Current Status And Studies
As noted above, a comprehensive review of the literature in 2004 concluded that there was no conclusive evidence on the effects of diet on acne. Has there been any progress since that time? Another review in 2005, restated that, within the dermatology community, a consensus had emerged that diet was unrelated to the etiology of acne. That review summarized the few poorly designed studies, more than 30 years old, which contain very little objective data. In general, those studies were inconclusive due to methodological limitations: small sample size, lack of appropriate controls, potential recall bias, incomplete reported results or failure to clearly define the changes in acne.,
Interestingly, that review mentioned that there should be a link between diet and acne as many dietary factors influence a variety of hormones and growth factors that influence sebaceous gland biology and production of sebum. At the end of the article there was a statement that there have not been any recent studies to explore the relationship of diet and acne.
These studies failed to support a link between the consumption of chocolate or sugar and acne. Thus, no evidence exists on the role of diet in acne.
Which Carbohydrates To Choose For Acne
Based on the above pathways, a high intake of sugary foods and other foods that have a high glycaemic index may aggravate acne.
In fact, many studies have confirmed that the excess of consumption of food with a high glycaemic index is a major promoting or exacerbating factor on acne
Avoiding sugary food and high glycaemic index foods like white bread, white pasta and white rice, and other refined carbohydrates, may therefore be beneficial for acne.
Substituting these for foods with fibre and a lower glycaemic index, such as brown rice, brown bread and brown pasta as well as legumes and vegetables would seem like a reasonable change in diet for acne.
The Link Between Food And Acne The Theory
To understand the link between food and acne, lets review how acne develops in the first place.
Pimples form when the following occur at the same time:
- Excess sebum production too much sebum is produced by the sebaceous gland
- Hyperkeratinization The hair follicle cells get clogged so the sebum cant escape
- Cutibacterium acnes this bacteria is normally found in the skin begins to over grow
- Inflammation this is when the immune system begins to be react to the hair follicle which is clogged, has a build up of sebum, and a build up of bacteria.
The diagram below shows how food could trigger acne.
Foods containing carbohydrates with a high glycaemic index and dairy products may increase Insulin, IGF-1 and androgens and trigger acne.
Read Also: How To Clear Up Cystic Acne
Green Smoothie For Acne
Lets start with a simple green smoothie for acne. This arugula smoothie recipe is quick to make yet so delicious.
The star of this smoothie isnt spinach but arugula. Spinach can make acne symptoms worse since it contains iodine. Arugula, on the other hand, is packed with vitamins and minerals that may help you reduce symptoms. Its slightly peppery flavor tastes great in smoothies. Its a good source of zinc, an essential mineral with anti-inflammatory properties. Zinc can help you relieve skin irritation and may even help reduce the appearance of acne scars.
What Youll Need:
- 1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or frozen
- 2 kiwi
- 1 apple, cut into chunks
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- ½ cup of coconut water
How to Prepare:
Put all ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You can replace the coconut water with plain filtered water if desired. Add some ice cubes for an even more refreshing taste.
Foods That Cause Acne
When it comes to foods that cause breakouts, it varies. Just as it takes time and attention to figure out which foods do and dont work for your digestion, the same goes for breakouts. We are all bio-individualsyour breakout triggers might be very different from your coworker, best friend, or sibling. Simply observing how your skin reacts to everything from yogurt and cereal to cake and hot dogs is helpful in distinguishing what makes acne worse. Generally speaking, foods with a higher sugar content can cause a rise in insulin levels. When insulin is high, it alters other hormones that can affect the skin.
Speaking of insulin, sugar can be an acne culprit. When we consume refined sugar , were consuming refined carbs. And these carbs are quickly absorbed into our bloodstream, raising blood sugar levels. The increase in insulin levels also pushes the excess sugar into your cells, which can lead to inflammation and potentially turn into acne.
Read Also: How To Take Away Acne
Refined Grains And Sugars
People with acne tend to consume more refined carbohydrates than people with little or no acne (
Foods rich in refined carbohydrates include:
- Bread, crackers, cereal or desserts made with white flour
- Pasta made with white flour
- White rice and rice noodles
- Sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages
- Sweeteners like cane sugar, maple syrup, honey or agave
One study found that people who frequently consumed added sugars had a 30% greater risk of developing acne, while those who regularly ate pastries and cakes had a 20% greater risk .
