Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects the face. Treatment for rosacea focuses on preventing or minimizing flare-ups. This includes avoiding your rosacea triggers, which may include certain foods and drinks.
At Associated Skin Care Specialists, our board-certified dermatologists have a lot of experience helping people with rosacea manage their skin condition. Because rosacea affects everyone differently, we take an individualized approach.
Though researchers are still investigating the connection between food and rosacea, some foods stand out as more problematic for people with the condition.
Rosacea starts as flushing or blushing on the cheeks and nose that comes and goes. Over time, the redness may linger and you may notice thin red lines on the nose and cheeks (blood vessels). When left untreated, rosacea may progress, causing acne-like bumps and thickening of the skin on the nose.
The exact cause of rosacea is still under investigation. However, rosacea tends to run in families, so it may develop from an inherited gene. Researchers theorize that the immune system may also be involved.
Researchers have found a strong association between certain foods and rosacea outbreaks. However, not all people with rosacea react to the same foods.
Five food types that commonly trigger rosacea include:
Spicy foods may not cause a rosacea outbreak but may exacerbate the redness. Capsaicin is a chemical found in chili peppers, hot sauces, and paprika that stimulates the sensory receptors in the skin that feel warmth, causing your face to redden.
Limiting spicy foods that contain capsaicin may help prevent additional flushing and blushing.
Histamine is an immune system chemical that triggers allergic reactions. Certain types of foods, including aged cheese, processed meat, and red wine, have high levels of histamine.
People with rosacea may have a sensitivity to the histamine in these foods, causing vasodilation (expanding of the blood vessels), swelling, and inflammation in the face.
Cinnamaldehyde is a flavonoid found in foods like cinnamon, citrus fruits, and chocolate. Like histamine, it’s theorized that this chemical may cause vasodilation and inflammation in the face in people with rosacea, leading to extra flushing, blushing, and redness.
Hot beverages like tea, coffee, and hot chocolate also cause vasodilation and may exacerbate your skin’s ruddiness.
There’s a strong association between alcohol intake and rosacea. Even small amounts of alcohol can trigger flushing in the face.
Though these five food categories are strongly associated with rosacea breakouts, they’re not the only foods you need to watch out for. Liver, eggplant, avocados, and soy sauce have also been cited as potential food triggers for rosacea.
Association doesn’t mean cause. While researchers have found a connection between certain foods and rosacea, that doesn’t mean these foods cause the skin condition or make it worse. More research is necessary to better understand how food affects rosacea.
Before eliminating any of these foods from your diet, we recommend keeping a symptom diary. Foods aren’t the only rosacea triggers. Too much sun, a change in the weather, and exercise are also rosacea triggers.
We can help you identify all the food and environmental factors that trigger your rosacea so you can avoid them and minimize outbreaks.
Schedule an appointment with one of our medical dermatologists today by calling the office nearest you. We provide personalized and comprehensive dermatology care at our offices in Blaine, Maple Grove, Coon Rapids, Eden Prairie, New Brighton, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. We also offer telemedicine appointments.
e also ave an office in Fridley, Minnesota, where we do dermatology research and lab work.