Diet and Sensitive Skin- My Story

Its been almost  three weeeks since my red splotches and breakouts  have been brought under control.  The labor intensive protocol of washing my face 3x/day ( once with Anti-Redness Cleanser and twice with home microdermabrasion), glycolic  peel pads  3 times a week and Metro Gel at night  seems to  be the perfect formula.

I also  have been diligent in following  rosacea dietary guidelines.This meant avoding spicy foods, coffee, alcohol and chocolate.   With my skin so clear, I wondered if I really needed to be as careful with my diet.  I mean,  no coffee for life?  I’m one of those annoying New Yorkers who walk around in summer with a container of ice coffee  glued to my hands.  The answer?  Yes and no.

Over the weekend with friends, I treated myself  to a glass of  my favorite Rombauer Chardonnay– and nothing popped out on my face.  Next, I tried my summer favorite– iced coffee.  Again my skin stayed  clear.  My next two experiments were actually accidental.

I’m a total chocoholic and when  a friend passed a box of  Godiva  chocolates, I popped one in my mouth without thinking.  That night, I woke up with a burning sensation on my chin.  In the morning,  my chin was dotted with red lumps  that looked like  old-fashioned teen age acne.   Dr Lefkovits went into emergency mode with an in-office microdermabrasion and a 70% glycolic peel.  Within hours  the outbreak disappeared along with my passion for chocolate.  There is  a good bit of controversy about the link between chocolate and acne.  Well-respected research has repeatedly demonstrated that chocolate does NOT provoke breakouts.  IRL dermatologists and   patients  report  that chocolate  seems  be  an acne triggerr.   I wonder  if these chocolates related reakouts are actually  part of rosacea rather than  traditional acne vulgaris.   I smell a  nice grant proposal.

My next food test  was a surprise in a bowl of creamy corn chowder.   Instead of a mellow bowl of  summer corn, it turned out to be as spicy as a dish of  Texas Red Chili.   I was famished, late and it  had taken so long to get my order that  I ate about half before rushing  out. The next day my  chin was red and sore.   Home microdermabrasion and MetroGel brought it under control in 48 hours, but each episode  leaves the skin  a little redder with more broken blood vessels.

Both chocolate and spicy foods provoke rosacea, but in slightly  different pathways.  Chocolates  stimulate histamine release which lead to an inflammatory response.  Spicy foods directly stimulate circulation, expanding blood vessels.

I’m really glad that  wine and ice coffee are on back on my menus and I can avoid  food related redness by avoiding chocolate and spicy foods.  Have you found a connection diet and your skin?  I’d love  to hear  how  you  handle  it.

8 thoughts on “Diet and Sensitive Skin- My Story

  1. Deb, I too find that my skin responds unfavorably to chocolate, but not all chocolate. When I eat dark chocolate, that has a low wax content, and no corn sweeteners – my skin is just fine. I also find that the hydrogenated oils used in their fillings is problematic. I stick with the basic dark chocolate from Scharffen Berger and all is fine.

  2. A gluten-free diet eliminates all skin problems for me. I followed a strictly gluten-free diet for two years straight (due to other more troubling medical concerns), and I lost every last bit of red in my face along with the chub under my chin. I got pregnant and tired (and lazy) and reverted back to my old diet, and the rosacea has been back ever since. If it gets really bad, I cut out gluten for a few weeks and the difference is amazing. Not even antibiotics work as well – However, it takes a lot of work and willpower.

  3. omg!!! if u listen to my story its really omg!!! iam married and have two kids.iam suffering with mild acne since 10 years..nothing worked except temperory.antibiotics temperory and side reactions with it.used everything.only temporary results.then I seriously began searching on my stupid acne..the root cause of my acne is already my body temperatures are very heat.and from so many year onwards iam eating spicy,oily,junk food,coffee,which I like very much.i had no control over it.i ate that much spicy food..these food raised my body temperatures still and the next day or on the same day I found atleast two or three big pimples on my face.though I drink lots of water regarding to that spicy food,i cant control my body temperatures..i strictly decided to avoid all such food and I started drinking lot of water with simple food that never contained even 2% spice…its very very tough to avoid spice foods.now from one month I have ACNE AT ALL.if again I start all spice n hot food,,,the acne will grow.so many ppl say that spicy food is nothing for acne,,,but those spicy food caused severe acne according to body responses.so ppl who are suffering with acne dont eat any spices,hot,,,pls take care of ur food,,,make sure ur food vl contain fruits,milk,vegetables,curd,etc.

    • THis is really fascinating! I’m not at all surprised that uou link breakouts with spicy foods. But I wonder if you actually have rosacea rather than traditional acne. THe pimples and red spots look and feel very much like acne but sonpt respond well to standard acne treatment. SPicy foods is known to be a huge trigger for rosacea and eliminating them had a huge impact on my skin. I also found that a topical gel called Metrogel would get things under control if a flare-up occurred. THanks so much for sharing.

  4. Regarding foods, I just read a very indepth study that indicated that hormones in dairy milk does in fact have a link to acne. With this information, I will be adjusting my daughters diet when she reaches the common age for acne.

  5. Yes, there is a growing body of evidence that the hormones in milk are linked to acne. You can avoid these chemicals by serving organic milk, icecream, cheese and yogurt. Keep in mind that many prepared foods like mac and cheese and pizza use dairy products made with hormone laced milk. We are seeing acne in younger children and I would start her as early as possible on organic dairy products. Aren’t little girls amazing? I have two daughters AND two granddaughters and treasure every day with them.

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