Acne and Diet: Are They Related?

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Nutrition and diet are evidently correlated to your overall health. But can your diet affect your skin? We’ve all heard “you are what you eat”, but can it really show on your skin or worse cause uncontrollable breakouts? Although, there is still no hard evidence that can answer the true cause of blemishes, we found a few facts that may suggest certain foods may play a big role in preventing your best glowing skin:

1. Refined Grains and Sugars: 

Studies have shown that people with acne tend to consume more refined carbohydrates and high added sugar diets than people with little or no acne. Foods to look out for would be bread, desserts with white flour, white flour kinds of pasta, sodas, and certain sweeteners like cane sugar and agave.

This result may be explained by the increase in blood sugar and insulin levels. As blood sugar and insulin levels spike androgen hormones are more active and contribute to acne development by developing more skin cells and boosting sebum production.[1]

2. Dairy Products:

“Two studies also found that young adults who regularly consumed milk or ice cream were four times more likely to suffer from acne”1. It is not yet clear how cow’s milk contributes to acne, but milk is also known to increase insulin and contains amino acids that stimulate the liver which can be linked to acne development.

3. Fast Food: 

Eating a heavily western-style diet rich in calories, fat and refined carbohydrates are typically associated with acne. “One study of over 5,000 Chinese teenagers and young adults found that high-fat diets were associated with a 43% increased risk of developing acne. Regularly eating fast food increased the risk by 17%. A separate study of 2,300 Turkish men found that frequently eating burgers or sausages was linked to a 24% increased risk of developing acne.”1 It is still unclear why fast food may increase the development of acne, but research suspects it is due to the fact that these types of foods alter hormone levels.

4. Omega-6 Fatty Acids:

“Diets rich in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3s are pro-inflammatory and may worsen acne”1, such foods include corn, soy oils and more.

5. Chocolate:

“Exactly why chocolate might increase acne is unclear, although one study found that eating chocolate increased the reactivity of the immune system to acne-causing bacteria, which may help explain these findings.”1  

Acne is strongly linked to inflammation and therefore it is also suggested to refrain from any food sensitivities that may trigger your immune system as a food threat and aggravate inflammation in the body. Here are some nutrients that are anti-inflammatory and can help to keep your skin clear: omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, green tea, turmeric, vitamin A and zinc. All these nutrients contribute to reducing inflammation by play a crucial role in lowering blood sugar levels, providing gut-friendly bacteria, and strengthening your immune system. You can find these anti-acne nutrients in foods such as leafy greens, fruits, nuts, fish, whole grains, and legumes. You are one step closer to clearer skin! 😉 

  

References:

[1] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-that-cause-acne#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

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