Rosacea is a common skin condition in which there is inflammation of the skin. Both nutrition and skincare can play a role in reducing the appearance of rosacea.
This blog covers 5 things you can improve in your diet to help reduce rosacea and prevent flare ups.
Rosacea comes from the Latin word ‘rosaceus’ meaning rose-coloured and presents as a blush effect on the cheeks and nose. The redness of the skin can come and go, but over time it can become permanent, especially if left untreated.
Some people may find it surprising to learn that rosacea is a recognized medical condition and whilst nutrition and skincare can make a huge difference, it can also be genetic, and so it’s best to focus on managing the symptoms to reduce its appearance and keep it under control.
Typically, more women than men suffer from rosacea and it’s also thought that those with a fair skin type or of Celtic origin are also more likely to be affected by the condition.
Here are 5 things you can alter in your diet to help reduce the severity of rosacea and the two essential skincare steps you need to soothe flare-ups.
As rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition, characterized by redness, it’s no wonder we look for anti-inflammatory foods to help reduce inflammation. There is no one diet for rosacea and it’s likely that it is caused by a multitude of factors ranging from diet, genes, and other inflammatory markers.
The Mediterranean diet has been recognized as one of the healthiest diets in the world. It consists of mostly vegetables, beans and whole grains daily, nuts and seeds, a small amount of meat, some fish, and extra virgin olive oil daily (not an extensive list). This diet is anti-inflammatory because these foods contain lots of vitamins and minerals, are high in fibre, and when in this balance, help to strengthen the immune system.
One of the biggest triggers for Rosacea is unfortunately alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates our skin as it’s a diuretic, and it also causes flushing in the skin. Although it is not a cause, alcohol can contribute to inflammation of the skin and surrounding tissue, irritating the condition. If alcohol is a trigger for your rosacea, it’s worth thinking about cutting it down and being aware that it’s not helping it.
These are the friendly gut bacteria that have an enormous effect on our overall health, that reach out to our skin. For some people, temporarily supplementing with a probiotic such as
Symprove or Optibac, can help reduce inflammation internally that then has a knock-on effect on external inflammation such as rosacea.
The irony is in people who love curry’s and spicy foods but it can make rosacea appear more visibly. However, eating spicy foods is not a cause of Rosacea. One of the properties in spices that provides heat simply increases blood flow around the body and can make the face feel warm and lead to flushing hence it appears to make Rosacea more pronounced.
Supplementing with omega 3’s can be very beneficial in calming the inflammation in the skin. Omega’s are essential fats that we need in our diet to help maintain healthy cells, and also keep skin strong, firm, and hydrated. If you do not eat fish or you don’t meet the recommended two portions of oily fish per week (as directed by the HSE) then supplement with a quality omega-3 at around 1000mg per day.
Other trigger foods which have been linked to rosacea include coffee and other hot drinks, red peppers, tomatoes, and citrus fruits. Being your own detective and keeping a diary or note of flare-ups will be one of the best ways to find your triggers in order to limit them.
Skincare for rosacea can help soothe the redness of the skin, increase hydration and maintain the skin’s natural barrier but the route cause will always have to be addressed alongside to prevent flare-ups.
The simpler the better. Adding more acids and treatment to your skin may actually exacerbate the already inflamed skin and cause more redness so keep it simple and opt for a gentle cleanser that restores the skin and doesn’t upset the natural pH balance.
Tip: don’t use hot water on the skin to wash your face or have showers or baths at a high temperature as even the humidity can cause the skin to become dehydrated and more red.
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It’s important to moisturize morning and evening to maintain skin elasticity. Many people with rosacea will naturally also have dry skin or may be on prescription medication for rosacea that can cause dryness in the skin. It is best to use a cream rather than a lotion and opt for a moisturizer that hydrates.
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Also, remember to protect your skin by wearing a minimum spf30 every single day as sun exposure can aggravate the condition further. There are also a variety of prescription creams and gels available and this should be discussed with your doctor.
Ultimately, the best treatment for rosacea is to manage and avoid triggers as much as possible. Whilst some people may experience prominent symptoms of rosacea, others may only notice some sensitivity and severity of these differs across everyone. Keep a simple and gentle skincare routine, avoid layering products and irritating the skin, and aim for a mostly Mediterranean-style diet.
Disclaimer: if any redness or flushing, or you find your quality of life is limited by the psychological effects of rosacea, you should discuss your condition with your GP who will be best to advise.