What is rosacea: lifestyle and diet tips for coping with rosacea

I posted a brief introduction to rosacea HERE, including my diagnosis story and a list of common triggers. But I wanted to write about my lifestyle and diet tips for coping with rosacea.

As I have had rosacea for 10 years, I have learned my triggers very well and have now made certain changes to my lifestyle and diet that have made a huge difference. I truly believe that there is a causal link between intestinal health and rosacea flare ups, and therefore it’s one of the main ways in which I control my rosacea. Depending on your triggers, I would really recommend trying these if you feel you can. But do them one at a time to determine how much of an effect they have (and to save your sanity!):

What is rosacea: lifestyle and diet tips for coping with rosacea

Please note that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. These are all my tips for coping with rosacea, things that have worked for me, but only you can know your skin and what your triggers are. If you don’t want to do any of the below, you don’t have to. I’m not here to preach, I just wanted to give you some insight on what has worked for me.

My lifestyle and diet tips for coping with rosacea

SKINCARE

It goes without saying that if you have a skin condition, your skin care is of the utmost importance. But I’m going to do a whole separate blog on this as I could talk for days!

CAFFEINE

I have tried to give up caffeine (apart from special occasions – I know, I’m *so* rock n roll). This was tricky as I depended, psychologically, on my morning coffee to perk me up and prepare me for the day. The difference to my skin is definitely noticeable which makes it easier. I replaced coffee with green tea (which does still have some caffeine in but not enough to trigger my flare ups), hot water with lemon, or plain old squash.

ALCOHOL

I don’t tend to drink alcohol during the week (or on the weekend unless I’m going out). When my rosacea was at its worst I was at uni. I was drinking a lot and my skin reflected that. I notice the results of a night out or boozey holiday immediately so I tend to restrict it to special occasions. 18 year old Lex would disown me if she could see me now! This seems to be one of the hardest things people try to cut down on or give up but it’s all about the reaction you have. Flare ups are painful and not only have a physical effect but also a mental one, so I tend to weigh up those consequences against just how much I would like a big glass of red wine. Sometimes I do just say ‘bugger it all, I NEED GIN’ but I’m also aware of what will happen afterwards!

EXTREMES OF TEMPERATURE

Living in the UK means distinct seasons which means that in a matter of months my skin can be unhappy about any of the following: cold wind and rain, central heating, a heatwave or ice cold air conditioning. Avoiding these is impossible unless you stay in a temperature controlled room for your entire life so you have to learn to work around them. Wrap a scarf around as much of your face as you can in cold temperatures (though avoid overheating your face with your breath underneath!), carry a fan and a water mist in hot weather to cool you down.

EXERCISE

I will hold my hands up and say I’m not a huge exercise person. I should be and I’m trying to get into it more. However, if you have rosacea exercise becomes even more of a faff than it already is. As you get warm, through exertion, your face naturally flushes. But for someone with rosacea this can trigger an extended flush which is uncomfortable and sore. I would recommend non-cardio forms of exercise: yoga and pilates are great as they don’t cause you to overheat (unless you do Bikram yoga – which would be a terrible idea) and are also great for learning relaxation techniques which may help you to calm yourself and gain composure when in the middle of a flare up. It’s worth bearing in mind that some of the poses in yoga and pilates can trigger a flare up (e.g. anything that involves your head being below your heart).

DAIRY

Dairy is a common trigger for many people. Swapping to soy/almond milk for cereal, smoothies and puddings was pretty easy but cheese is still my downfall. It’s just so delicious! Again, I weigh up my desire for comforting cheese on toast and the resulting flare up.

WHEAT AND GLUTEN

Wheat and gluten is another beast altogether. I have been dallying with cutting them both out of my diet for the past 5 weeks and my skin has shown marked improvements. I appreciate it’s a very extreme change for some, but if your skin is getting you down and you’ve tried everything else it’s worth trying to see if you think it’s worth it.

What tips do you have for avoiding or minimising your triggers and flare ups?

I really hope that this blog post was helpful and that it has shown you that there are ways to manage rosacea, even if some of them do seem like torture!

I have written blogs on the psychological impact of rosacea and the skincare tips that help me to manage the condition. I also have a YouTube channel where I do make up tutorials and reviews of make up to cover rosacea.

Lex

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13 Comments

  1. Lulu
    7th December 2015 / 11:24 am

    Oh I realize this post was from months ago but I was diagnosed with rosacea about half a year ago and only just found your blog (total godsend!)

    Everything you stated above is a trigger for me as well! But two other things that are huge triggers for me.

