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Rosacea - Weight, Exercise & Diet

by Finola Fegan |

Have you ever wondered what exactly it is that causes your rosacea to worsen and flare at certain times? I’m sure you have all done some level of research into the condition (it’s hard not to when it’s constantly on your mind!). 

Here’s a quick summary into the conditions that can impact and trigger your rosacea. 

  • Weather - Exposure to sun, Heat, Humidity and lack of it Wind and Cold. 
  • Stress 
  • Certain foods and drinks 
  • Exercise Bathing, showering and facial cleansing 
  • Weight 
  • Skin care regime 
  • Medications 

All the above are lifestyle choices that may have to be modified to accommodate your Rosacea. In this post I will be addressing the impact that weight, exercise & diet can have on your skin. This post will be a little longer than those before, as there is just so much to say on the matter. I’ll keep it as short and informative as possible! 

Weight 

There's just no nice way to say it. Being overweight increases the incidence of Rosacea. In 2014, a University of Oslo found the following: 

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) We can reduce the inflammatory reaction by losing weight. 

When we eat more than we can burn through work, sports etc. this storage of energy causes an inflammatory reaction. I have come across many posts on forums, where people say 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. If this applies to you and it's getting you down, keep reading for a rosacea-friendly diet and exercise regime. 

Exercise 

High intensity workouts can often be a big no-no for Rosacea sufferers. Although it can be tough, you can’t avoid exercise without risking other elements of your health. With rosacea, you need to keep your weight under control to keep your skin at its best. Here’s a few tips to maximize your workout and minimize your flare-ups. 

Ditch the high intensity, heavy exertion workouts. 

These workouts can cause your body to overheat and produce lots of sweat, causing more flaring and flushing. Opt instead for lower intensity routines e.g. walking or swimming, which can often be just as effective. 

Exercise smarter. 

Try exercising for shorter periods more frequently. For example, rather than hitting the gym for an hour, try working out for 15 minutes, 4 times a day e.g. 15 mins before work, 15 mins walk at lunchtime, ditch the bus and walk for 15 mins and then 15 mins in the evening. 

When it’s hot outside, avoid exercise during the day. 

If you like working out outside, try to go early in the morning or later in the evening. Don’t forget a hat and a high SPF no matter what time. A hat with a broad brim is the best thing you can have on when outside plus your SPF. 

Keep as cool as you can. 

Try putting a damp towel around your neck, sucking on an ice cube & drink lots of water. Occasionally splash some cold water on your face too to keep cool. 

Diet 

As you all probably know, a good diet is key in Rosacea control. There is so much information and literature on this that I couldn’t possibly go through it all so here is a very quick guide of some things you should be avoiding, and some things you should be trying. 

Foods to avoid: 

  • sugary foods, 
  • starchy carbs, 
  • spicy food, 
  • greasy or fried foods, 
  • cheese, 
  • sour cream, 
  • yogurt (except for Greek!), 
  • citrus fruit, 
  • liver, 
  • chocolate, 
  • vanilla, 
  • soy sauce, 
  • yeast extract (though very small amounts of bread are ok), 
  • vinegar, 
  • eggplant, 
  • pasta, 
  • prawns, 
  • raisins, 
  • avocados, 
  • spinach, 
  • broad-leafed beans and pods, 
  • junk food, 
  • foods high in histamine or niacin. 

Beverages to avoid: 

Alcohol (esp. red wine, beer, gin, vodka & champagne), 

hot beverages (they dilate the blood vessels such as tea, 

coffee, hot chocolate etc.) 

fizzy/junk drinks  

Try something new? 

Everyone hates dieting, I think that’s pretty much a fact. 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 

This diet aims to find the ideal balance between acidifying and alkalizing foods. It greatly reduces the acid load which helps reduce the strain on the body’s acid detox systems e.g. the kidneys. The alkaline diet would be typical of Mediterranean diet where there is also less incidence of rosacea. 

Examples of alkaline foods: 

  • Almonds, 
  • Apples, 
  • Bananas, 
  • Beets, 
  • Berries, 
  • Broccoli, 
  • Cantaloupe, 
  • Cauliflower, 
  • Celery, 
  • Chestnuts, 
  • Cinnamon, 
  • Cucumber, 
  • Curry, 
  • Kale, 
  • Lettuce, 
  • Onions, 
  • Peas, 
  • Peppers, 
  • Spinach, 
  • Grapes, 
  • Melon, 
  • Lemon, 
  • Prange, 
  • Peach, 
  • Pear, 
  • Watermelon, 
  • Tofu, 
  • Sea salt. 

See my new video for an alkalising juice drink you can make from standard ingredients in your fridge. 

Paleo Diet 

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. 

One of the most severe cases of Type 2 Rosacea I have ever seen on the Rosacea forums was a young woman from New Zealand who undertook the paleo diet and completely cleared her face of rosacea. Her face before the paleo was very inflamed, loads of pustules (acne like spots) and very bumpy. It completely transformed on the paleo diet. For those reading this blog with Type 2 Rosacea, look carefully at your diet and adjust! For more info on Type 2 Rosacea Treatments please see, The Oil Of Oregano Capsules and Apple Cider Vinegar 

Chinese Cooling Foods 

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 etc. 

There is a long list of cooling foods which can be found HERE 

They include: 

  • Celery, 
  • Cucumber, 
  • Apple, 
  • Lemon, 
  • Watermelon.