If you have rosacea, you know that in a matter of moments, your cheeks can go from a subtle flush to a bright pink that begs for attention. While rosacea is hard to fully kick, there are triggers that people with the condition can try to avoid. A study from The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology analyzed medical databases to identify the most frequently reported food triggers of rosacea. Several types appear to be associated with the exacerbation of the condition. However, there needs to be further studies on the links. We know it’s heartbreaking to give up all the things listed, from coffee to cheese, but you don’t necessarily have to. Even among people with rosacea, reactions can differ. Track how you react to these foods and consider limiting those that really launch you into a flare-up.
Alcohol can lead to a flush on anyone’s cheeks, but this can be exasperated in those with rosacea. Easton Dermatology Associates explains that alcohol causes dilation of the blood vessels making redness more likely. They note that while any alcohol can cause a flare-up, red wine and hard liquor are the main aggressors.
As much as I love indulging in spicy food, I know it will make my complexion ruddy almost immediately. In a National Rosacea Society (NRS) survey of rosacea sufferers, 45 percent of participants reported that spicy food is a trigger for them.
Food with cinnamaldehyde
Cinnamaldehyde is a compound involved in activating a signaling pathway associated with rosacea, a Kirsch Dermatology article explains. Foods that contain cinnamaldehyde include tomatoes, citrus fruits, chocolate, apples and a handful of vegetables like carrots, lettuce, celery, spinach and cucumbers.
Due to vasodilation, any kind of heat can trigger a rosacea flare-up, whether it’s getting in a hot tub or having a bowl of soup. Try to wait for your coffee to cool down a bit before taking your first sip if you want to ward off a flare-up first thing in the morning.
Antihistamines are often used to curb allergies, so it tracks that histamine-rich foods can cause an issue. Histamine is involved in inflammation, immune regulation and facial flushing, so it’s not surprising people report it triggering a rosacea flare-up. Be conscious of aged cheese, wine, processed meats, avocado, banana, pineapple and eggplant.
The Japanese Dermatological Society found that a high dairy intake showed a negative correlation with rosacea severity. Perhaps it’s time to switch to oat milk.
Foods containing formaldehyde
According to the NRS, formaldehyde occurs naturally in small amounts in many fruits and vegetables, including oranges, pears and bananas, as well as in fish, meat and poultry, milk, sugar and coffee. Additionally, the chemical is often used as a preservative to extend shelf life.