    Chicken Eggs – I recently did a food allergy test and found out that I’m severely allergic to these

    Sugar (Refined or Raw) – Cookies and chocolate are a big hit with me (even with all these dietary restrictions I’ve managed to find gluten, egg and dairy free cookies that are amazing) and post any emo binge session (or lazy Sunday), I can always count on itchy skin the next day or two. I know it, and yet I can’t stay away!

    • Lex
      6th January 2016 / 10:56 am

      That’s really interesting about sugar…Whenever I have a binge I always get a flare up as well but it’s difficult to give that up on top of everything else! I might try cutting down and seeing if that helps.
      Thank you for your comment 🙂

  2. monakowski
    11th January 2016 / 12:56 am

    Hi Lex, these diet suggestions (plus removing sugar as Lulu suggested and drinking lots of lemon-water in between meals and at night/first-thing in the morning) are also where I’m at in my path. So far so good even though everything’s still fairly new. I suppose it’s not hard to imagine removing these things would do wonders for our skin (rosacea or not!), but it’s still a process. I feel oddly thankful at this point to have rosacea as I’m not sure I would have been as motivated to make these changes. I’m sure I wouldn’t have. We’ll see where it goes. Thanks for writing about it.

    • Lex
      11th January 2016 / 11:25 am

      I need to get back into lemon in hot water, I drink a lot of plain hot water and herbal teas which I think help. I know what you mean about being a bit thankful – I was so lax with my skincare until I saw diagnosed but I am so thankful now that I’ve had a great regime from an early age.
      Thank you for reading, it’s really good to know that others with rosacea are reading and hopefully finding my posts helpful x

  3. 21st April 2016 / 6:52 am

    Thank you for the blog, I’ve had rosacea for almost ten years now. I’ve made some huge changes and also tried many different treatments. Hands down, the best money I’ve spend was on Pulse Dye Laser. It’s astounding! I also highly recommend Jane iredale face make up. It’s the only makeup my face will tolerate. Cheers!

    • Lex
      24th June 2016 / 3:08 pm

      Hi Robin, thank you for your comment. I’ve not tried Jane Iredale make up but have heard great things so will look into it. I have been investigating laser treatment and am very tempted. How many sessions did you have?

  4. Alana
    21st April 2016 / 10:32 pm

    Hi Lex! I’ve recently been diagnosed with rosacea and a friend linked me to your Buzzfeed article. I’m Irish but living in Spain, and it seems the Spanish sun is one of my triggers as I never had particularly problematic skin before and it certainly wasn’t red. I thought I’d acne because I was breaking out so much or that it was an allergy to food here. I’ve just started treatment and have to go back to my dermatologist in three months – I’m planning on reading all of your blog posts for tips on triggers etc! I’m hoping I can figure out some more of mine soon!

    • Lex
      24th June 2016 / 3:14 pm

      Hi Alana, assuming acne is so common and it’s such a shame as the treatment for acne is probably the worst thing you could do to rosacea skin. The sun is guaranteed to flare me up, and I imagine it’s slightly harder to avoid in Spain than it is in London! Finding out your triggers can take time but it’s honestly the most helpful thing you can do.

  5. Camila
    26th April 2016 / 4:14 pm

    Hi Lex, i just found your Blog! Excellent recommendations…. but one you don’t mencionaste is camomile, i been told for a lot of people that a bag of camomille tea (cold of course) is the best for calm the redness and itchiness of the face. And off couse termal water is a must in the bag of one of us.
    Greetings from Chile!

    • Lex
      24th June 2016 / 3:20 pm

      Hi Camila (it’s so crazy to me that someone in Chile is reading my little blog!) I’ve never tried the camomile trick, I will have to give that a go. Thermal water is a life saviour!

  6. katey peel
    25th October 2016 / 5:52 pm

    Hi Lex, Staying off the dairy, wheat, sugar and caffeine is a great idea.Will also be good for your overall health. Have you tried the natural rosacea cream by mama nature (proskin rosacea). It has worked wonders for me and many others it seems. Might be worth a try? Since you have your own blog they may send you a free sample.

  7. Raq
    23rd November 2016 / 9:59 pm

    Hi Lex, a friend of mine found your blog in an article, I’ve had rosacea for 5 years and have been prescribed antibiotics every winter, but this year have been taking them since June as my skin got so bad and was scared it would scar. I now want to come off the pills but am terrified! I am fascinated with your observation on intestinal health vs rosacea, my gut is probably in a terrible state with all the prescriptions. I saw a homeopath yesterday who hopes to be able to help, I’ll let you know if the remedies help although I imagine I’m in for a “bumpy” ride. Great to discover you, I’ll def try cutting out gluten. Thank you! X

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