Despite rosacea being a common condition, it's often one that's misunderstood.
The non-contagious chronic skin issue can cause the face - and in some cases, the neck, ears and chest - to become red and inflamed. The condition varies in severity and is usually recognisable by broken or enlarged blood vessels on someone’s face.
Rosacea affects around 415 million people around the world and is more common in people of Celtic or northern European descent. It's highly prevalent in Germany, impacting over 12 per cent of the nation and Russia, occurring in five per cent of the population.
The observational study from America has found a link between consuming around four cups of caffeinated coffee every day and a decreased risk of rosacea.
There's currently no cure for rosacea, only management and prevention techniques.
But new research, published today in the journal JAMA Dermatology, has offered hope for women at risk of the condition. The observational study from America has found a link between consuming around four cups of caffeinated coffee every day and a decreased risk of rosacea.
The research included data from more than 82,000 women who drank coffee, tea and soda, and ate chocolate. It compared women who had less than one serving of caffeinated coffee every month to those who had four or more servings of caffeinated coffee every day to see who had the lowest risk of rosacea.
The results showed that women in the second group had a reduced risk for rosacea. These women, who drank four cups of caffeinated coffee a day, had a 23 percent lower risk of rosacea than women who drank less than a cup a month.
Decaffeinated coffee didn’t have the same result on rosacea risk.
“We found that caffeine intake from coffee but not from other foods (tea, soda, and chocolate) was associated with a decreased risk of incident rosacea in a dose-dependent manner,” the study reads.
The study's authors explain that even though chocolate contains caffeine, it could be a risk factor for rosacea. The caffeine content is chocolate can also typically be very low.
These women, who drank four cups of caffeinated coffee a day, had a 23 percent lower risk of rosacea than women who drank less than a cup a month.
Why caffeinated coffee?
Although it is unknown why caffeine from coffee is linked to a reduced risk of the skin condition, the paper’s authors assume that it’s because the drink can impact the dilation of blood vessels.
“Increased caffeine intake may decrease vasodilation and consequently lead to diminution of rosacea symptoms,” the study reads.
“Second, caffeine has been documented to contain antioxidant agents and to have immunosuppressant effects, which may result in decreased inflammation in rosacea.
“Hormonal factors have [also] been implicated in the development of rosacea, and caffeine can modulate hormone levels, including levels of adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol.”
Words of warning
Before diving into regular cups of coffee to decrease your rosacea risk, it’s important to note that four cups a day might be too much for you if you are very sensitive to caffeine.
Caution should also be taken when drinking coffee if you have rosacea or are trying to prevent an onset of the condition. The study’s authors say the heat from coffee may be a trigger for rosacea flares.
The fact is, despite the study’s results, the relationship between the risk of rosacea and caffeine intake, including coffee consumption, is still poorly understood.
The study’s authors say the heat from coffee may be a trigger for rosacea flares.
Past studies and reviews have asserted differing effects of caffeine intake or coffee consumption on the risk of rosacea.
One study from Estonia and a literature review from France found no significant difference in risk of rosacea between groups consuming different amounts of caffeine. Meanwhile, another study from Poland reported an increased risk of rosacea among coffee drinkers.
The authors say that more research is needed to understand why there is a link between increased caffeinated coffee consumption and decreased rosacea risk.