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Why Rosacea Shouldn’t be Threatened by Caffeine

New research is disproving a once-held belief about skin conditions: caffeine triggers rosacea. In fact, caffeine could decrease the risk of having rosacea.

There are an estimated 415 million people in the world living with rosacea. The condition can come and go; often appearing as redness or ruddiness on the face. Previously, skin experts claimed that rosacea symptoms could be provoked by hot beverages, sunlight, spicy foods, exercise, hot drinks, and hormonal issues.

In their study recently published in JAMA Dermatology, researchers looked at data from 82,737 women who had responded to a question about rosacea diagnosis in a 2005 Nurses’ Health Study. They found 4,945 cases of diagnosed rosacea. Of those women with rosacea, the highest quintile for caffeine consumption was 24 percent less likely to have rosacea than the bottom quintile. Serious caffeine addicts, or those who drank four or more cups of coffee a day, also had a lower instance of developing rosacea — specifically 23 percent less risk than those who drank less than a cup a month.

It’s important to take into account the limitations of the analysis: coffee habits were assessed in four-year intervals; researchers didn’t evaluate key social factors such as family history, stress, heat, and hot beverages; there was no evaluation of how ingredients in the caffeine drinks could be linked in rosacea; and most cases were well-educated white women, details that make it difficult to generalize the findings.

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