Rosacea…most of us have heard of it at one time or another, however, most of those who suffer from rosacea aren’t even aware that they have it. A good number of the population most relates rosacea with redness that occurs on the cheeks. The fact is Rosacea affects those who suffer with it in many different ways.

Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that affects as many as 16 million Americans. If you are over 30, have fair skin, are a woman and have some family history of rosacea, you are at higher risk of developing rosacea. When rosacea occurs in men, it can often manifest in a more severe way, possibly because it hasn’t been treated in as timely a fashion.

The signs and symptoms of rosacea can include:

  • Blush or flush easily (this is one of the earliest signs)
  • Bumps/pimples (similar to acne)
  • Burning or stinging
  • Edema (swelling)
  • Irritated eyes and swollen eyelids
  • Dry and itchy facial skin
  • Plaques - redness and thickening
  • Small and visible blood vessels

Although the actual cause of Rosacea is still something being researched, there are well-known triggers, starting with the following foods:

  • Cheese
  • Eggplant
  • Beans (such as lima, navy) and peas
  • Citrus (as well as tomatoes, bananas, plums, raisins)
  • Spinach
  • Spicy foods
  • Vinegar
  • Vanilla
  • Yogurt

On the plus side, eating whole grains, blueberries and cherries can actually help reduce some of the redness of rosacea.

Along with avoiding the foods listed above, individuals with rosacea should minimize exposure to the sun (use at least SPF 30 sunscreen), wind, and high temperatures. Red wine and hot drinks are also known triggers and removing them as a routine part of your diet should be considered.

Add menopause and high blood pressure as two other conditions that may cause flare-ups, and you have a pretty large laundry list of things to look out for if you are dealing with rosacea.

Although there isn’t a cure for rosacea, there are things that can be done to treat it. We’ll discuss these in our next blog post.

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