What Is Rosacea, And What You Can Do About It

Photo credit: Dhyamis Kleber

Photo credit: Dhyamis Kleber

Rosacea is a common chronic inflammatory disease that affects the skin on the face and causes it to look blushed, “ruddy”, or even sunburned.

 Symptoms include:

  • Redness

  • Flushing

  • Flaking and dryness

  • Bumps and pimples

  • Enlarged blood vessels


Rosacea can affect the eyes too and cause:

  • Tearing

  • Light sensitivity

  • Redness

  • Blurred vision

While the cause of rosacea is unknown, it may be due to:


Changes in diet may play a role in addressing rosacea, where some foods and beverages can make it worse, including:


  • Hot beverages

    • Coffee

    • Hot tea

  • Alcohol

    • Wine

    • Beer

    • Champagne

    • Hard liquor

  • Capsaicin (spices and peppers) and other spicy foods

    • Hot sauce

    • Cayenne pepper

    • Red pepper

    • Jalapeno

    • Chili pepper

    • Paprika

    • Mustard

    • Horseradish

    • Ginger

    • Cumin

  • Cinnamaldehyde

    • Tomatoes

    • Chocolate

    • Citrus

    • Cinnamon

  • Histamine

    • Avocado

    • Aged cheese

    • Cured meats

    • Dried fruit

    • Eggplant

    • Fermented foods

    • Nuts (cashews, peanuts, walnuts)

    • Smoked fish

    • Mackerel

    • Sour cream

    • Vinegar

    • Spinach

  • Inflammatory foods

    • Refined sugars and sugary foods

    • White flour

    • Processed vegetable oils

    • Fried foods

    • Processed meats

    • Food additives and preservatives

    • Artificial sweeteners

    • Carbonated drinks and sugary juices


Heath begins in the gut. It’s where 80% of your immune system is located, and people with rosacea tend to have a higher prevalence of gastrointestinal conditions including:

  • Celiac disease

  • Crohn’s disease

  • Ulcerative colitis

  • H. pylori infection

  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)

  • Candida overgrowth

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)


Impaired gut health and gastrointestinal conditions can cause systemic inflammation, and impair your immune system (remember, 80% of your immune system is located in your gut).


Supporting a healthy gut microbiome and resolving GI issues can result in improvements in rosacea. General strategies to promote a healthy gut microbiome include:

  • Explore your gut health (get tested)

    • Address microbiome imbalances and infections

    • Resolve impaired digestion

  • Diet

Other nutrients that may be beneficial for rosacea include:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory)

    • Salmon and fish, and fish oils

    • Seaweed and sea vegetables (marine sources)

    • Eggs

    • Walnuts (if not histamine sensitive)

    • Flaxseed

    • Supplements

  • Zinc (important for the immune system, acts as an antioxidant and is anti-inflammatory):

    • Beef

    • Lamb

    • Turkey

    • Pumpkin seeds

    • Lentils

    • Garbanzo beans

    • Quinoa

Something to keep in mind is that there is significant variation between us in the make up of our microbiomes (and in general, this is why there is no one-size-fits-all approach). Your microbiome is as unique as your fingerprint, and variations can be due to genetics, diet, environmental exposures, personal hygiene, geography, and more.

Stress can make rosacea worse, therefore stress management is an important piece of the puzzle for symptom improvement as well.

Working with a professional that can guide you and take into account your unique needs is an important part of the process to address your rosacea. A holistic approach is necessary.


Your skin is your largest organ. It protects your body, makes vitamin D, is important for detoxification, and much more.

Your gut microbiome is your second largest organ, and gut dysfunction can cause skin problems.

Food can play a role in skin (and gut) health too.

Learn what foods and what natural chemicals found in healthy foods can trigger skin problems and rashes like eczema, rosacea, acne, dermatitis, and psoriasis among others, why this happens, and what you can do about it in the Skin Rash Food Triggers e-Book.