By Dr. Maria Simbra

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Doctors are looking into a possible new treatment for rosacea.

It doesn’t involve a pill or cream, but it has to do with what you eat.

A red face and an enlarged nose are features of rosacea.

Tracy Lorusso has this condition.

“I get very red from it. And sometimes I peel,” Lorusso said. “I have different creams. I’ve tried different variations of different medications. And, I clean my face very well every day.”

Every now and then, she’ll have a warm drink. But, does it affect her skin?

“When I have a hot chocolate or a hot tea, it just gets a little warmer, but other than that, I have no other irritations at all,” she said.

There is a well-known pattern between rosacea and food. It’s often worse with alcohol, citrus, chocolate, tomatoes and with foods taken warm or hot, such as coffee.

But, coffee also has other components.

“Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it makes the blood vessels more narrow. That may improve some of the redness in the face,” Dr. Brian Horvath, of Horvath Dermatology, said.

Researchers wanted to clarify the pattern specifically between rosacea and coffee. They reviewed the health and diet information of 80,000 nurses over 20 years.

“The researchers found that women who had four or more cups of coffee a day had about a 25 percent less chance of having rosacea than people that did not drink coffee,” Horvath said.

However, tea, soda and cocoa did not make a difference.

This type of study can’t show cause and effect, but hints at directions to explore for future treatments.

For now, Dr. Horvath will be reassuring his patients with rosacea.

“I think it’s absolutely OK to have a couple cups of coffee a day,” he said.

Tracy is glad she can enjoy her hot chocolate without any problems.

“I have it under control,” she said.

Dr. Maria Simbra