Editor’s note: It’s important to note that these findings only suggest a potential association. To determine any cause and effect relationship, further study is required.
A recent Chinese study evaluating the potential relationship between rosacea and diet found that frequent consumption of fatty foods and tea may be associated with the development of rosacea symptoms, while frequent dairy consumption appeared to be negatively correlated with the disorder. The findings may be useful in developing dietary guidelines for rosacea sufferers, the researchers said.
The study, published in the Japanese Journal of Dermatology, noted that few scientific studies have investigated the relationship between rosacea and dietary factors. The study included patients from outpatient dermatology departments at five hospitals in five different cities in China: 1,346 individuals suffering from rosacea, and a control group of 1,290 patients without the condition. More women (85%) than men (15%) were studied, and nearly half of the participants were between 20 and 29 years old (47%). Rosacea sufferers were evaluated and classified by subtype and severity of disease, and all participants were given a questionnaire about how often they consumed several types of foods and beverages during the two years prior to their rosacea occurrence.
The investigators found that rosacea patients were twice as likely to eat fatty foods three or more times per week than those without rosacea. Among the rosacea group, high frequency of fatty food intake was significantly associated with erythematotangiectatic rosacea (facial redness, visible blood vessels) and phymatous rosacea (thickened skin, commonly on the nose).
Similarly, rosacea patients were 2.18 times more likely to drink two or more cups of tea per day than the control group, and high tea consumption was associated with erythematotalengiectatic rosacea. Meanwhile, coffee consumption was not significantly associated with rosacea in the study. The researchers noted that although both coffee and tea are brewed with hot water, tea is often consumed lukewarm or cool in China, and theorized that there may be another property inherent in tea that affects rosacea patients.
In contrast, the investigators also found that frequent consumption of dairy products may have a protective effect against the disease and its effects. They noted that dairy products may play a role in regulating intestinal microbial flora and reducing intestinal inflammation, which in previous studies has been found to be closely associated with rosacea.
The scientists acknowledged that rosacea differs among patients, and noted that the different phenotypes of the disorder may have different dietary associations. As with any study of this sort, it’s important to note that these findings only suggest a potential link. Further study is required to determine any cause and effect relationship.
Yuan X, Huang X, Wang B, et al. Relationship between rosacea and dietary factors: A multicenter retrospective case-control survey. J Dermatol 2019;46(3):219–225. doi:10.1111/1346-8138.14771