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

Tips: Keep the Flavor Without the Flare-Up

When rosacea patients think of triggers from foods or spices, they likely think of hot peppers as common rosacea irritants. However, there are other possibilities. A 2008 medical journal report, for example, noted the anecdotal case of a patient with subtype 2 rosacea who experienced a sudden spread of her symptoms after using 500-mg cinnamon supplements to help control blood sugar levels.

While it’s unlikely that you’d ingest such a large amount of cinnamon from a recipe, various spices may cause rosacea flare-ups in those who are sensitive to them. Here are some tips to avoid a food flare-up:

  • Track what food and drinks you consume in a Rosacea Diary and note when you experience a flare-up, paying careful attention when you eat or drink something with unfamiliar ingredients, including spices.

  • When dining at a restaurant or a friend’s house, don’t be afraid to ask what’s in unfamiliar dishes. If they contain an ingredient you know causes you to flare up, see if it can be left out, or order something else.

  • Lattes often come topped with a blend of ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Tell your barista to hold the spices if they affect your rosacea.

  • With hot foods and beverages, it’s not just the spice but the heat itself that can be a rosacea trigger. Be sure to let that hot apple cider or freshly baked pumpkin pie cool off before you enjoy.

  • If cinnamon bothers you, you can replace it with nutmeg — the two can be substituted in recipes and should be replaced in a 1 to ¼ ratio. So if a recipe calls for 1 tsp of cinnamon, add ¼ tsp of nutmeg in its place, or just skip it altogether.

Campbell TM, Neems R, Moore J. Severe exacerbation of rosacea induced by cinnamon supplements. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2008;7:586-587.