Certain foods, like fresh fruit and whole grains, can help reduce rosacea flare-ups. Other foods, like alcohol and spicy foods, can trigger flare-ups.

Rosacea is a long-term inflammatory condition that causes a reddened or discolored rash typically found on the cheeks or nose. However, it may also affect the chin, neck, and eyes.

This article discusses foods that may reduce rosacea flare-ups and foods that can trigger rosacea flare-ups.

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The cause of rosacea is unknown. However, it is thought to be a response to ongoing inflammation in the body, which may involve gut microbiome imbalances. There is no cure for rosacea, but a combination of certain medications and lifestyle changes may help manage it.

One lifestyle change that may help manage rosacea is eating certain foods, specifically ones that help balance the gut microbiome, and avoiding foods that may harm it.

The following foods can help support the gut microbiome:

  • a variety of fresh fruits
  • a variety of fresh vegetables
  • beans
  • whole grains:
    • wheat
    • oats
    • barley
  • fermented foods:
    • kefir
    • yogurt with live cultures
    • pickled vegetables
    • tempeh
    • kombucha tea
    • kimchi
    • miso
    • sauerkraut

The following foods may harm the gut microbiome:

  • artificial sweeteners
  • processed foods containing dietary emulsifiers or additives

Learn more about rosacea flare-ups.

Everyone reacts differently to specific foods and beverages. What may trigger rosacea in one person may not affect others at all. People may want to keep a journal of symptoms they experience after eating common trigger foods to find which ones affect them.

There are, however, certain common foods and beverages known to trigger rosacea. These foods and beverages include:

  • alcohol, including wine and liquor
  • hot beverages, particularly caffeinated coffee
  • spicy foods
  • cinnamaldehyde foods, such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, and chocolate
  • high histamine foods, such as aged cheese and processed meats
  • dairy


A 2017 study showed that increased consumption of alcohol was found to be directly related to an increased risk of rosacea in women.

The study found that white wine and liquor were especially associated with a higher risk of rosacea in the study participants. It also found that red wine can cause flushing of the skin, which can trigger a rosacea flare-up.

Other beverages

Other beverages that may trigger a rosacea flare-up include:

  • Hot drinks: Hot coffee, hot tea, hot cider, and hot cocoa may also contribute to rosacea flare-ups.
  • Caffeine: Studies show that consuming caffeinated coffee may increase a person’s risk of rosacea. However, other beverages containing caffeine, like tea and soda, were not found to have this correlation.

Spicy foods

In a 2018 survey of 516 people with rosacea, most of the respondents noted that they avoid hot or spicy foods to reduce the occurrence of flare-ups.

Capsaicin, which is thought to be the culprit in spicy foods, causes the widening of blood vessels (vasodilation) and flushing. This can indirectly exacerbate rosacea.

Capsaicin is commonly found in:

  • chili pepper
  • jalapeños
  • hot sauce
  • tabasco pepper

Cinnamaldehyde foods

Cinnamaldehyde is what gives cinnamon its distinct flavor. It can also cause vasodilation and a warming sensation in the skin. It is found in a variety of foods besides cinnamon, including:

  • tomatoes
  • citrus fruits
  • chocolate

High histamine foods

During an allergic reaction, mast cells release histamine, which leads to swelling and increased blood flow in tissues. Alcohol consumption can also cause flushing from histamine release as a result of acetone and acetaldehyde metabolism.

High histamine foods include:

  • aged cheese
  • wine
  • processed meat
  • tomatoes
  • citrus fruits
  • legumes
  • chocolate
  • nuts


According to a 2019 study, diets with a high dairy content may worsen rosacea. However, the study also stated it is possible that dairy’s possible anti-inflammatory aspects may be beneficial to those with rosacea.

More research on the effects of dairy on rosacea is needed.


Although there is minimal data on how chocolate directly affects rosacea, chocolate does contain caffeine, cinnamaldehyde, dairy, and high amounts of sugar, which may lead to generalized inflammation in the body.

Chocolate was also reported as a trigger in surveys performed by the National Rosacea Society in 2005. These surveys are commonly referenced in available research.

First-line traditional rosacea treatments include preventive measures, such as:

  • sun protection
  • gentle skin care
  • identification and avoidance of known triggers, including diet and stress

Second-line traditional rosacea treatments include medications and treatments, such as:

  • topical brimonidine
  • azelaic acid
  • oral doxycycline (or another oral tetracycline)
  • topical metronidazole
  • topical oxymetazoline
  • ivermectin
  • sulfacetamide-sulfur
  • oral isotretinoin (for severe cases that did not respond to other treatments)
  • laser and intense pulsed light therapies

The following are some questions people frequently ask about rosacea and diet.

What clears rosacea fast?

Although there is no cure for rosacea, there are many effective treatments available to manage symptoms. These treatments usually require a prescription from a healthcare professional and involve reapplication or repeated treatments. Rosacea is a lifelong condition that requires ongoing management.

What is a holistic diet for rosacea?

A Mediterranean diet can help manage inflammatory conditions such as rosacea. This includes the following foods:

  • healthy fats high in omega-3s (wild salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds)
  • plant-based foods
  • a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains

Individuals should consult a dietitian about the most effective eating plan for their circumstances.

There is no cure for rosacea. However, eating, limiting, and avoiding certain foods may help manage the symptoms and decrease flare-ups.

Some people with rosacea may need additional treatments, like topical creams, that are available by prescription from their healthcare professional. Using sun protection, managing stress, and following a skin care routine are other ways to help manage rosacea symptoms.