Rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness and acne-like bumps, affects more than 3 million people per year in the U.S. The chronic condition cannot be cured but cutting out certain foods that may trigger symptoms is often suggested. In the past, it was believed that limiting coffee intake prevents rosacea flare-ups. However, after conducting a study published in the medical journal JAMA Dermatology, researchers have concluded the opposite—drinking coffee is actually beneficial for rosacea-suffers.
The cause of rosacea is not yet known, but it is believed to be a response to chronic inflammation in the body. Other causes may be immune system changes or gut bacteria imbalances, according to Healthline. Past studies found that some foods act as “triggers” for rosacea. These triggers cause blood vessels near the skin to dilate, leading to an increase in redness.
Many sugary and processed foods are known to cause inflammation in the body, as well as spicy foods or alcohol. Coffee has also been on a list of things for rosacea patients to avoid, although the reason has nothing to do with the caffeine or other ingredients. It was the heat which caused an increase in body temperature, and therefore an increase in redness.
According to the JAMA Dermatology study, titled “Association of Caffeine Intake and Caffeinated Coffee Consumption With Risk of Incident Rosacea In Women,” researchers from Brown University’s Department of Dermatology collected data on 4,945 rosacea patients every four years from 1989 to 2005. In 2017 and 2018, they analyzed the data. The results showed no connection between increased caffeine intake and risk of rosacea. In fact, they showed that patients who consumed four or more cups of coffee a day had a lower risk of experiencing rosacea symptoms.
Joshua Zeichner, a New York-based dermatologist, told Allure that the high levels of caffeine in coffee may be useful in constricting blood vessels to decrease redness. So, decaffeinated coffee would not have the same reducing effect. The study also only found connections between coffee and rosacea, not other caffeinated food or drinks. Sorry, chocoholics, the research concluded that chocolate does in fact cause rosacea flare-ups.
The authors of the study explained that further research is needed to completely confirm the positive relationship between coffee and rosacea, but they are confident in what they’ve found so far. It is important to note that, while coffee itself may be beneficial for rosacea sufferers, any hot beverages are still a risk. For now, it might be best to stick to iced coffee.