What Foods to Avoid if You Have Rosacea?

rosacea-foods-to-avoidFood is a known rosacea trigger. Keeping track of your diet can help you identify which foods to cut back on (and which to eat more of) to keep symptoms under control.

Spicy Food

Spicy or hot foods may be one of many underlying causes of your rosacea flares. Cayenne pepper, red pepper, black pepper, curry, and other spicy ingredients can cause tiny blood vessels underneath your skin to dilate, resulting in flushing. Cut back on these spices when cooking and substitute other ingredients — oregano, sage, and basil, for example. These ingredients may provide the right amount of flavor, without contributing to skin redness.


Avoiding alcohol might also control rosacea symptoms. According to the National Rosacea Society, there’s a greater risk of flares with red wine, although symptoms can also occur with bourbon, gin, vodka, champagne, and beer. Alcohol causes widening of the blood vessels in the face, increasing blood flow to this region.

Hot Beverages

Some people can’t start their day without a cup of coffee. And on a cold day, hot tea or hot chocolate can quickly warm the body. But if you deal with frequent rosacea flares, eliminating hot beverages (which also increase blood flow to the face and flushing) may improve the appearance of your skin. This doesn’t mean giving up coffee or tea, but iced coffee or iced tea might be a better option.

High-Histamine Foods

Fruits aren’t only full of nutrients and antioxidants; some fruits are also high in histamine. This is an organic compound that triggers an immune system response. Histamine causes vasodilation, or a relaxation of blood vessels, essentially exacerbating or making rosacea flare, explains Dr. Ilyas. When blood vessels in the face dilate, redness follows. Fruits that may trigger this type of reaction include tomatoes, pineapple, strawberries, papaya, and red plums. Keep in mind that fruit isn’t the only type of food that can release histamine. Other triggers include eggplant, spinach, mushrooms, shellfish, legumes, and fermented foods (aged-cheese).


Dairy foods like yogurt, sour cream, and cheese are also a trigger for some people. Removing dairy from your diet may reduce visible redness and other symptoms of rosacea. Easier said than done, of course, but if you can’t eliminate dairy completely, try cutting back. Swap cow’s milk for rice milk, almond milk, or soy milk. Look for dairy-free substitutes for ice cream, yogurt, and cheese.

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