Rosacea Review - Newsletter of the National Rosacea SocietyRosacea Review - Newsletter of the National Rosacea Society

From Chocolate to Wine and Tomatoes, Food Survey Pinpoints Rosacea Triggers

Such diverse items as chocolate, tomatoes and citrus fruits ranked surprisingly high along with such well-known rosacea tripwires as hot spices, alcohol and heated beverages in the first comprehensive survey to detail specific foods that frequently aggravate the symptoms of this disorder.

In the survey of 3,151 rosacea sufferers affected by foods and beverages, conducted by the National Rosacea Society, more than 48 percent of the respondents said wine irritated their condition -- often citing red wine. Hard liquor was a rosacea trigger for 37 percent, and beer was cited by 26 percent. Thermally hot beverages such as coffee or tea were also high on the list, affecting 35 percent and 30 percent of the respondents, respectively.

Hot spices were also frequently reported as rosacea culprits. Survey respondents implicated such specific spices as cayenne pepper (36 percent of those surveyed), red pepper (34 percent), black pepper (18 percent), white pepper (9 percent) and paprika (9 percent) as rosacea triggers. Chocolate was named as a rosacea tripwire by 33 percent of the respondents and vinegar was cited by 15 percent.

For 71 percent of the respondents, dairy products were not a factor with their rosacea. Cheese was listed as a trigger factor by 14 percent, yogurt by 8 percent, sour cream by 7 percent and milk by 6 percent.

In other categories, citrus led the fruit group by an overwhelming margin, affecting 27 percent of the respondents. Tomatoes (technically a fruit) were the most-cited vegetable at 31 percent, while less than 5 percent were affected by such vegetables as eggplant, spinach and avocados. Liver was the only meat mentioned with much frequency at 5 percent, but 14 percent of the survey participants said they were affected by meat prepared with a marinade.

Despite the fact that some very common foods and beverages appear on the list, 82 percent of the respondents reported they are successful or somewhat successful at avoiding the dietary tripwires that affect their individual conditions. More than 78 percent said eliminating these trigger factors had helped reduce their rosacea flare-ups.

A diary checklist is available to help rosacea sufferers identify and avoid their individual rosacea tripwires. A booklet with tips on lifestyle management, called "Coping with Rosacea," was also recently produced. Copies of these materials may be obtained free of charge by writing the National Rosacea Society or by sending your name and address by e-mail to