The Ultimate Rosacea Diet Guide

rosacea diet

Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition. It usually targets the central part of your face. Symptoms, however, can vary for individuals. For example, some people can experience facial redness. Others may have red acne-like bumps all over their face. Visibly larger blood vessels and skin thickening around the nose are two other symptoms of this condition.

Rosacea has no known cure – but you can definitely control it with a rosacea treatment diet. This means eating foods to reduce rosacea. With that said, there are also some foods that further aggravate the condition, so you should avoid them.

Keep reading for your comprehensive rosacea diet guide, including the right diet for rosacea and a skin quiz to determine if your skin is prone to the condition.

What is Rosacea?

This is a chronic inflammatory skin disease. It causes redness on your face – particularly on the central part/around the nose. The exact cause of rosacea isn’t known, but a 2019 study suggests that environmental factors and genetics come together to trigger its onset.

Once you’re diagnosed with this condition, your doctor will most likely recommend a treatment to help control your symptoms. But rosacea is best managed when you avoid certain triggers. The major trigger for this condition is anything that rushes blood to your face. For example, intense exercise, sun exposure, stress, etc. And, for our topic today, certain foods that trigger blood flow to the face.

How Can Diet Affect Rosacea?

Free radicals in your body can damage your cells. And this damage creates inflammation, which can worsen your rosacea. Certain foods can help fight free radicals – thus improving your skin condition.

Simultaneously, your gut is full of good and bad bacteria. But with rosacea, this balance can be disturbed. And you may end up with more bad guys than good guys. By eating the right food, you can support the good bacteria in your gut. This might benefit your rosacea and help control those flare-ups.

Skin Quiz – Determine if You Have Rosacea Prone Skin

Having trouble figuring out if you have rosacea? This quick quiz can help you determine if you have rosacea-prone skin. 

*Note that this quiz is for informational purposes only. It shouldn't replace a professional diagnosis from a dermatologist.

Skin Quiz

Do you blush easily? 

People with rosacea often experience blushing/flushing (particularly around the face).

Do you have persistent redness, bumps, or visible blood vessels on your face?

Rosacea usually causes redness and may make your blood vessels visible. This is mainly on the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead. Pimple-like bumps may also appear.

Do certain foods/drinks make your skin flush?

Certain foods/drinks can trigger rosacea—and this can worsen your symptoms. See the next section for foods that trigger rosacea in most people.

Do you experience burning/stinging sensations on your face?

You may experience burning sensations on your face when you have a flare-up.

Do your eyes feel irritated or watery?

Sometimes, rosacea can cause dryness and irritation in the eyes. Some people report a bloodshot appearance in the eyes, too.

Interpreting the Results…

If you answered ‘yes’ to several of these questions – especially the first three – chances are, you have rosacea – prone skin. It’s always a good idea to talk to your dermatologist for a proper diagnosis.

What Foods to Eat

If you’ve been diagnosed with this skin condition, here is a rosacea diet guide to follow. This will help control your symptoms. By sticking to the right diet for rosacea, you can also prevent future flare-ups. 

rosacea diet foods

Antioxidants and Anti-inflammatories

Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition. So, reducing inflammation in your body can help control its symptoms. Including foods rich in antioxidants is one way to achieve the purpose. This is because antioxidants balance out the effect of oxidants (a source of inflammation).

Antioxidant foods:

  • Colorful fruits and veggies.

Think rainbow on your plate. Berries (blueberries, strawberries), leafy greens (spinach, kale), bell peppers (red, yellow, orange),sweet potatoes, and the like.

  • Nuts and seeds.

Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds have plenty of antioxidants and healthy fats.

  • Food containing omega-3 fatty acids.

Vegan sources include chia seeds, brussels sprouts, perilla oil, and algal oil. 

Ginger and green tea also have anti-inflammatory properties, so they can beat the inflammation in your body. Plus, they’re great for weight loss diets.

Pre and Probiotics

There’s a deep link between the gut microbiome (the community of bacteria in your gut) and rosacea. According to the gut-skin axis, there’s two-way communication between your gut and skin health. So, your gut health can actually be reflected on your skin. And if your gut health isn’t at its best, your rosacea may flare up.

