Rosacea is a common skin condition in adults over the age of 30. It can look like blushing, a sunburn, or “ruddiness.” This chronic condition typically affects the center of the face — the nose, cheeks, and chin. It can also affect the eyes, ears, neck, and chest.
The main symptoms of rosacea are:
- enlarged blood vessels
Eye symptoms, when they occur, include redness, tearing, grittiness, light sensitivity, and blurred vision. Rosacea can also cause burning, itching, and swelling. In severe cases, it can lead to thickened skin and an enlarged, “bulbous” nose and chin.
The cause of rosacea isn’t known. It’s thought to be a response to ongoing inflammation in the body. Immune system changes and gut bacteria imbalance may also be factors.
There are various treatments available for managing rosacea, but what you eat may also be able to help you reduce flare-ups.
There is no cure for rosacea, but recommended treatments include:
- sun protection
- anti-inflammatory therapies such as the antibiotic doxycycline and topical metronidazole
- diet and lifestyle changes
- other various prescription medications such as azelaic acid and ivermectin
Light and laser treatments may also help.
There may also be a link between gut health and rosacea. A
The evidence is not currently conclusive, but
- omega-3 fatty acids
- zinc sulfate
Foods to balance gut biome
In some cases, rosacea is thought to be triggered by an imbalance in the microorganisms that live in our gut and on our skin.
Examples of probiotic foods include:
Since people with rosacea have such a wide range of triggers, it’s possible that certain foods on this list may actually trigger your rosacea.
Prebiotic foods include fiber-rich food such as:
- whole grains (oats, barley, amaranth, sprouted wheat)
Avoid or limit these spicy or hot foods to help improve rosacea symptoms:
According to clinical research, up to half of adults with rosacea reported that drinking alcohol worsened their symptoms. Even a small amount of alcohol can trigger symptoms such as flushing and redness. This includes wine, hard liquor, and other alcoholic beverages such as:
Hot drinks such as tea, coffee, hot cider, and hot cocoa may also trigger rosacea flare-ups.
A survey of over 400 people by the National Rosacea Society found that spices and spicy food worsened symptoms in up to 75 percent of adults with rosacea. The common culprit is likely the chemical capsaicin, which gives these foods their “heat.”
Capsaicin affects the pain receptors in your skin that feel warmth. This may adversely affect rosacea. To limit capsaicin in your diet, you may choose to try to avoid certain spices and peppers.
- chili pepper
- hot sauce
- tabasco pepper
- citrus fruits
Some medications may trigger rosacea symptoms. This may occur because some drugs affect blood flow to the skin. They include:
- niacin (vitamin B-3)
- sympathomimetics (blood pressure drugs)
- topical steroids
Your dietary choices may help calm rosacea symptoms because certain foods can affect inflammation and dilate blood vessels.
You’ll mostly likely not need to avoid all trigger foods. Some foods may cause flare-ups in some people with rosacea, but not in others. Just as with food allergies and other conditions, it’s important to determine which foods affect your symptoms.
Figuring out which foods to eat and which to avoid may take time and careful observation. Keep a daily food and symptom journal. Log everything you eat and drink, as well as any changes to your rosacea. Remove foods one at a time to see your body’s response to it.
Speak to your doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist about the best diet for you. Ask about good food alternatives to help ensure that you’re eating a balanced daily diet.
It may take time and effort to make dietary changes a normal part of your daily lifestyle. Seek a community or online rosacea support group. Ask about easy recipes, meal ideas, and other tips for living with rosacea.