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The Link Between Your Diet and Rosacea Flare-ups

The Link Between Your Diet and Rosacea Flare-ups

Rosacea is a skin disorder characterized by flushing, red or ruddy complexion, and breakouts of lesions that resemble acne. Although the exact cause of rosacea is unknown, the condition does have well-identified risk factors, such as:

Even though 16 million Americans have rosacea, many don’t realize it. They mistake rosacea’s bumps and pustules for acne. They may just shrug off thickened skin, visible veins, and a red nose or cheeks as a family trait.

At The Center for Dermatology Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, New York, board-certified dermatologist David Bank, MD, and our team of dermatology specialists reduce rosacea lesions and flares with the Vbeam Perfecta® pulsed dye laser (PDL). 

However, you can reduce outbreaks and your need for Vbeam treatments by paying attention to your rosacea triggers, including what you eat.

Hot foods 

Rosacea is a disease that affects the vasculature of your face. Your veins and capillaries dilate, causing flushing, redness, and other signs of rosacea. You also may have visible, broken veins, such as spider veins, especially around your eyes and nose.

Anything that makes you flush or raises your body temperature can dilate your facial veins and raise your risk for a rosacea outbreak. Just as working out or sitting in a sauna can leave you with a red face, so can any activity or food that raises your body temperature.

The National Rosacea Society surveyed both patients with rosacea and their dermatologists to find out what food triggers were most strongly associated with a rosacea flare. Foods and beverages that made both lists included:

Allow your soups, teas, and coffees to cool down a bit before you sip them. Avoid alcohol and spices altogether, to see if your skin improves.


Histamines are chemicals that your body produces along with an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO). DAO helps you break down the histamines in foods you eat. 

If you eat too many high-histamine foods, though, your DAO may not be able to process them, which causes inflammation. Inflammation produces heat that can irritate your face.

If you have rosacea, try to minimize foods high in histamines, including:

You might also cut back on foods that trigger your body to release histamine, including:

Alcohol — a triple threat — not only is high in histamines and heat, but also triggers the release of histamines in your body.

Concentrate on freshness … and coolness

While you don’t have to eat your food cold, do aim for cooking fresh foods but avoid piping hot dinners and soups. So, what foods can you indulge in freely?

First, eat fresh meats, vegetables, and fruits as much as possible. If you cook in batches to prepare your meals for the week, freeze the extra portions instead of refrigerating them; cooked foods stored in the refrigerator actually develop more histamines the longer they sit there.

Find healthy diets, such as certain Asian diets (but avoid soy sauce — it’s fermented!) and the Mediterranean diet, to help you dream up menus you can enjoy every day. Build your meals around healthy, fresh, low-histamine foods such as:

Drink water and herbal teas. Cut down on coffee and black tea.

Design your diet

Although the list of foods we provide here is a good starting point, keeping your own “trigger diary” helps you identify the foods and other factors that lead to rosacea flare-ups. 

Based on your individual responses to various fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats, you can design a flexible, flavorful diet that keeps you nourished and your skin clear.

And, if you do develop a rosacea flare or want to improve your complexion, don’t hesitate to contact us for a Vbeam session or other rosacea treatments. Book your personalized skin care consultation today by phone or online

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