What is rosacea?

Foods that are good for rosacea include fish high in omega-3, certain nuts and seeds, peanut butter, eggs, and olive oil.
Foods that are good for rosacea include fish high in omega-3, certain nuts and seeds, peanut butter, eggs, and olive oil.

Rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness of the skin similar to blushing, is common in many adults. While there is no one specific rosacea diet, some food may help combat rosacea. Similarly, avoiding triggering foods can also help decrease inflammation associated with rosacea.

Ultimately, finding foods that are good for rosacea requires some trial and error. However, there are common inflammatory foods to avoid and anti-inflammatory foods to try.

Symptoms of rosacea

Rosacea is a common, chronic inflammatory skin disease that often occurs on the face. Symptoms of rosacea include:

  • Flushing or the appearance of blushing
  • Redness
  • Pimples
  • Dilated blood vessels
  • Swelling of the nose

Rosacea can affect anyone of any age, but it most commonly occurs in fair-skinned women who are middle-aged and have blonde hair and blue eyes. While it is less prevalent in men, the symptoms tend to be more severe for men who develop rosacea.

Causes of rosacea

Researchers have not yet pinpointed the cause of rosacea. However, some possible contributors include:

  • Genetics
  • Immune function
  • Mites on the skin, like demodex
  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria
  • Issues with cathelicidin, a protein on the skin

While the exact cause of rosacea remains unknown, it is known to be an inflammatory condition. Inflammation associated with rosacea can be triggered by many factors, including:

Food is both a common trigger and remedy for rosacea. Understanding what triggers your rosacea is an important part of managing symptoms.

Foods that help rosacea

Healthy fats

Research suggests that diet can have a significant impact on a variety of dermatological conditions, including rosacea.

Studies show that healthy fats like omega-3 may help manage some forms of rosacea. Some dermatology professionals have utilized flaxseed oil to help manage symptoms with promising results.

Some foods high in healthy fats are:

  • Fish high in omega-3, like salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, and lake trout
  • Certain nuts and seeds, including walnuts, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds
  • Peanut butter
  • Eggs
  • Olive oil

Probiotic and prebiotic-rich foods

Studies show a link between inflammation and diseases of the gut and rosacea. Many people experience rosacea together with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other gastrointestinal conditions. This connection suggests both a link between inflammation of the gut and the skin and that the digestive system may be an effective avenue for treatment of rosacea.

Research suggests that probiotics and prebiotics may be effective for managing rosacea, especially in chronic patients. Probiotics may help soothe inflammation and minimize rosacea symptoms and flare-ups. Probiotic foods to try include:

  • Certain cheeses
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso
  • Kombucha
  • Kimchi

Prebiotic foods include fibrous foods such as:

  • Whole grains
  • Bananas
  • Onions and leeks
  • Asparagus
  • Garlic

While these foods may help manage rosacea, there are a wide range of triggers for inflammation. Keep in mind that it is possible that foods that soothe your symptoms may trigger someone else’s and vice versa.

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Foods that trigger rosacea

The impact of dietary habits on rosacea is well-documented. There are many foods that trigger inflammation related to rosacea. Some common triggers include:

  • Liver
  • Yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Certain cheeses
  • Chocolate and vanilla
  • Soy sauce
  • Yeast extract
  • Vinegar
  • Eggplant
  • Avocados
  • Spinach
  • Lima beans
  • Some citrus fruits
  • Spicy foods
  • Foods hot in temperature
  • Foods high in histamine

Once you determine your triggers through daily food tracking, you should avoid triggers moving forward.

Risks and outlook for rosacea

Ultimately, there are many foods that fight inflammation, but triggers for rosacea vary widely from person to person. While there are common triggers and anti-inflammatory foods, the right diet for you may depend on the type of rosacea you are experiencing and other genetic factors.

As such, determining which diet is right for your rosacea may require trial and error. Always consult with your physician before changing your diet.

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Medically Reviewed on 2/2/2021
References
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Choose Healthy Fats."

American Academy of Dermatology Association: "Rosacea: Overview."

American Academy of Dermatology Association: "Rosacea: Who gets and causes."

American Academy of Dermatology Association: "Triggers could be causing your rosacea flare-ups."

British Journal of Dermatology: "Rosacea and gastrointestinal disorders: a population-based cohort study."

Dermatology Practical & Conceptual: "Diet and rosacea: the role of dietary change in the management of rosacea."

Dermatology Reports: "Rosacea: a Clinical Review."

Foods: "Prebiotics: Definition, Types, Sources, Mechanisms, and Clinical Applications."

Frontiers in Microbiology: "Fermented Foods as a Dietary Source of Live Organisms."

Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology: "Diet and Dermatology: The Role of Dietary Intervention in Skin Disease."

Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology: "Literature Review."

National Rosacea Association: "Factors That May Trigger Rosacea Flare-Ups."

Skin Therapy Letter: "Skin and Diet: An Update on the Role of Dietary Change as a Treatment Strategy for Skin Disease."