Rosacea is a common, inflammatory skin condition that is characterized by redness, swelling, and general roughness of the skin. Typical symptoms include:
- Small red blood vessels that appear under your skin
- Eye issues such as itchiness, burning, and sensitivity to light
Although there is currently no cure for rosacea, diet and lifestyle, and certain medications may provide some relief. When it comes to food, anecdotal evidence suggests that rosacea symptoms may be exasperated by hot beverages, spicy foods, and alcohol.
Although topical rosacea treatments (often in the form of antibiotic creams) are commonly prescribed, new research suggests a strong link between the health of your gut and the appearance of your skin (after all, you’re only as healthy as your gut!). In a recent study of almost 50,000 Danish patients with rosacea, gut conditions such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome were all more prevalent among patients with rosacea, as compared to those without. Given the proposed link between gut health and rosacea, gut-enhancing interventions may provide some promising relief to those who suffer with rosacea. For example, a recent meta-analysis of published randomized controlled trials, determined that the use of synbiotics (a combination of prebiotics and probiotics) for at least 8 weeks had a significant effect on atopic dermatitis, a similar inflammatory skin condition. Interestingly, this gut-skin connection has already been incorporated into clinical practice. Dr. Whitney Bowe, a board-certified American Academy of Dermatology expert, admits that while probiotics may not ever be used as a stand-alone treatment for acne or rosacea, they can be used as an effective combination therapy. She recommends that rosacea patients eat foods with live active cultures, such as yogurt, or to take an oral probiotic supplement daily.
(1) Rosacea (2016, April 30). Retrieved from https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/rosacea
(2) Weiss, E. et al (2017). Diet and rosacea: the role of dietary change in the management of rosacea. Dermatology Practical & Conceptual, 7(4): 31-37.
(3) Schaumburg, III. (2014, January 30). Could probiotics be the next big thing in acne and rosacea treatments. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/media/news-releases/could-probiotics-be-the-next-big-thing-in-acne-and-rosacea-treatments.