Rosacea is starts as a mild redness of the skin caused by enlarged blood vessels under the skin. Rosacea sufferers may also develop pimples and have flushed looking cheeks.
If you are prone to rosacea, you are not alone, it effects around 45 million people worldwide. YOu can help to manage the visible appearance of rosacea by eating the right foods, taking the right supplements and eliminating irritants from your diet and your skincare products.
What causes rosacea?
Rosacea is caused by the abnormal functioning of facial blood vessels. Rosacea blood vessels can expand wider than normal blood vessels and they can continue to dilate for much longer periods of time than normal blood vessels.
Can rosacea be cured?
It is thought that rosacea is irreversible once it gets to the chronic stage. However, it can be managed, minimised and controlled if you are committed to doing so. Always speak to your healthcare professional before starting a new diet and it is recommend that you ask them for a referral to a dermatologist.
Things that aggravate rosacea
The following may make your facial flushing worse, so these are things to discuss with your healthcare professional.
- extremes of temperature
- foods containing histamine
- poor diet and lifestyle
- skincare products
- strenuous physical activity
Histamine and rosacea
Histamine triggers facial flushing in rosacea sufferers. Histamine is released within the body when exposed to stress or allergens (leading to the familiar redness and swelling we get from insect bites and stings). Histamine can be found in some of the yummiest foods and drinks, such as wine, cheese, spicy food, beer and chocolate.
Histamine rich and histamine-releasing food and drinks
- anchovies, sardines and tuna
- beer, brandy, port, rum, sherry, wine (drink gin, vodka or whisky instead)
- canned foods
- chocolate, cocoa powder
- cider and cider vinegar
- cola drinks
- eggplant (aubergine)
- fermented food and drink (e.g. yoghurt, soy sauce)
- coloured fish (not white fish)
- jams and preserves
- cooked and processed meats
- sour cream
- some kinds of nuts
- tomatoes in all forms
Quite an extensive list, isn't it? Don't panic though, you may not need to eliminate all these foods to treat your rosacea. You may want to consider trying an elimination diet, where you avoid all the foods on the list for at least a fortnight, then reintroduce them one by one and watch for a reaction - always speak to your healthcare professional about this first.
You will need to eat or drink a lot of whatever the item is you are testing. If you get a reaction, discontinue that food and move ahead to the next one on your list. If there's no reaction, you can reintroduce that food to your diet.
Exercise and supplements for rosacea
Moderate, but not strenuous, regular exercise may help to reduce inflammation in the body, and hence the face. Do gentle exercise that raises your heart rate at least three times a week, daily if possible.
The following supplements may help your body to remove histamines from the blood stream:
- omega 3 (take a high-dose supplement)
- B vitamins
- vitamin C.
Topical skincare suitable for rosacea-prone skin
You can shop for products designed to help support rosacea-prone skin here: