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Is rosacea linked to alcohol consumption?

Rosacea has long been associated with alcohol consumption, largely due to societal perceptions of alcoholism. However, is there truly a connection between alcohol and the development of rosacea symptoms? We answer this question in this article.

Published February 22, 2024, updated on March 6, 2024, by Kahina, Scientific Editor — 3 min read

A link between alcohol and rosacea?

A study conducted by Wen-Qing LI aimed to determine whether the link between alcohol consumption and rosacea is indeed real. 82,737 women were included in the study, and information on alcohol consumption and history of diagnosed rosacea was collected. The researchers found that alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of rosacea depending on the dose. More specifically, increased consumption of white wine or liquor was significantly associated with a high risk of rosacea.

Thealcohol can trigger the release of catecholamines induced by bradykinin, leading to a facial vasodilation. The vasodilation and the subsequent increase in temperature are mechanisms responsible for telangiectasias and vasomotor flushes, characteristic symptoms of rosacea. It has also been demonstrated that alcohol consumption increases the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which can heighten the risks of inflammation. Furthermore, alcohol can induce activators of the cell cycle, which could contribute to the hyperproliferation of the epidermis in rosacea.

However, limited research has been conducted on the subject and biases may be present (influence of external factors, small sample sizes, etc.). The association between alcohol and rosacea is therefore unclear and quite controversial. For instance, in a study on patients who sought treatment for rosacea, Andrew JOHNSON and his team did not observe a significant relationship between alcohol consumption and rosacea (p < 0.05).

However, based on our research, we hypothesize that alcohol consumption may trigger flare-ups in individuals suffering from rosacea. However, it is not the direct cause of the disease's onset. Furthermore, this notion generally stems from a myth about excessive alcohol consumption. Indeed, rhinophyma, a form of rosacea characterized by nose deformation, growth, and reddening of the nasal skin, has always been considered, without concrete evidence, as a sign of alcoholism.

Regardless, it is important to know that individuals who never consume alcohol can still develop rosacea, and having rosacea does not mean that the person is an alcoholic.


  • JOHNSON A. M. & al. Comorbidity of rosacea and depression: an analysis of the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Hospital Ambulatory Care Survey—Outpatient Department data collected by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics from 1995 to 2002. British Journal of Dermatology (2005).

  • LI W. Q. & al. Alcohol intake and risk of rosacea in US women. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (2017).


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