Rosacea & Alcohol

Rosacea & Alcohol

We all know that happy hour can be a great way to unwind after a long day. But if you're one of the millions of people who live with rosacea, that glass of wine might not be worth the pain that comes afterwards.

While triggers vary from person to person, alcohol is known to be a common one. In fact, according to a recent survey by the National Rosacea Society, a whopping 76% of rosacea patients report alcohol as a trigger for their symptoms. And of all the drinks out there, red wine was the biggest culprit, causing flare-ups in over 72 percent of those surveyed. White wine and beer were no angels either, causing problems for nearly half and over 40 percent of patients, respectively. So, if you want to avoid a red face and inflamed skin, it might be a good idea to either cut back on the booze, or pay attention to which particular alcohols give your problems with your skin.

How does alcohol affect rosacea?

So, what's the connection between rosacea and alcohol? As a chronic inflammatory skin condition, the effects of drinking alcohol have a lot to do with inflammation. Inflammation can lead to vasodilation (a widening of the blood vessels) which is what causes redness. Because alcohol causes our blood vessels to widen or dilate, this is the reason that alcohol is triggering and can cause flare-ups.

Research has found that dependant on blood type, different alcohols triggered the antigens and cytokines in different people, which leads to widening of the blood vessels. There are numerous books on blood types and diets suitable for individual blood types. So much of rosacea is individual, so working with your blood type is at least worth investigating . One of the most well know books on this is ‘Eat right for your type’ by Dr Peter D’Adamo.

According to research For ‘A’ blood type red wine and coffee may be beneficial and reduce the inflammatory response.  But if you have an A blood type you’re best to avoid white wine, beer and spirits which are harmful and inflammatory.  Below is a link to the foods list that you might want to print out.

For ‘O’ blood types no alcohol is beneficial. But the good news is that red wine, white wine, and beer are neutral. That means you can have a small amount. Coffee and spirits are harmful and inflammatory, and best avoided. (Please don’t shoot the messenger) 

If you have ‘B’ Bloodgroup then all wine, coffee and tea are neutral. It’s best to only drink these in small quantities.

And for ‘AB’ Bloodgroup it’s likely you’ll find that coffee is beneficial while red wine, white wine and beer are neutral. You’re best to avoid spirits as they tend to be harmful for you.

Does alcohol cause rosacea? 

Some studies have found a link between drinking alcohol and an increased risk of developing rosacea, according to a report from the National Rosacea Society. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published one such study, which looked at data collected over 14 years from 82,737 women. The more alcohol a person drank, their risk of developing rosacea was slightly higher. Two other studies have also found connections between drinking and rosacea but more research is needed. 

The problem with this study is that yes, it indicates if you drink alcohol you might have a slightly higher risk of developing rosacea. But this is by no means the reason behind most people developing it, it is just one of many potential causes. People with rosacea shouldn’t worry that others will think they have a drinking problem because the skin condition can affect anyone regardless of if you drink or not. There are people who have never drank and have still developed rosacea. Alcohol has been found to be a trigger for rosacea, but whether it can actually be a cause in itself needs further investigation.

What are the worst drinks for triggering rosacea?

A survey done by the NRS found that certain types of alcoholic drinks can trigger rosacea more than others. And it's not just heavy drinking that causes the condition. A massive 64% of those who said that alcohol causes a reaction, said that it only took one drink for a flare-up to happen! For only 10% of respondents, alcohol had no effect on their rosacea. While many of those surveyed limit their alcohol intake due to rosacea, it's important to note that the condition is not necessarily caused by drinking as 10% of those surveyed rarely or never drink.

Red wine took the crown for being the worst drink when it comes to rosacea, with 76% of respondents saying that it caused flare-ups. Second on the list was white wine (56%), followed by beer (41%) and then champagne & vodka (both 33%). The drinks less likely to cause flare-ups were tequila (28%), bourbon, rum & gin (all 24%) and scotch (21%). 

Tips for enjoying a drink when you have rosacea

Try organic wines:

  • White wines are more susceptible to oxidation, hence they tend to use more sulphur dioxide/sulphites. is thought in certain quantities to trigger rosacea.
  • The tannins in red wines act as a natural preservative. If you have symptoms from drinking red wine, it could be the tyramines and histamines in red wine that are causing you problems.
  • There is less sulphur dioxide used in organic and biodynamic wines. Certification allows 50 per cent of what can be used under conventional standards, so it may be worth trying them to see if you suffer less triggers when you have a glass.

Use plenty of ice:

The more cold/chilled your drink is, the easier it’s going to be on your skin when compared to warm or room temperature drinks. Not only is the ice cooling down your drink which is a good thing, but it’s also diluting the alcohol that bit more. 

Opt for drinks less likely to cause a flare-up:

It's a good idea to keep track of which drinks your skin can handle if you have rosacea. For some people, beer may be easier to tolerate than wine. While others may note that a seltzer (vodka & flavored water) is more tolerable than a beer. It’s so individual and can be figured out by keeping a rosacea diary. If you haven’t done this yet, you might be safer opting for a scotch on the rocks than a red sangria (at least that’s what the stats would say).

Drink slowly

Moderation and pace is key if you want the best chance of avoiding a flare-up. Keeping a rosacea diary like we mentioned above, can help you not only with what drinks you can handle, but also the safe amount of drinks for your own skin. Drinking slower reduces your total intake, and also makes you less likely to get drunk and as a result, care less. 

Drink a water between every drink

Drinking alcohol can dehydrate you, which is a concern for your skin's health. Dehydration can make your skin more sensitive and compromise its protective barrier, particularly if you have rosacea, which already dehydrates the skin. To stay hydrated, try drinking a glass of water between drinks to dilute the alcohol and prevent pH changes. Alcohol can also make your body more acidic, leading to inflammation, so drinking water can balance the body and make it more alkaline.

Go for 0% options or mocktails

To reduce the risk of a flare but still be a part of happy hour, you can order a glass of sparkling water with lime, which looks like a gin and tonic. The NRS recommends replacing Champagne with ginger ale. Another option is to order a non-alcoholic version of your favorite cocktail, such as a virgin daiquiri or piña colada. Alternatively, you can request a customized mocktail made with soft drinks and juice, such as ginger ale and orange juice or 7 Up with a splash of cranberry juice and lime.

So there you go, some tips worth trying out so that you can still enjoy a drink without your skin going crazy as a result. Keeping a diary of what you drink and how much can help you figure out what works for you so that you hopefully don’t have to avoid alcohol completely if you don’t want to. 

Finca Skin Organics Calming Serum 1 is a lightweight formula that soothes dry, irritated skin and reduces the appearance of redness. If your face feels tight and uncomfortable, it is often because your skin is lacking in natural oils. This anti-inflammatory serum reinforces the skin barrier by replenishing the missing oils, using all-natural plant oils enriched with hyaluronic acid.

All Finca Skin Organics products are made using a minimal, plant-based ingredients list and formulated by me, a rosacea sufferer.

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.

View the entire range of Finca products here or find out what subtype your skin is.

When in doubt, always refer to your doctor or dermatologist as the condition differs for everyone. It’s always best to talk to your dermatologist first and work out your treatment plan together.

If you have any queries regarding your rosacea or how to use our products get in contact with us, we'd love to hear from you.

Take care! 
With love from Ireland,


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