Gluten and Rosacea

If you have rosacea and wonder what triggers your flare-ups, then gluten and rosacea may already be in your list of topics to search about.

Rosacea sufferers cite certain foods as triggering rosacea. These include hot beverages, wine, and hard liquor as well as certain peppers and spices high in Capsaicin. Rosacea sufferers also mention foods containing cinnamaldehyde such as tomatoes, chocolate, and citrus fruits. 

Is There A Link Between Gluten And Rosacea?

Gluten is often connected to rosacea but is there any scientific evidence behind it? Before rushing to remove all the products containing gluten from your shelves, let’s see what the experts say. 


Rosacea And Gluten Connection

No doubt that eating a balanced diet is very important for keeping healthy skin. Essential nutrients and gut supporting foods all play their role in fighting inflammation and supporting healthy skin function. This brings us to the next question: Does gluten cause inflammation and rosacea?

Dr. Katta, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatology professor, often considers gluten a trigger for skin inflammation. However, according to her, this is only the case for people diagnosed with a gluten hypersensitivity or gluten allergy.

In this case, only a board-certified dermatologist should help a rosacea sufferer determine whether there are any ingredients or foods that cause rosacea to flare. Dr. Katta warns against excluding certain foods from your diet. She says that this often leads to missing out on necessary nutrients important for a healthy skin function.

Getting an allergy test is part of discovering whether you are intolerant to wheat and gluten or whether you have a gluten sensitivity linked to rosacea.

Is There a Celiac Disease Related Rosacea?

Does celiac disease cause rosacea? The answer isn't 100% clear.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder and a reaction to gluten ingestion. It often damages the small intestine and causes other serious health side effects if it is left untreated.

A Denmark study, conducted on almost 50,000 patients suffering from Rosacea, showed that the prevalence of Coeliac is higher among rosacea patients when compared to control subjects.

This indicates that there's a possible role between gut health and rosacea, and therefore potentially, a celiac disease related rosacea.

Is Gluten Free Rosacea Skin Care the Best Option?

People with celiac disease related rosacea often ask if using gluten free rosacea skin care products are a healthier option. 

Gluten is a protein with molecules too large to penetrate the skin. Also, cosmetic formulations typically use a very small amount of gluten. This small amount poses little or no danger to users who have an allergy or are sensitive to gluten.

Cosmetic companies sometimes use a form of gluten which has smaller molecules. This is hydrolyzed wheat protein (HWP). HWP causes a reaction in some people, but people with Coeliac or allergy to gluten are sometimes more vulnerable. 

All in all, as long as you don’t eat the skin cream, you shouldn't be at risk. But if you are super cautious, then you have freedom to choose among the plethora of gluten-free skin care products available on the market today.

Also, if you have a reaction to a skin care product that contains gluten, it does not mean that gluten is to blame. There are a lot of potentially irritating ingredients in skin products that are proven to cause skin irritation.

Can Dairy Products Cause Rosacea?

There is no scientific evidence supporting the link between rosacea, wheat, and dairy. But an allergy to dairy products causes inflammation and exacerbates rosacea symptoms.

There is evidence that foods high in histamines - chemicals in the body that are part of your body’s immune system - worsen the flushing and redness related to histamines.

Does this mean that foods with histamines cause rosacea? Probably not. But for some rosacea sufferers with a histamine intolerance, histamines worsen rosacea symptoms. Such symptoms include redness, swelling and more. 

rosacea wheat and dairy

photo by monika grabkowska

What Is A Good Rosacea Diet?

Generally, we know that a diet good for general health is also beneficial for the skin. These diets are rich in nutrients, such as essential fatty acids, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. But when it comes to a diet that's suitable for people with rosacea, is there anything more?

Whitney P. Bowe, a board-certified Dermatologist says that rosacea is linked to gut health. Therefore foods that are good for the gut have a positive effect on rosacea as well. This is why dermatologists often advise rosacea patients to follow a probiotic-rich diet.

Probiotics have antimicrobial benefits. These help fight bad bacteria in the gut that trigger inflammation. And they create a healthy barrier towards the prevention of rosacea or acne-inducing inflammation .

Although more studies need to be done on whether oral or topical probiotics have the best results for rosacea, there's already a lot of evidence supporting the positive effect of a probiotic diet for rosacea patients.

Also, an important part of a good diet for rosacea is avoiding foods that may trigger rosacea. Now, there's no scientific evidence to back those claims. On the other hand, people report that they are more prone to rosacea symptoms when they consume wine, hot beverages, citrus fruits, chocolate, and spicy foods.


Gluten is contained in a really wide list of foods that we use daily such as pasta, wheat flour, bread, pastries, and baked goods. It's also found in cereal, sauces, and gravies. Before deciding to throw away all those foods from your shelves in order to prevent rosacea flare-ups, think about the facts.

A link between gluten and skin inflammation or gluten and rosacea is possible in some cases. It's usually in people diagnosed with an allergy to gluten or hypersensitivity to gluten.

Before deciding to exclude gluten from your diet, first visit a board-certified dermatologist or dietician. It's important to find the right person to advise you about any potential dietary changes.

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Lindsay is concerned about health, nutrition and the environment. She believes natural products are best and wants to help others learn more about the benefits of using them.

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