Rosacea in Toddlers

Rosacea is a skin condition that is quite common. However, rosacea in toddlers is quite a handful. The condition appears as reddish acne-like breakouts on the face. This condition may worsen if left untreated, and it is likely to affect the eyes.

If effective treatment is not administered as soon as possible, your toddler is likely to be getting pinkeye and styes. Their eyes might continue to turn swollen and red. This condition is most likely to be one of the most underreported conditions in children. This is because it is clinically similar to other erythematous facial disorder.

This condition is known to be more visible in light-skinned children; thus, it is believed to affect only light-skinned children. However, it has been recorded to affect persons of other shades of colours and ages.

Causes of rosacea in toddlers

The causes of rosacea are yet unknown, though certain factors are considered to play a role in the development of this condition.

Genetics or heredity

The genetic make-up of an individual is responsible and contribute to many things in an individual’s life. This is simply a collection of traits passed down from parents to offspring.

A research conducted showed that about twenty per cent of children with rosacea were discovered to have at least one history of rosacea in their immediate family.

However, this research is believed to have underestimated the figures because only one of each parent were clinically examined.

The ones that were reported to have been diagnosed with rosacea were recorded neglecting the possibility of the other parent to have rosacea. This makes it difficult to narrow it down to what it is.

Other predisposing factors include:

  • Emotions: Certain emotions and feelings such as anger, anxiety, and embarrassment can cause your face to flush.
  • Environmental conditions: The humidity, wind, cold, or heat from any source are ecological conditions which can cause facial flushing.
  • Vasodilators: This includes alcohol or vasodilatory medications which can prompt one’s face to flush. However, this is not often the cause of rosacea in children.
  • Spicy foods: This includes chilli, curry, and peppers. Hot meals and beverages such as hot coffee, chocolate milk and tea, may contribute to rosacea development.
  • Irritants: Irritants such as alcohol-based cleansers, astringents, perfume, shaving lotion, certain soaps, sunscreen, and facecloths may aggravate rosacea in toddlers.
  • Allergic or inflammatory reaction: Substances such as saprophytic mites may either block hair follicles or act as vectors for microorganisms, either way, it may cause an inflammatory or allergic reaction. Some experts believe that this is likely to be the cause of rosacea. Some believe it could only trigger rosacea.
  • Immunodeficiency: Patients with HIV are likely to develop this condition because the virus is believed to contribute to the development of the condition.

Symptoms of rosacea in toddlers

Like every other condition, rosacea has signs that are visible enough that they rarely go unnoticed. However, some parents may sweep these signs under the carpet because they may feel that it is not much of a worry.

If your child or teen often experience the following signs, then, he or she is likely to be suffering from rosacea.

  • Irritated red eye
  • Styes or pinkeye
  • Swollen red eyelids that may become itchy. They may look crusty or greasy
  • Long-lasting flushing on the face

At the manifestation of these signs, if this condition is left untreated, rosacea can worsen. The long-lasting facial flushing can worsen, and the middle of the face becoming permanently red.

Some children can also experience acne-like breakouts. Red, swollen, and itchy eyelids can be another sign of ocular rosacea in toddlers.


To detect and diagnose rosacea early, professional assistance is needed. Experts such as a board-certified dermatologist can diagnose patients of various skin problems, including rosacea.

The dermatologist would first examine the toddler’s eyes and face to be able to take down signs of rosacea. If the child is found to have the signs of rosacea, then the dermatologist will cancel out other possible conditions that are common to children.

The other possible conditions may include acne, allergic skin reactions, and skin infections. A medical test is required to confirm if the condition is rosacea.

A dermatologist is likely to ask a question that may include the following:

  • Does your child have any close blood relatives with rosacea?
  • Has your child had any other health conditions of recent?
  • Has your child had any medicines, including the ones applies to the skin?

If the answers to one or more of the above questions are yes, then your child is likely to be suffering from rosacea.

Stages of rosacea

The stages of rosacea in toddlers include the following:

First stage: This stage consists of the face becoming bright red. This is known as blushing, and it occurs as a response to a particular stimulus. Erythema episodes may become recurrent and persistent than the usual physiologic flushing. This typically reduces with minutes.

Over time, Telangiectasis becomes notable. Rosacea in toddlers will have them complaining or crying about burning sensation or irritation. This is the early stage of rosacea with early and mild signs.

Second stage: This is the intermediate stage of rosacea in toddlers. Rashes may be noticed all over your toddler’s face. However, in adults, these rashes may be seen on the scalp, upper chest, and back. This is very unlikely in children.

Third stage: This is the late stage of rosacea. This stage involves signs such as rough, dry skin, inflammatory boils, or disgusting enlargement of the features of the face.

Note: Certain chronic changes do not happen in toddlers the same way they affect adults. This is because the condition takes a lot of time to evolve. If at the third stage, your toddler is not receiving proper medical attention and treatment, the condition is likely to worsen into pediatric ocular rosacea.


If left untreated can worsen and can lead to ocular rosacea in toddlers. This can result in persistent and recurrent pinkeye and styes. The eyelids will continue to swell, turn red and then clear after some time. The eyes can also get oversensitive to light or may feel gritty like they have sand in them.

It may get worse, and an open sore may develop on one of the eyes. This is a severe health condition because it can lead to partial or complete loss of sight. Getting proper treatment administered as soon as possible is very necessary.

Ocular rosacea responds well enough to early treatment. After diagnosis, you will have to talk to your dermatologist about the necessary treatment plan to take on because rosacea in toddlers can progress if left untreated.

The treatment plan involves:

  • Identifying what triggers it and avoiding them. If a particular medication triggers it, then you should discontinue the use of the medication. This is specific to every individual because what triggers rosacea in your child may not trigger rosacea in another.
  • Your dermatologist may recommend getting sunscreen for your child before they go outside in the sun. This protects the skin from UV rays from the sun, which can cause irritation to the skin. You are advised to apply it on parts of the skin that clothes won’t be covering.
  • Avoid the use of make-up. Certain ingredients in some products can irritate the sensitive skin of your child. Always check the ingredients of any hair and skincare products you want to use in your child. If your child has or has had rosacea, then stay away from products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, menthol, or camphor.
  • Your dermatologist may prescribe medication for both external and internal use. Metronidazole is a common medicine prescribed for the treatment of mild and moderate rosacea. There are other medicines that you can give your child to swallow to control and treat rosacea. While severe cases of rosacea in toddlers, antibiotics are commonly prescribed. This may be prescribed for the treatment of ocular rosacea too.

Follow-up treatment may be necessary for the child to ensure that the treatment administered prior was effective. If not, the drugs are administered longer, or another kind of medication is adopted.

Fortunately, treating rosacea can take from only a few weeks to some months.