Pre- and postbiotics promote the health of your gut microbiome. This regulates the link between the gut and rosacea—and ensures the situation stays under control.

Prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber. These nourish the good bacteria already present in your gut. They act as food for the good bacteria, eventually leading to a healthy gut microbiome. And this has a positive ripple effect throughout your body – including reducing inflammation.

To get your prebiotics, go big on foods with fiber. Whole grains (oats, barley, brown rice), fruits, vegetables, and fortified cereals are all excellent options.

Probiotics are essentially ‘live good bacteria’ that get introduced into your gut. A 2023 study on the gut-skin axis and rosacea suggests that influencing gut bacteria with probiotics can be beneficial for your skin. 

To get your probiotics, focus on fermented foods. For example, yogurt, kombucha, tempeh, etc. You can also consider supplements with clearly labeled strains of bacteria.

What Foods to Avoid

People with rosacea should avoid particular foods that trigger flare-ups. Many people notice that taking the following can worsen their rosacea symptoms –

Alcohol

Alcohol is a vasodilator (it dilates blood vessels). This increases the blood flowing to your face and makes it appear red – characteristic of rosacea – prone skin. Alcohol also causes inflammation and disturbs the gut microbiome. Both of these are underlying causes of rosacea.

The effect you experience depends on the dose you take. That is, the more alcohol you consume, the more your symptoms will aggravate. So, if you’re looking to control rosacea, limit your alcohol intake.

Hot Food and Beverages

Like alcohol, hot food and beverages can cause vasodilation – and the subsequent redness. So, if you have rosacea, try to avoid foods at high temperatures.

Spicy Foods

Spices get their heat from a compound called ‘capsaicin’. This is found in spicy as well as non – spicy pepper varieties. For example, red chillis, bell peppers, and paprika. Capsaicin triggers rosacea symptoms by producing heat in the body and through vasodilation. So, you want to avoid peppers to control symptoms.

Some Fruits and Vegetables

Some compounds found in certain fruits and vegetables can trigger rosacea flare-ups. Particularly, these include cinnamaldehyde, formaldehyde, histamine, and niacin. Keep reading to learn why to avoid these compounds and which fruits/foods they’re abundant in.

Cinnamaldehyde

This activates a signaling pathway associated with rosacea. It triggers the release of inflammatory chemicals – which aggravate your symptoms. Foods high in this compound are apples, carrots, tomatoes, citrus fruits, etc.

Histamine

Histamine is involved in many rosacea mechanisms. For example, inflammation and facial flushing. So, be sure to keep its sources out of your rosacea diet. These are particularly avocados, pineapples, bananas, papayas, etc.

Formaldehyde

If you experience a burning sensation with rosacea, formaldehyde can be to blame. There isn’t much research to back this, but some patients have self – reported that this compound can cause a flare-up. So, you may want to monitor your formaldehyde intake and see how it affects the condition. Examples of foods with this compound are apples, plums, cauliflower, and onions.

Niacin

This is basically vitamin B3. Niacin causes flushing as a side effect and may also cause stinging sensations. To limit your niacin intake, avoid mushrooms and potatoes.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon has lots of cinnamaldehyde, which is a big no in rosacea diets. Remember, many cereals and baked goodies have cinnamon; avoiding them is a good idea.

Chocolate

Chocolate is high in cinnamaldehyde as well as histamine. Both of these can aggravate your rosacea symptoms—so you may have to monitor your chocolate intake, too.

rosacea diet for women

FAQs 

What foods reduce rosacea?

Colorful fruits and vegetables as well as nuts reduce rosacea. These foods include antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Also, consider foods high in pre – and probiotics. For example, whole grains and yogurt.

Is drinking milk good for rosacea?

Some people experience outbreaks particularly after consuming dairy products – so drinking milk may not be a good idea. You can try plant – based options instead. For example, almond milk and soy milk.

Conclusion

It’s true that some foods can worsen rosacea – but remember, it’s not the same for everyone! Pay attention to how your skin reacts after eating certain foods. This will help you identify your triggers, and you can tailor your rosacea diet accordingly. There’s really no one-size-fits-all for your rosacea treatment diet, so listen to your body.

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