Updated: Apr 6, 2020
The most comprehensive approach to managing rosacea symptoms includes a combination of the proper medications and lifestyle changes. One important lifestyle factor is diet. Encourage your rosacea patients to pay close attention to the foods that they eat and don’t eat to help reduce flare-ups. Here are a few helpful tips to share with your patients.
1. Adopt an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Since inflammation is the root cause of rosacea, eating anti-inflammatory foods can help to calm symptoms and reduce the number of flare-ups a patient has. Most anti-inflammatory foods have a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids and are low in sugar. Excess sugar consumption can cause inflammation, while omega-3s are known to have strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Provide your patients with a list of anti-inflammatory foods to add to their diet:
2. Avoid Known Food Triggers
According to a survey conducted by the National Rosacea Foundation, alcohol was a trigger for 52% of surveyed rosacea patients, spicy foods were triggers for 45%, and heated beverages for 36%. While food triggers can vary from person to person, there are some general guidelines you can share with your patients to help them figure out which known triggers might spark a flare-up for them.
Common foods to avoid to help rosacea include:
Hot foods and drinks, including hot coffee and tea
Sugary foods and drinks
3. Dietary Changes Won’t Take Effect Overnight
Changes to your diet will take some time to have noticeable effects on the skin, so encourage patients to give new dietary changes at least one month to determine if they work or not. This is particularly important when trying to eliminate possible trigger foods from the diet. Eliminate one at a time for a minimum of a month to determine if symptom flare-ups seem to be better without that particular food.
4. Indulge In Moderation
Alcohol is one of the most common food-related triggers for rosacea patients, but it is not always realistic to completely eliminate it. If patients are going to drink, encourage them to do so in moderation and to be sure they’ve used any prescribed medications.
A 2017 study published in JAAD found that white wine and liquor consumption are linked with a higher risk of rosacea than other types of alcoholic drinks. One potential reason for this may be that these are the only two alcoholic drinks that do not contain anti-inflammatory flavonoids.
5. Pair Lifestyle Changes with Proper Treatment Options
While lifestyle changes can help to reduce the number and severity of flare-ups a patient has, there are also many new treatment options available to help better manage the condition. Prescription Rhofade™ (oxymetazoline) is one such treatment. If a patient knows they will be drinking alcohol or enjoying a spicy dish, for example, explain that this once-daily topical cream can help to keep flare-ups at bay.
With the right treatment plan and appropriate lifestyle adjustments, rosacea can be more easily managed. Discuss these dietary tips with your patients to help them better understand how what they eat (or don’t eat) might be affecting their skin.
Do you have additional tips that you share with your rosacea patients? Feel free to share them with me (Dr. Leslie Baumann) via LinkedIn!
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