Diet can’t cure rosacea, but the right foods can minimize symptoms. Find out what to eat and avoid for this skin condition.

Despite its pretty, floral-sounding name, rosacea is no walk in the park. Dealing with the facial redness, flushing, and lil’ bitty bumps of rosacea can make you feel self-conscious — not to mention uncomfortable.

Fortunately, some folks find that dietary changes make a meaningful difference to rosacea symptoms. If you live with this skin condition, here’s how what you put in your mouth might affect your face.

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Different people may experience different rosacea triggers, but in general, spicy foods, dairy, and foods that contain a compound called cinnamaldehyde are some common culprits. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about the possibility of limiting or removing the following:

  • Spicy foods: This may include hot peppers, curries, and hot sauces.
  • Dairy products: Milk, cheese, yogurt, and sour cream might cause rosacea flare-ups in some people (but some research shows these foods are beneficial for rosacea due to their anti-inflammatory properties).
  • Cinnamaldehyde-containing foods: This long-named flavonoid is found in cinnamon, chocolate, tomatoes, and citrus fruits. Some studies suggest that this flavonoid can trigger rosacea.

Foods containing histamine

The list of potential rosacea-aggravating foods continues with high-histamine foods. The reason these can contribute to flares? Histamines cause the blood vessels to dilate, allowing greater blood flow. In people with rosacea, this can cause extra redness and flushing.

Some high-histamine foods include:

  • strawberries
  • tomatoes
  • pineapple
  • papaya
  • aged cheese
  • wine
  • processed meats

While you’re taking a look at your diet for rosacea, don’t forget to consider drinks as well as foods. A few that might trigger a flare include:

  • Alcoholic beverages: In another NRS survey of rosacea patients, 52 percent reported that alcohol exacerbated their symptoms.
  • Hot drinks: The heat from warm beverages like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate can activate inflammatory receptors in the skin, worsening the appearance of rosacea.

Good news: We’re not here to tell you what you can’t eat for rosacea. We’ve also added the skinny on helpful foods to your diet.

Healthy fats

What do salmon, flaxseeds, and walnuts have in common? They’re all excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids — AKA healthy fats that may help decrease rosacea symptoms. These fats quell inflammation, potentially calming flares on the face.

In a 2016 study, for example, people with dry eyes due to rosacea received omega-3 supplements for six months. After this period, they reported reduced eye dryness.

Probiotics and prebiotics

Science is still teasing apart the link between the gut microbiome and the skin, but it’s possible that healthy belly bacteria could have a positive effect on rosacea.

Beneficial bacteria found in probiotic supplements and fermented foods (like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and miso) could reduce the inflammatory process behind rosacea. Be sure to talk to your doctor or dermatologist before starting a probiotic — some strains may be more effective than others.

While focusing on the gut health route to healthier skin, don’t forget that you can always feed your happy gut bugs by eating foods rich in prebiotic fiber. These include garlic, onions, bananas, artichokes, asparagus, and chicory root.

Iced coffee

Hold up… coffee might be good for rosacea? Yassss! Though it may sound counterintuitive, given that hot drinks aggravate flushing and redness, research has linked coffee consumption to reduced rosacea symptoms.

In a study that lasted over 14 years and followed over 82,000 people, those who drank more caffeinated coffee had lower rosacea risk.


To be clear, nothing you eat or drink will cause or curerosacea — it’ll only make it better or worse. To track your triggers, try keeping a food-and-symptoms diary. Once you’ve identified which foods and drinks increase your symptoms (or — hooray! — give you relief), you can make a rosacea diet plan that works for you.