Obesity And Rosacea

Table of Contents

Take Care Of Your Skin As It Takes Care Of You

Obesity increases the risk of Rosacea, a chronic skin disorder identified by facial redness and small red bumps on the chin, cheeks, nose, forehead and visible small blood vessels.

Obesity and Rosacea:

According to a study done from 1991 to 2005, taking 89,886 women, 5,249 were diagnosed having Rosacea. This 14 years study was carried out to establish the relationship between body mass index and risk of Rosacea. The study suggested that Obesity was a major risk factor for Rosacea compared with normal BMI, especially for persons gaining weight after 18 years.

The results of the study showed that the rise in BMI increased the risk of Rosacea. A comparison was drawn based on the BMI and the percentage of risk of Rosacea as below.

1. BMI 25.0 to 29.9 (overweight) had an 11% greater chance for Rosacea than BMI 21.0 to 22.9(healthy weight)
2. BMI 30.0 to 34.9(Obese) had 21%, and BMI 35 and above(Obese) had a 48% greater risk for Rosacea.

These results were published in the JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF DERMATOLOGY. The study also suggested that the risk of Rosacea associated with weight increase was only applicable to candidates above the age of 18 years. It was identified that for every 10 pounds increase in weight, there was a 4% rise in the risk of Rosacea.

A study on specific groups was done on the relationship between hip, waist and Rosacea. The results showed the largest waist circumference had a 32% greater risk for Rosacea compared to the lowest waist circumference in the group, independent of their BMI. The largest hip circumference had a 38% greater risk of Rosacea than the group’s lowest hip circumference, independent of their BMI. The results have suggested many theories to explain the steady increase in the risk of Rosacea associated with the rise in BMI or Obesity.

1. Obesity is associated with a chronic low-grade inflammatory state that may lead to the risk of Rosacea
2. Vascular changes in both structure and functions that are seen in Obesity may lead to vasodilatation in Rosacea
3. Increased BMI or overweight can amplify proinflammatory cytokine expressions like interleukin six and tumour necrosis factor-alpha, both factors for rosacea pathogenesis
4. Obesity is associated with several inflammatory skin diseases like atopic dermatitis, acne and psoriasis; there is a high possibility that it poses a risk for Rosacea

Symptoms of Rosacea:

Initial signs recorded on the onset of Rosacea are:

1. Frequent blushing might appear and disappear
2. A permanent redness on the face
3. Stinging small red pimples may be pus-filled, and visible small blood vessels present on the face

As time goes by, visible vessels become more prominent, small red bumps growing in size becoming pus-filled pimples associated with a stinging sensation, itchiness, and a feeling of tightness gripping the affected areas. The facial skin tends to become rough, dry and raised red patches called plaques appear. It usually affects fair middle-aged women and is mistaken for other skin diseases like acne, etc.

Types:  There are four types of Rosacea.

Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea:  This type of Rosacea is confined to the facial region characterized by constant redness and small blood vessels, which become enlarged and visible. These symptoms appear and disappear, but if untreated, they may spread and become permanent.

Papulopustular Rosacea: This type deals with the red swollen bumps on the cheek, chin, forehead, including redness in the facial region. These swollen bumps become pus-filled blemishes termed whitehead pustules. These blemishes may also spread to the neck, chest or scalp.

Phymatous Rosacea: This type usually affects the nose, making it swollen and bulbous, termed Rhinophyma, which appears more in men than women. Although this type is rare, it is treatable.

Ocular Rosacea: This type of Rosacea is confined to the individual’s eyes, making them appear watery or bloodshot associated with irritation and burning. 

Possible Candidates: This skin disorder usually affects women above 30 years and rarely children. Fair people who generally blush are more prone to it, while hereditary plays a vital role in descending the disease to the next generation. Although it occurs more in women, men who acquire it develop severe symptoms, the reason being carelessness and delayed medical treatment.

Cause: Many theories have sprung up claiming Rosacea to be associated with a disorder of the blood vessels or caused by a fungus, psychological factors, microscopic skin mites, or some fault in the tissue’s functioning under the skin.


By Medicines: This skin disorder is medically managed by topical and oral medicines, which bring the symptoms under control.

By Surgery: To reduce the visible blood vessels on the facial region, laser treatment is chosen as the best option, including correction of nose disfigurements due to Rhinophyma.


A person suffering from Rosacea should be able to recognize and abstain from factors that aggravate the condition associated with his or her lifestyle or environment. Some of the triggers most commonly identified are, 

1. Exposure to either sun or wind
2. Exposure to either cold or hot weathers
3. Hot water baths
4. Consumption of alcohol or beverages
5. Emotional stress
6. Heavy exercise
7. UV light: It is advised to apply sunscreen every day to prevent UV rays from the sunlight.
8. Obesity: Poses risk for Rosacea according to intensive research. Reducing weight decreases the inflammatory state and thus could impact the regression of Rosacea

Bottom line: Take care of your skin as it takes care of you.

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Dr. Tulip

Dr. Tulip is an advanced laparoscopic and Bariatric surgeon practicing in Bangalore at TODS- Dr. Tulips Obesity and Diabetes Surgery Centre

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