Rosacea - Triggers and Diet

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Have you noticed any triggers for your rosacea? Which foods do you avoid, and which foods help your skin?

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What should be avoided? What foods are good for rosacea?

While not all rosacea people are exactly the same, there are some common rosacea triggers. Avoiding these potential triggers may also help relieve symptoms and disease flares. It may be helpful to keep a personal diary of foods and other triggers that flare rosacea symptoms.

Smoking, spicy foods, hot drinks, and alcohol may cause flushing and should be avoided. Exposure to sunlight and to extreme hot and cold temperatures should be limited as much as possible. Red wine and chocolate are two well known rosacea triggers. Some listed foods may have no effect on your rosacea but severely affect someone else. Individual reaction patterns vary greatly in rosacea. Therefore, a food diary may help to elucidate your special triggers.

Possible rosacea dietary triggers include

  • dairy including yogurt, sour cream, cheese (except cottage cheese),
  • alcohol including red wine, beer, vodka, gin, bourbon, and champagne,
  • chocolate,
  • soy sauce,
  • yeast extract,
  • eggplants, avocados, spinach,
  • some beans and pods, including lima, navy or peas,
  • citrus fruits, including tomatoes, bananas, red plums, raisins, or figs,
  • spicy and temperature hot foods.

Potent cortisone or steroid medications on the face should be avoided because they can promote widening of the tiny blood vessels of the face (telangiectasis). Some patients experience severe rosacea flares after prolonged use of topical steroids.

Vasodilator pills can also flare rosacea. Vasodilators include certain blood pressure medications like nitrates, calcium channel blockers, and thiazide diuretics.

These potential triggers are found in many skin cleansers and should be avoided in rosacea.

  • Alcohol
  • Witch hazel
  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Clove oil
  • Fragrance
  • Menthol
  • Salicylic acid

Foods that decrease rosacea flares include less spicy meals, nonalcoholic cool beverages, caffeine-free drinks, nondairy cheese, and thermally cooler meals.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Laura, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 18

I have been struggling with acne rosacea for 30 years. I recently figured out (after being told for years that there wasn't really a dietary connection) that dairy causes it for me. I gave up anything having to do with cow's milk, including butter, cheese, sour cream and buttermilk, the results of which have been nothing short of dramatic. I am amazed. My face has cleared. I regret that I did not make this connection earlier because it would have saved me a lot of heart ache.

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Comment from: barbara, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 01

I have found that dairy products, in particular cheese cause the itchy red spots to appear. Also, if eating citrus fruit, particularly oranges, and the juice splashes into my face, it causes burning, followed by extreme dryness to the skin and the appearance of tiny red pimples and yellow head spots. Avoiding these food groups helps to clear the rosacea up.

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