What Foods Affect Rosacea?

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Rosacea is an inflammatory condition that causes facial redness and red bumps filled with pus. Other symptoms include visible blood vessels on cheeks and the nose, redness of the nose and frequent flushing of the face. It is a chronic condition that worsens if left untreated. In addition to medical treatment, there are several dietary modifications that can affect the condition by increasing or decreasing the amount of blood flow to the skin's surface.

Foods to Avoid

  • Some foods cause blood vessels to dilate, which exacerbates flushing and redness on the skin. These include spicy foods, such as hot sauce, black pepper and hot peppers; acidic foods such as vinegar, citrus fruits, citrus juice and tomatoes; and many fruits and vegetables including red plums, bananas, figs, lima beans, navy beans, spinach, eggplant, peas and avocados. According to the International Rosacea Foundation, several flushing foods also include yogurt, soy sauce, liver, vanilla and yeast extract.

    Additionally, people with rosacea should avoid stimulants such as caffeine (found in sodas, tea, coffee and chocolate), large amounts of sugar (found in candy, cookies, cakes and soda), cigarettes and foods sweetened with aspartame. These items stimulate the entire body, including the sebaceous glands, which then secrete additional oil and clog pores, exacerbating the facial bumps.

Food Temperature

  • The temperature of food can contribute to flushed skin even in people who do not have rosacea. Rosacea sufferers should avoid foods and beverages that are hot to help prevent vascular dilation. The International Rosacea Foundation recommends allowing foods and drinks to cool to body temperature or lower.

Ice Water

  • The International Rosacea Foundation recommends drinking at least 10 to 12 glasses of ice water per day. Drinking increased quantities of ice-cold water can minimize vascular dilation responsible for the flushing of the skin. Water is also cooling to the skin and assists the body in excreting oil and waste materials.

    Similarly, rosacea sufferers should minimize alcohol consumption. Alcohol acts as a diuretic, releasing water from cells, increasing the production of urine and leading to dehydration. Dehydration affects pores, making them more susceptible to clogging. Additionally, alcohol consumption can affect sleep and increase stress and weariness; this, in turn, can increase the severity and frequency of rosacea symptoms.

Keep a List of Trigger Foods

  • Every patient may experience different triggers. High levels of carbohydrates may adversely affect one person while not triggering symptoms at all in someone else. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you write a list of foods and drinks that cause the condition to worsen so you can actively minimize your exposure to them.


  • Photo Credit water image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com

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