This increased risk may be explained by the effects refined carbohydrates have on blood sugar and insulin levels.
Refined carbohydrates are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, which rapidly raises blood sugar levels. When blood sugars rise, insulin levels also rise to help shuttle the blood sugars out of the bloodstream and into your cells.
However, high levels of insulin are not good for those with acne.
Insulin makes androgen hormones more active and increases insulin-like growth factor 1 . This contributes to acne development by making skin cells grow more quickly and by boosting sebum production .
On the other hand, low-glycemic diets, which do not dramatically raise blood sugars or insulin levels, are associated with reduced acne severity .
While the research on this topic is promising, more is needed to further understand how refined carbohydrates contribute to acne.
Studies Showing No Link Between High Glycemic Load Diets And Acne
Three studies conducted between 2010 and 2019 have found no link between glycemic load and acne.
In the first study, the researchers placed men with acne on either a high or low glycemic load diet for eight weeks and observed no significant difference in acne between the two groups at the end of this period.13
In the second study, researchers interviewed acne patients about their diet and used this information to categorize the patients as consuming either a high or low glycemic load diet. Again, the researchers found no difference in acne between the high and low glycemic load groups.2
In the third study, scientists asked people with acne who were using topical benzoyl peroxide to treat their acne to either eat a low glycemic load diet or follow their usual diet for 12 weeks. They found no difference in acne improvement between the two groups at the end of this period.14
A 2010 study published in the journal Nutrients randomly assigned 58 men to consume a high or low glycemic load diet for eight weeks. Although men consuming the low glycemic load diet saw greater improvement in acne compared to men consuming the high glycemic load diet, the improvements were not large enough to be considered statistically significant. Therefore, this study concluded that a low glycemic load diet did not result in acne improvements or increased insulin sensitivity.13
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Forehead Acne
Acne Vs Pimples Vs Breakouts
According to Wikipedia, Acne is also known as acne vulgaris, is a long-term skin condition that occurs when dead skin cells and oil from the skin clog hair follicles. A Pimple is a kind of comedo that results from excess sebum and dead skin cells getting trapped in the pores of the skin. While a Breakout is an American slang term for acne vulgaris.
To simplify it,
Acne is a skin disease condition where the pores on your face or other parts of the body become clogged or inflamed. This leads to bumps called Pimples, cysts, whiteheads, and blackheads.
Endless products exist to eliminate acne once and for all, but the foods you eat also play a part in managing acne.
So what are the common foods that help prevent acne? In this article, you’ll learn more about a diet for acne and foods that you can eat that may help you.
Mixed Berry Pomegranate Popsicles
Berries definitely make the list of acne-fighting plant-based foods! Their color gives away a high antioxidant content, plus berries are filled with vitamin A, E, and C. This Mixed Berry Pomegranate Popsicles recipe by Sabrina Estafo calls on all the acne-fighting resources of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and is naturally sweetened with pomegranate juice, lemon juice, and a bit of maple syrup.
Don’t Miss: How To Prevent Nodular Acne
Make A Lasting Impact On Your Skin
What wouldnt you do for clear skin? Americans spend billions on over-the-counter acne treatments every year, but those expensive scrubs, masks, and creams wont fix any breakouts if its the inside thats calling the shots.
Skin is how our bodies talk to us and if we dont pay close attention to what we put into our bodies, any message we get will no doubt be in red.
So how do we make sure the gut-skin communication is flawless?
Research has shown that low-glycemic, high-protein foods play a significant role in improving acne. So, start with a clean, wholesome foundation, like a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables!
Here are 10 of the best foods to help make zits and blemishes a thing of the past.
Kale outshines the other members of the cabbage family because its the most nutrient dense.
The antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in kale work to reduce hyperpigmentation, which is the key to evening out your skin tone. Vitamin C also promotes collagen formation, helping to repair acne scars faster by increasing cell turnover rate.
Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, is ideal for fighting acne and warding off wrinkles. There are hundreds of retinol creams and serums on the market that promise to make your acne disappear, but for those who are under age 30, this strong ingredient may be too harsh for the skin.
So, eat it instead! Or at least, the original form.
