Have you ever wondered what it is that causes your rosacea to worsen and flare at certain times? I’m sure you have, and I’m sure almost everyone with the condition has done some level of research on the potential triggers, we have covered the triggers of rosacea in a blog here. There are some common ones which are quite widely recognised like spicy foods and alcohol. But you’d be surprised, there are some sneaky buggers in there too which aren’t always so obvious!
I know what you’re thinking. Is there anything that doesn’t trigger rosacea? This list can be a little off putting. It looks like just about anything can and will set you off. Well, don’t worry too much. This is just a list to cover all of the possibilities.
The likelihood is that not everything on there will be a trigger for you. Rosacea is a very individual condition and what triggers some is perfectly fine for others.
In this post we’re going to focus on the impact that weight, exercise & diet can have on your skin.
Does weight affect your rosacea?
It’s 2022 and we are lucky that we’re at a point in society that all body types are accepted and celebrated. We were all made to be different and that’s one of the beauties of life. It’s unfortunate that weight is something to be conscious of if you suffer from rosacea. Being overweight does in fact increase not only the potential of flaring up if you’re already rosacea prone, but also increases your chance of developing the condition if you don’t have it already.
In 2014, the University of Oslo found that overeating increases the body's immune response. This increased immune response causes the body to generate excessive inflammation, which may lead to several chronic diseases (including rosacea). The inflammatory reaction can be reduced again by losing weight.
When we eat more calories than we can burn (through work, sports etc.), this storage of energy causes an inflammatory reaction. I’ve come across this myself in many forums, people saying that their rosacea was a lot worse when they were overweight.
It can be a catch 22. You want to be a healthy weight but exercising results in breakouts and flushes. Avoiding exercise though can cause weight gain. If this is something that’s getting you down, keep reading for a rosacea-friendly diet and exercise ideas.
How to exercise without getting rosacea flare ups
These days there is a buzz around HIIT workouts. These workouts are fast paced, usually get your heart racing and are designed to burn a high amount of calories in a short amount of time. If you want to lose weight, these workouts can be extremely tempting with the low time to high result ratio. High intensity workouts can be a big no for those with rosacea though.
The temporary increase in blood flow and heart rate causes facial redness in virtually everyone who does the workout. If you’re already prone to redness you should think again.
This being said, you can’t totally avoid exercise without risking other elements of your health. With rosacea, you need to keep your weight in check if you want to keep your skin at its best. Here are a few tips to maximise your workout and minimise your flares.
Ditch the high intensity, heavy exertion workouts
These workouts can cause our bodies to overheat and produce lots of sweat. This is prime condition for more flaring and flushing. Opt instead for lower intensity routines e.g. walking or swimming, which can often be just as effective.
When it’s hot out, avoid exercising during the dayIf you like working out outside, try to go early in the morning or later in the evening. The heat of the midday sun combined with working up a sweat don’t go hand in hand when rosaceas in the picture. Don’t forget a hat and a high SPF no matter what time. Unless it’s dark of course. A hat with a broad brim is the best thing you can have on when you’re outside, plus your SPF of at least 30.
Keep coolTry putting a damp towel around your neck and sucking on an ice cube. Drink lots of water and make sure you’re constantly hydrated. An occasional splash of some cold water on your face while exercising will also help keep you cool.
How food and diet can reduce rosacea flare ups
As you probably know, a good diet is a key element of rosacea control. There is so much information and literature on this. I’m not covering absolutely everything here or we’d be here all day, but here’s a quick guide of some of the things you should be avoiding, and some of the things you should be trying.
Now a quick disclaimer: I am by no means suggesting you cut everything on the list out of your diet. But, they are foods to watch for and monitor if they’re potentially causing you trouble.
Foods to try avoiding:
- Sugary foods
- Starchy carbs
- Spicy foods
- Greasy or fried foods
- Sour cream
- Yoghurt (except for Greek)
- Citrus fruits
- Yeast extract (though small amounts of bread is ok)
- Soy sauce
- Broad-leafed beans and pods
- Foods high in histamine or niacin
Drinks to be cautious of:
- Alcohol (especially red wine, white wine, champagne, beer and vodka)
- Hot beverages. They dilate the blood vessels. This includes tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Caffeine isn’t the culprit, so you can still enjoy cold brews!
- Fizzy drinks
- Sugary juice drinks
Try something new?Everyone hates dieting, I think that’s pretty much a fact. As they should! Fad diets have no place in society and neither does extremism. Diets have become problematic and the cause pain and eating disorders. But did you know that there are a couple of diets out there that are especially good for rosacea? Think about trying the Alkaline Diet or the Paleo Diet.
Alkaline diet for rosacea
This diet aims to find the ideal balance between acidifying and alkalizing foods. It greatly reduces the acid load which helps to reduce the strain on the body’s acid detox systems e.g. the kidneys. The alkaline diet would be typical of the Mediterranean diet where there is also less incidence of rosacea.
Examples of alkaline foods:
- Sea salt
See my video for an alkalising drink that you can make from standard ingredients in your fridge.
This is probably the healthiest way you can possibly eat, but it’s a hard diet to follow. It is called the ‘paleo’ diet because it’s how paleolithic humans ate before there were lots of processed foods, refined sugars etc. It consists mainly of fruit, veggies, nuts, roots, meats and organ meat. It steers clear of dairy, grains, sugar, legumes, salt, coffee, alcohol and processed oils.
In ancient times, traditional Chinese medicine used specific foods to balance the body’s ‘yin’ (cold) and ‘yang’ (hot). Cooling foods are known for healing the body of excess heat and toxins. These foods are suitable for a range of conditions such as excess perspiration, constipation, red eyes, red face, headaches, heartburn, inflammation, rosacea and more.
There is a long list of cooling foods which can be found here including the likes of celery, cucumber, apple, lemon and watermelon.
So there you have it. My two cents on rosacea, diet and exercise. As I always mention, I’m not a doctor or medical practitioner. Just someone who has had rosacea for years and dedicates a lot of my time into research around natural remedies.
At Finca Skin Organics we have taken the global dermatology advice for rosacea. We've formulated our products using a short ingredient list made up of plant-based oils and actives. We avoid the use of harmful chemicals and additives so that people with very sensitive skin can reduce their symptoms without creating more irritation.
The Finca Skin Organics range has undergone a Harley Street clinical study. After using our products, 87% felt the appearance of their skin significantly improved.
When in doubt, always refer to your doctor or dermatologist as the condition differs for everyone.
With love from Ireland,
*Clinical evaluation by Harley St. dermatologists on 23 subjects after 8 weeks of use.