Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes blushing or flushing and visible blood vessels in the face. The condition worsens with time if left untreated. It may also produce small, pus filled bumps. These signs and symptoms may flare up for weeks to months and then go away for a while. Rosacea can be mistaken for acne, other skin problems or natural ruddiness. This skin condition is common among the North American and Northern European populations. It has a tendency to affect fair skinned people more often than those with darker complexions. However, studies have revealed that its incidence in many parts of Asia, including the Middle-East, South Asia, and China is growing, especially in regions that have undergone socio-economic development in recent years. This has triggered speculation that lifestyle may be a risk factor, and not just skin colour. Others say incidence has grown in those areas because healthcare and diagnosis have improved.
In 2005 the National Rosacea Society carried out a survey of 400 rosacea sufferers and found that 78% altered their diet to avoid flare ups.
Foods and drinks that were commonly flagged to 'trigger' rosacea exacerbations included
The fact that food triggers flare-ups points to a connection between the gut and the skin. In fact some researchers suggest that probiotics may have a role to play in treating rosacea.
In a 2018 study, Nam JH et al observed that the gut bacteria in rosacea sufferers had a different composition when compared to controls. This evidence suggests that including prebiotic foods in the diet to encourage healthy bacterial ecology is a worthwhile move for rocasea sufferers. Prebiotic foods include high fibre fruits and vegetables, as well as probiotic supplements, to help support internal balance.