Research shows people with rosacea have a higher prevalence of upper gastrointestinal, or GI, disorders, including esophagitis, GERD, SIBO, IBS, Crohn disease, Barrett esophagus, gastritis, nondiabetic gastroparesis, and diverticulitis. If you’re working to manage both rosacea and GI symptoms, you’re probably wondering… why? We know that bacterial imbalances on the skin can cause inflammation and drive rosacea symptoms. It turns out those imbalances are likely related to imbalances in the gut microbiome, via what’s called the gut-skin axis.
Understanding the Gut-Skin Axis
Your gut microbiome is home to approximately 100 trillion bacteria. When the bacteria get out of balance, gastrointestinal symptoms can occur. An emerging body of research shows that the gut and skin microbiomes are connected by the gut-skin axis, and that inflammation in the gut can affect your skin health, influence your immune response, and contribute to inflammatory skin conditions rosacea, acne, and eczema.
Gastrointestinal Disorders and Their Relation to Rosacea
Research has tied rosacea to not just one — but many — gastrointestinal disorders, from inflammatory bowel disease to small bacterial intestinal overgrowth, or SIBO.
IBD and Rosacea
Compared to all GI disorders, inflammatory bowel disease (or IBD) has the strongest evidence supporting its connection to rosacea. Both rosacea and IBD are associated with microbial imbalances, immune system dysfunction, and inflammation. They both have a genetic component, and they share obesity and smoking as risk factors.
GERD and Rosacea
GERD, also called acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a disease where stomach acid irritates the lining of your food pipe. In a study of 130 participants, researchers found a significant association between gastroesophageal reflux disease and rosacea, specifically moderate to severe rosacea.
SIBO and Rosacea
When you have SIBO, also known as small bacterial intestinal overgrowth, there is an abnormal amount of bacteria present in the small intestine, especially types of bacteria not often found in the small intestine.
One study found that SIBO was ten times more prevalent in participants with rosacea.
Is a Rosacea Diet the Solution?
With research illustrating a strong correlation between rosacea and gut health, it’s natural to wonder how rosacea and diet influence one another. Certain foods, such as spicy peppers and hot coffee or tea, have long been known to trigger rosacea.
Remember: there isn’t a one-size-fits-all diet when it comes to managing your rosacea symptoms. Clinicians generally recommend avoiding inflammatory foods and opting for foods that can benefit your gut health.
Foods that are beneficial for gut health include:
- Probiotic-rich foods, including kefir, kimchi, yogurt, kombucha, natto, sauerkraut, miso, and tempeh
- High-fiber foods, including leafy greens, grains, and apples
- Omega-3-rich foods, including tuna, salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseed oil
Inflammatory foods include:
- Fried foods, refined carbs (like white bread), sodas and other sugary beverages, and processed meats
- Foods that you have a personal sensitivity or intolerance to, such as dairy, gluten, nuts, soy, or eggs
- Common rosacea food triggers, including alcohol, hot drinks, spicy foods, dairy, high-histamine foods, and cinnamaldehyde-containing foods.
Beyond Rosacea and Gut Health
Managing rosacea goes beyond caring for your gut health. Rosacea flares can be driven by bacterial imbalances on the skin.
Gladskin Redness Relief Cream targets the bacterial imbalance of good and bad bacteria living on red, rosacea-prone skin.
It’s the only U.S. product that rebalances your skin’s microbiome as it calms and moisturizes. Many can see relief in as little as a week.