Foods to Avoid with Rosacea

Rosacea is a skin condition that can look like flushing, causing red cheeks, nose or chin.
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If you're red in the face, even when you're not working out or feeling embarrassed, you could have rosacea. An estimated 16 million Americans suffer from the skin disorder, which most commonly appears in individuals over 30 and has symptoms of red nose, cheeks and chin -- with or without pimples -- pronounced blood vessels in the face, and red, irritated, bloodshot eyes, according to the National Rosacea Society, Although no cure exists for rosacea, you can control its symptoms with anti-inflammatory prescriptive medication and by avoiding the triggers in certain foods.


Dried or Fermented Foods

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Bowl of kimchee
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Dried or fermented foods are high in histamine and are common rosacea triggers. Dried fruit, such as dried apricots, dates, prunes, figs or raisins can cause a reaction. You should avoid pickled or smoked meats, soy sauce, sauerkraut, kimchee, and aged or fermented cheeses such as blue cheese. You should also avoid Roquefort and Parmesan cheese.


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Foods Containing Vinegar

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Foods that have vinegar in them also are high in histamine, and can cause rosacea flare-ups. Ketchup, mayonnaise, pickles, pickled beets, chili sauce, olives and relishes all contain vinegar and may worsen rosacea symptoms.


Spicy Food

Cinnamon sticks and powder
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When it comes to rosacea, spicy food is a common culprit. You should avoid any food that contains trigger spices, such as white, black or red pepper, cayenne, curry powder or paprika. Spices that can you can use as substitutes include cumin, oregano, cinnamon, marjoram, sage, coriander, basil or thyme. You don't need to sacrifice flavor to avoid rosacea, but you just need to avoid hot spices, which cause flushing.


Hot Food

Cup of coffee
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Hot temperature food may aggravate rosacea. That doesn't mean you need to switch to a diet of ice cream or cold soup; however, instituting a few changes such as waiting for your food to cool down a bit instead of eating it piping hot from the oven, or limiting the cups of hot coffee that you drink, may make the difference between clear skin and bright red pustules.



Avoid Alcohol

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Drinking alcohol often worsens rosacea. Try to limit your intake of alcohol to lessen the severity or frequency of your rosacea flare-ups -- or avoid alcohol altogether. Alcohol, especially beer and wine, are very high in histamine, which causes rosacea symptoms.


Fruits and Vegetables

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A few vegetables are high in histamine, and you should avoid them if they cause a reaction. These include avocados, eggplant, mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes. The National Rosacea Foundation also recommends avoiding citrus fruits, bananas and red plums.


Dairy Dangers

Stacked chocolate squares
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Chocolate and vanilla have also been found to provoke rosacea. Yogurt and sour cream are also common trip wires. If you find any of these foods causing an outbreak, it is best to eliminate them from your diet to avoid a reaction.




Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.

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