Rosacea and Diet: What is New in 2021?

Tamara Searle, Faisal R Ali, Sarah Carolides, Firas Al-Niaimi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: Rosacea is a common inflammatory cutaneous condition with a complex yet unknown etiopathogenesis. Diet and certain food items are known to trigger or worsen rosacea symptoms, but conflicting and often inconsistent advice is given to patients regarding this link. We provide an up-to-date literature review on the relationship between rosacea and diet.

Methods: Using the keywords "alcohol," "diet," "flushing," "food," "inflammation," "rosacea," "skin-gut axis" and "spice" we systemically searched the databases PubMed, MEDLINE and EMBASE for English-language articles in July 2020.

Results: The most frequently reported triggers implicated in rosacea include alcohol, spicy food, cinnamaldehyde-containing foods (e.g., tomatoes, citrus fruits, chocolate), hot drinks, and histamine-rich foods (e.g., aged cheese, wine, processed meats). Some food items appear to play a protective role, such as omega-3, which appears to protect against ocular rosacea. The relationship between certain food items and the subtype of rosacea is varied, with inconsistent results shown in the few studies that examined this. As an example, alcohol worsens flushing and fatty food triggers both erythematotelangiectatatic and phymatous rosacea in susceptible individuals.

Conclusion: While several food types appear to be associated with exacerbation of rosacea, there are no recommendations that can be applied to all patients. Further studies are needed to examine the exact link between diet and rosacea subtypes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)49-54
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2021. Matrix Medical Communications. All rights reserved.


  • Alcohol
  • diet
  • flushing
  • food
  • inflammation
  • rosacea
  • skin-gut axis
  • spice


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