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.