Image: © agrobacter/Getty Images
For some people, it's tough to prevent flare-ups of rosacea, the reddened and sometimes bumpy skin that shows up on the cheeks, nose, and other areas of the face. Caffeine, heat and sun exposure, and a long list of foods (everything from spicy foods to yogurt) have been thought to trigger rosacea or make it worse. But a study published online Oct. 17, 2018, by JAMA Dermatology not only pokes a hole in the idea that caffeine is to blame, it also suggests that one major caffeine source — coffee — might even reduce the risk of rosacea. Researchers analyzed health and diet survey responses gathered every four years from nearly 83,000 women (most of whom were white) from 1991 to 2005. It turns out that women who drank four or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day were 23% less likely to report a diagnosis of rosacea during the study period, compared with women who drank less than one cup per month. Increased caffeine intake from tea, soda, and chocolate had no impact on the likelihood of developing rosacea. The study was only observational and can't prove cause and effect. But coffee has also been linked to many other health benefits, including lower blood pressure, a slower rate of weight gain with age, and reduced risks for developing type 2 diabetes or dying from cardiovascular disease or neurological diseases.
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.