How to identify Rosacea trigger foods
For those who might not know, this week is Food Allergy Awareness Week! Skincare and diet go hand in hand because the food you consume can have huge and varying effects in your skin. While Rosacea is not directly a food allergy symptom, the diet we eat can certainly affect the level to which we suffer from it. One way to identify what your triggers are, when it comes to your skin, is by trying out an “elimination diet.” Now, it is important to mention that, before trying out any new diet, you should consult a doctor and ensure that you are conducting the diet properly, but also that you’re still meeting your nutritional needs.
So what is an elimination diet? To break it down for you, an elimination diet first involves removing foods that cause uncomfortable and unwanted symptoms from your day-to-day diet and then slowly reintroducing them at a later date, one by one, and testing for any resurgent symptoms as you do so. The diet generally lasts from 5-6 weeks in total and works in two stages. The first is the Elimination Phase, where you cut out those foods that you suspect might be triggering symptomatic responses. During this time, you should, if the foods are doing the damage you suspect, slowly see those unwanted symptom subside. If the symptoms persist after that time, then it would be worth consulting a doctor to explore other avenues. The second phase is the Reintroduction Phase, in which you slowly and systematically reintroduce those previously eliminated foods back into your diet and note the changes in your body. Each food group should be reintroduced one at a time over the course of 2-3 days each. Make sure you keep a diary while trying out these different eliminations so you can keep on top of which foods you’ve tested, how long you’ve tested them for and, most importantly, how you feel as the diet proceeds. Make note of small changes in your skin, your digestion, your energy levels and how you feel generally, as it is so easy to forget the subtle details!
If you suffer from rosacea, you might have noticed some of the different types of foods that make your skin flare up or redden more than others. While there is no guarantee that any one particular food group will affect you, it is highly likely that at least one of the most common triggers will do so. Many people also experience individualised food triggers – foods that specifically affect you, while others may have no problem with them.
The most common food triggers are:
1. Alcohol can lead to increased inflammation and also cause your blood vessels to dilate, leading to more blood flow and flushing.
2. Hot drinks. This is mainly due to the temperature and the steam produced by the drink. Even on a cold, blustery winter or autumn evening, it is worth considering whether the hot drink you’re considering could be sipped cold or even at room temperature. Furthermore, coffee can be extra triggering, as caffeine can dilate blood vessels in a similar way to alcohol.
3. Spicy food. The capsicum in chilli activates the pain receptors in your skin, which, in turn, increases blood flow to those areas, reddening your skin.
4. A high intake of sugar can trigger high insulin release which can activate inflammatory hormones that are often involved with provoking skin disorders.
5. Dairy products. While there is no specific scientific evidence that links dairy and Rosacea, countless people have seen improvements in their skin by avoiding it altogether.
6. Nightshade (vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, aubergine etc.). Again, there is no concrete evidence linking nightshades to Rosacea, but many people experience sensitivities to the foods in this group and report that avoiding them has helped improve their skin.
Beyond Rosacea, some common symptoms of food sensitivity can include sinus problems, drowsiness and migraine, so this is definitely worth exploring for your wider health as well as the health of your skin! While it is worth mentioning that diet is but one area of your life that can affect your skin, it is certainly worth experimenting to find out if there are any definite foods you should be avoiding.
With all this said, it is important to remember that Rosacea is a medical condition and food may only be one aspect of things that affect your skin – the weather, temperature, and stress, especially, can also exacerbate the symptoms of Rosacea, and it’s worth paying attention to what the dermatological community is saying about how to treat these elements of how we’re affected by the condition.
Today, we’ve focused on what to avoid while combatting the symptoms of Rosacea but, later this month, we’ll be looking at the fun part – which foods you should definitely include to keep redness at bay! We’ll also be looking at the link between Rosacea and the gut, to dive a little deeper into just how different foods affect our bodies, so keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks!