Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder. Its symptoms vary in people: from redness, flushing (blushing) to visible large blood vessels, red acne-like bumps, and thicker skin around the nose.

Although it’s a common condition that affects the middle part of the face, food is known to trigger flare ups. Therefore, tracking your diet can help you identify which foods to cut back on and which to eat in order to reduce symptoms. Once you’ve been diagnosed with this condition, your doctor can recommend treatment to minimize your symptoms. However, you will still need to manage your problem by avoiding certain triggers. Rosacea can flare up by exposure to heat, cold air, excessive exercise, sun exposure, and stress. Basically, anything that increases blood flow to the surface of the skin is problematic. Even foods can exacerbate rosacea.  

Spicy foods like hot peppers - including cayenne, red, or black peppers - can add extra kick to your meals, but at the same time they can enable the tiny blood vessels to dilate, thereby resulting in inflammation. Curry and hot paprika may also cause the same reaction. Instead, you can substitute oregano, sage, or basil, which can provide flavor without adding to the redness. 

According to the National Rosacea Society, red wine increases flareups as well; however, symptoms may also occur with other forms of alcoholic beverages because they widen the blood vessels in the face, thereby increasing blood flow to the area. 

Many people love to start off the day with hot beverages such as coffee or tea. If you want to prevent frequent flareups, you will need to eliminate hot beverages, which increase flushing. 

Fresh fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants; however, they may also be high in histamines, which cause vasodilation, or relaxation of the blood vessels. This will exacerbate the situation, because when blood vessels in the face dilate, redness occurs. Fruits that trigger a reaction include tomatoes, pineapple, strawberries, papaya, and red plums. Vegetables like eggplant, spinach, and mushrooms may also be included in this list.

Dairy foods are a great source of vitamin D and calcium, which are imperative for bone health. However, they may also cause some people to react, because dairy is high in inflammatories. You can easily switch from cow’s milk to rice, almond, or soy milk, or other dairy-free substitutes.  

Eliminating chocolate may be a nightmare to all the chocoholics out there. This

worsens rosacea in some, since it contains cinnamaldehyde, a compound that gives cinnamon its flavor. It can cause dilation of the blood vessels, which leads the skin to flush. 

It’s best to keep a food diary, tracking what you put into your mouth, as well as your worst days of rosacea bouts. By reviewing your daily eating habits, you will be able to figure out what affects your condition. 

Just like certain food can aggravate rosacea, others can help your body respond to inflammation. Foods like onions, raw garlic, bananas, asparagus, and whole grains can help. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids also lower inflammation proteins in the body, thus improving rosacea. Eating wild salmon, tuna, mackerel, walnuts, and chia and flaxseeds, which contain these good omegas, are certainly beneficial.

As they say, you are what you eat. Therefore, keeping a food journal to identify what triggers you. Avoiding those foods will help you look better and keep your condition at bay.

Risselle Naimark is a Professional Freelance Makeup Artist and Skincare Consultant. She carries an extensive line of personalized skincare, cosmetics, and anti-aging products. Risselle is also available for weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, makeup lessons, and all of your beauty needs. She can be reached at 718 263-5517.