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Gluten & Rosacea

author image Linda Tarr Kent
Linda Tarr Kent is a reporter and editor with more than 20 years experience at Gannett Company Inc., The McClatchy Company, Sound Publishing Inc., Mach Publishing, MomFit The Movement and other companies. Her area of expertise is health and fitness. She is a Bosu fitness and stand-up paddle surfing instructor. Kent holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Washington State University.

If you suffer from rosacea, you are not alone -- an estimated 16 million Americans experience this skin condition. Since there is no known cure, the goal in treating rosacea is identifying triggers for flare-ups. Triggers vary from person to person. A gluten intolerance or celiac disease may produce symptoms in some people. Always consult a doctor when developing a treatment plan for a health condition such as rosacea.

Rosacea Symptoms

Signs of rosacea include redness on your nose, cheeks, forehead or chin, and a tendency to flush easily. You also may have small and visible spider-like blood vessels on your face, watery or irritated eyes, a burning sensation on your face and bumps or pimples on your face, some of which may ooze or crust. Rosacea also may lead to a red, bulbous nose. While not considered medically dangerous, it can lead to permanent changes in your appearance, such as enlarged nose tissue. This, in turn, may lead to lowered self-esteem that affects daily life.

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Gluten Intolerance Symptoms

If you have a gluten sensitivity or the autoimmune condition called celiac disease, you may suffer extraintestinal symptoms, which means they appear outside of your gut. Rosacea, acne and other skin conditions like eczema are just a few of many possible extraintestinal symptoms. Others include fatigue, joint pain, headaches, depression and abnormal menstrual cycles, according to Sue Baic, lead author for "Living Gluten-Free for Dummies."


Both gluten intolerance and celiac disease as root problems for skin conditions are gaining attention in the scientific community. It would behoove dermatologists to familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms of gluten intolerance because it is a potentially treatable cause of numerous skin conditions, note the authors of a 2006 study published in the "European Journal of Dermatology." Furthermore, skin diseases are among the more common extraintestinal symptoms associated with celiac disease, according to the authors of a 2009 study published in "Expert Review of Clinical Immunology." Both celiac disease and gluten intolerance are treated by avoiding gluten, the protein in wheat.


Avoiding gluten may not be the solution for your rosacea, because triggers vary from person to person. Keeping a symptom diary that includes information on symptoms and the foods you eat, your amount of sun exposure, your stress level and other possible influences is the best way to identify your triggers. Common triggers include exertion, hot or cold weather, sun exposure, wind, certain skin care products, spicy foods, alcohol and hot beverages.

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