Couperose Skin Vs. Rosacea: What's the Difference?


When I was at the doctor a few weeks back (getting antibiotics for my acute bronchitis), she commented on whether I'd like a script for my rosacea.

Ahhhh, excuse me lady... Firstly, I don't have rosacea and secondly, I don't do pharmaceuticals – unless it's a dire life or death situation.

But lately, after exercise I've been noticing a reddish, blushed tinge to my face. It used to disappear after a few minutes but now it's hanging around for several hours. I haven't had this red-face imposition before and I rarely get embarrassed by much these days. So it lead me to investigate further.

As you know, I'm a big fan of creating products that assist with the ageing process. I'm often the head human piggy in my experiments and concoctions. I make the products for myself, so they have to be the shizzle-dizzle before they hit the market. They have to work, or there's no point. I'm here to help make your skin happy and for you to look the best you can, for as long as you can. 

I'm not quite ready to disclose what I've been working on, but sometimes using a new product or changing products can create an imbalance or reaction in your skin (one of the reasons why we have samples sizes so you can adequately try before you buy) and sometimes it can be due to intrinsic and external factors. Cold temperatures and dry, windy weather conditions are known triggers for red skin conditions as well as hot, spicy foods. 

As our skin ages, it changes – and not always for the best. Aside from the obvious wrinkles and discolouration, there's also a number of skin conditions that can develop. Two very common conditions that sometimes get confused are couperose skin and rosacea.



Is red, dry with sensitivity and can present with broken capillaries. It often feels tight and irritated. A flushed or blushing look is often a symptom.


Rosacea is an irritating, chronic skin condition that affects millions of people. It presents as inflammation, redness and flushing of the cheeks, nose, chin, forehead or eyelids. Skin affected by rosacea can also be couperose, but with rosacea you also get an acne-like papules with an appearance of lumps and bumps.

According to a survey conducted by the National Society of Rosacea the most common triggers for sufferers are the following: (You may want to look at eliminating or minimising.)

  • Sun exposure 81% - Both UVA and UVB rays can trigger a short-term flare up and aggravate the condition.
  • Emotional stress 79%
  • Hot weather 75%
  • Wind 57%
  • Heavy exercise 56% 
  • Alcohol consumption 52%
  • Hot baths 51%
  • Cold weather 46%
  • Certain foods 45% - Known irritants include: Spices found in Asian cooking, sausages, black pepper, vinegar, mustard, garlic, onions, citrus, chocolate, some nuts, papaya, beans, tomatoes and wheat germ. 
  • Additives 45% - MSG (Monosodium glutamate), benzoate, sulphites, nitrites and food dyes.
  • Humidity 44%
  • Indoor heat 41%
  • Fragranced skin-care products and perfumes 41%
  • Heated beverages 36%
  • Certain cosmetics 27%
  • Medications (specifically stimulants) 15%
  • Medical conditions 15%
  • Certain fruits 13%
  • Marinated meats 10%
  • Certain vegetables 9%
  • Dairy products 8%


    A new study from the American Academy of Dermatology has uncovered a link with white wine being a major culprit in relation rosacea. In the study, 82,000 women who guzzled white wine with some regularity were tracked for 14 years. Researchers found that women who drink as little as a couple of glasses of white wine per month had a 14% increased risk of developing rosacea. Only five glasses of white wine a month accelerated the likelihood to 49% per cent. Surprisingly, red wine drinkers didn't suffer from any heightened danger at all. The study did not discover any reason white wine was such a strong trigger for rosacea. I'm placing my bet on the preservatives.


    Another recent discovery in relation to rosacea are a certain type of invisible mite that until recently were thought to be harmless. Demodex mites live and feed on the skin of about 20-80% of adults. They're so small (not in a cute way), that they can't be seen by the naked eye. Ewwwww.... These little buggers are associated with a variety of mycobacteria including Bacillus oleronius and Staphylococcus epidermidis.

    Antibiotics have been used to treat this skin condition but no role for bacteria had previously been established. The results of this new research suggest the possibility that rosacea is a bacterial disease resulting from an overgrowth of demodex mites.*


    1. An elimination diet of any known irritants is a great starting point. Besides, if you're looking to be toxin free and want great skin, you want to be eating mostly real food and nothing in a packet 'cause your guts can't hack it!

    2. Following a consistent skin care routine is essential for couperose skin and rosacea. Use gentle, fragrance-free products containing natural, certified-organic ingredients like calendulachamomile and aloe vera.

    3. That noxious perfume that smells sweet to you, may be triggering your rosacea. And if you're using fragranced skin care products, STOP! There's no regulation against all types of chemical ingredients in products under the title of "fragrance” or "parfum.” The exact ingredients are protected as trade secrets and don't have to be disclosed on the label. What this means is that there could be any one of over 3,000 chemicals like phthalates, parabens, and synthetic musks in your fragranced products and perfumes and any one of them could be triggering your rosacea (not to mention a bunch of other undesirable side effects).

    4. Exercising and heating your core temperature can cause redness and flushing that can last for weeks. Aim for low-intensity or moderate workouts in a well-ventilated room for no longer than 45 minutes. Drink plenty of water during, before and after. 

    5. Some of the best DIY internal remedies for rosacea include flaxseed oil, zinc, probiotics, and vitamin C. 

    6. Always wash your face with lukewarm water. Very hot or cold water can cause blood to rush to the face and cause more redness.

    7. Using the right products can help strengthen capillary walls, soothe the skin and reduce the appearance of redness. Use a good moisturiser helps reduce redness and prevent burning, stinging, itching and irritation.


    *Potential role of Demodex mites and bacteria in the induction of rosacea. Stanis?aw Jarmuda, Niamh O’Reilly. J. Med. Microbiol., November 2012 61: 1504-1510.

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    By Mukti

    Mukti has been actively involved in the beauty and personal care industry for over two decades. Her varied career has encompassed a common thread focusing on health and wellness. Her aim is to reconnect people to nature, creating health and happiness via toxin-free lifestyles and beauty regimes.