RosaceaPatient friendly summary

  • Sunlight increases the symptoms of rosacea.
  • Vitamin D may increase the symptoms of rosacea. It cannot be used to prevent or treat rosacea.

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition. The main characteristics are inflammation and facial redness.

Typically, this is a harmless cosmetic condition. But sometimes it affects the eyes.

Treatment, if wanted, usually involves topical medications to reduce inflammation.

Rosacea is common and affects more than 10 million Americans.

Risk factors

Risk factors of rosacea include:

  • Genetics
  • Smoking
  • Years of sunlight exposure
  • Iron overload in the blood
  • Altered immune response

Too much iron in the blood may lead to oxidative stress. Then the body may no longer be able to repair cell damage. Recent studies indicate that an altered immune response may also trigger the disease.

Sunlight exposure and rosacea risk  

Years of sunlight exposure is one risk factor of rosacea.

Vitamin D and rosacea

Vitamin D levels

There are no reported studies of vitamin D affects on rosacea. Ultraviolet-B (UVB) light is the primary source of vitamin D for most people. However, UV light enhances rosacea symptoms. Most likely, people with rosaea have lower vitamin D blood levels.

How vitamin D works

Vitamin D strengthens the body’s immune system by producing cathelicidin and defensins. These proteins have antibacterial and antiviral effects. Unfortunately, cathelicidin also increases the symptoms of rosacea. People with rosacea need vitamin D. But they must be cautious about sun exposure or vitamin D supplements.


There is no evidence that vitamin D prevents rosacea. In fact, higher vitamin D levels may increase symptoms of rosacea.


Vitamin D cannot be used to treat rosacea.

Find out more...

We will be adding a detailed evidence summary on this topic in the near future.  Please check back soon to find out more.

Page last edited: 17 May 2011