other physiological changes during pregnancy can cause the condition to develop or worsen, with symptoms including facial flushing and redness or discoloration.

If the condition is mild, it may be possible to manage it by avoiding triggers and using any topical medications a doctor recommends. Doctors usually reserve oral medications for severe cases.

Not every medication for rosacea is suitable for use during pregnancy. A person’s doctor can confirm the diagnosis and advise on a suitable treatment plan. They can also advise on any changes to existing treatment if a person has rosacea and then becomes pregnant.