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

Survey Says Pack the Picnic Basket Without the Spicy Foods

If your rosacea is affected by certain spicy foods, they may have no place in your picnic basket this summer. It's not just the popular south-of-the-border cuisines that can lead to the red rash of rosacea in many individuals, but many other ingredients as well, according to a new survey of more than 500 rosacea patients by the National Rosacea Society.

Of those affected by spicy foods, 62 percent listed hot peppers as the top spicy food trigger for rosacea, followed by 52 percent for Mexican-style foods, 48 percent for chili and 46 percent for salsa. Hot sausage may not find its way to the grill for the 45 percent of the survey respondents affected by those links, and 43 percent said Cajun-style foods had triggered or aggravated their rosacea signs and symptoms.

Spicy ingredients that often lead to rosacea flare-ups include some obvious ones like hot sauce, affecting 66 percent of the survey respondents, and chili powder for 49 percent. However, in the "pepper" family of spices, red pepper was overwhelmingly more prone to cause a reaction, reported by 53 percent of the respondents. In contrast, more common "table" black pepper was listed by only 22 percent, while paprika had affected 15 percent and white pepper 14 percent.

Horseradish causes a rosacea outbreak for 32 percent of those affected by spicy foods, followed by barbecue sauce at 28 percent and tomato sauce at 25 percent. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) was listed by 24 percent as a contributor to flare-ups, just ahead of curry, listed by 23 percent. Vinegar affects 19 percent of the respondents, while marinated meat affects 18 percent. Mustard affects 13 percent, onions 13 percent and garlic 11 percent.

Over 90 percent of those surveyed said they were able or somewhat able to modify their eating habits to avoid their trigger foods and ingredients, and 87 percent said this had helped reduce their rosacea flare-ups.

To aid rosacea patients in identifying and avoiding their individual tripwires, the National Rosacea Society provides a diary checklist and booklet, "Coping with Rosacea." These are available at no charge by writing the Society or calling 888-NO-BLUSH, and can also be found on the Web site by clicking here.