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


New Research Explains Why Hot Peppers Cause Flare-Ups

Chili peppers are famously spicy, which is a draw for many people but a reason to avoid them if you have rosacea. In an NRS survey on spicy foods, 62% of respondents said hot peppers caused flare-ups. Capsaicin, the chemical that gives such peppers their heat, is the culprit, but it’s unclear why it causes a stronger reaction in people with rosacea. Fortunately, new research out of the Chonnam National University Medical School in South Korea helps shed light on the mechanism by which capsaicin causes a flare-up.1

Different Foods Trigger Rosacea Flare-Ups In Different Ways

The fact that certain foods can trigger a flare-up in some rosacea patients is well known. In reaction to these foods and other environmental factors such as sun exposure or extreme temperatures, the body releases substances that cause a chain reaction affecting skin that leads to flushing, inflammation and, for some, burning and stinging sensations. However, although the outcome may be the same, different foods trigger different processes, according to a presentation at the American Academy of Dermatology’s virtual annual meeting this year.

Study Finds Association Between Fatty Foods, Tea and Rosacea

Editor’s note: It’s important to note that these findings only suggest a potential association. To determine any cause and effect relationship, further study is required.

A recent Chinese study evaluating the potential relationship between rosacea and diet found that frequent consumption of fatty foods and tea may be associated with the development of rosacea symptoms, while frequent dairy consumption appeared to be negatively correlated with the disorder. The findings may be useful in developing dietary guidelines for rosacea sufferers, the researchers said. 

Common Connections Among Rosacea Dietary Triggers

Pinpointing potential rosacea triggers can be challenging and may lead to a hard-to-remember list of seemingly incongruous foods like alcohol, chocolate, citrus and bell peppers. While these foods may seem disparate, there may be a logical explanation for why certain foods cause rosacea to flare, according to Dr. Rajani Katta, clinical assistant professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and the author of Glow: The Dermatologist’s Guide to a Whole Foods Younger Skin Diet.

Tips for Surviving Holiday Cuisine

From Thanksgiving through Super Bowl Sunday, rosacea patients are faced with family gatherings and parties that offer tempting food and drink -- some of which could trigger a flare-up. Here are some tips to minimize holiday distress:

  • Avoid known food triggers. Identify and avoid foods that affect your individual case. Spicy foods, tomatoes and chocolate are some triggers identified in patient surveys.

Q&A: Cooking with Wine & Anti-Inflammatory Medications

Q: Is wine used in cooking, wherein the alcohol has evaporated, still considered a rosacea trigger?

A. It stands to reason that wine may not affect your rosacea if the alcohol is removed in cooking. However, as with all rosacea triggers, what affects one person may not affect another. If wine affects your rosacea, the only way to know for sure whether its residue in cooking is also a trigger is to try it to determine your sensitivity.

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