- hydrate skin
- prevent any future breakouts
Oysters Beans Poultry Fish
No one knows exactly why, but getting enough zinc appears to help put the brakes on breakouts. It may be that zinc helps to control the release of male hormones that kick-start acne. Zinc also helps the body absorb vitamin A, another important nutrient for healthy skin. Aim for: The recommended amount for men is 11 milligrams for women, its 8 milligrams. Ninety grams of oysters has 30 milligrams of zinc, while the same amount of dark turkey meat has 4 milligrams. Helpful hint: Vegetarians who avoid animal products altogether should consider consulting a nutritionist for advice on supplementing with zinc.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Chest Acne Naturally
Watermelon Benefits For The Skin
When you eat watermelon, nitric oxide is produced which can help old spots and pimples heal.
A slice of watermelon can refresh your skin, thanks to the lycopene and amino acids contained within.
It also gives your skin a boost of vitamin A, B6 and C plus helps protect it from UV rays.
The redder the flesh of the watermelon, the better it is for your skin which is something you might want to consider.
The Greasy Diet And Gluten Myths
You may have been tempted to forgo that slice of pizza or that hamburger in the belief that greasy foods can cause acne. There is no evidence that the grease in food means more oil on your face. Many greasy foods are also high-glycemic foods. So avoiding greasy, high-glycemic foods is possibly helpful for your acne, and definitely for your overall health. The idea that the gluten-free diet means acne-free skin is also a myth. Recently many people have postulated that eating a gluten-free diet can help clear up acne. While having a gluten intolerance or celiac disease can cause skin a rash or hives, there is no scientific evidence that gluten causes acne.
Also Check: How To Remove Cystic Acne
Orange Chia Yogurt Bread
Source: Orange Chia Yogurt Bread
This Orange Chia Yogurt Bread recipe by Jessica Bose is not only a healthy breakfast bread alternative both filling and super nutritious but its loaded with skin-loving vitamin C, antioxidant-rich chia seeds, and whole wheat flour, which is that added complex carb that your skin will soak up!
What These Research Findings Mean For You
While more research is needed to know whether certain foods can worsen acne, there is something that you can do right now if you think your diet affects your acne.
Dermatologists recommend that you pay attention to your breakouts, and ask yourself these questions:
Does any food or beverage seem to trigger a breakout or worsen your existing acne?
If something seems to trigger a breakout, what happens when you dont have that food or beverage for a day, a week, or a month?
Read Also: How To Clear Up Acne
How Does Diet Affect The Skin
One thing that can affect your skin is diet. Certain foods raise your blood sugar more quickly than others.
When your blood sugar rises quickly, it causes the body to release a hormone called insulin. Having excess insulin in your blood can cause your oil glands to produce more oil, increasing your risks of acne.
Some foods that trigger spikes in insulin include:
- white bread
Because of their insulin-producing effects, these foods are considered high-glycemic carbohydrates. That means theyre made of simple sugars.
Chocolate is also believed to worsen acne, but it doesnt seem to affect all people, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology .
Other researchers have studied the connections between a so-called Western diet or standard American diet and acne. This kind of diet is based heavily on:
- saturated fats
- trans fats
According to research reported in the Journal of Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, these kinds of foods stimulate the production of hormones that can cause excess oil to be created and secreted by oil glands.
Theyve also found that a Western diet is linked to greater inflammation, which can also contribute to acne problems.
Eating low-glycemic foods made of complex carbohydrates may reduce your risk of developing acne. Complex carbohydrates are found in the following foods:
- whole grains
- unprocessed fruits and vegetables
- salmon, mackerel, and other kinds of fatty fish
Glycemic Index & Glycemic Load Defined
Glycemic index and glycemic load are two measures of a food’s ability to spike blood sugar levels. Although similar, each measures a slightly different capacity, and when it comes to acne, it is the glycemic load that is of concern.
The glycemic index is a number from 1-100 that represents how quickly a particular food will cause a rise in blood sugar levels.
When a person eats a food with a GI of 100 it will cause an extremely quick spike in blood sugar, whereas eating a food with a GI of 1 will cause a very slow rise in blood sugar.3
The glycemic index of a food only tells part of the story. It tells us how quickly the blood sugar spikes but not by how much – this is where the glycemic load comes in.
The glycemic load is a number from 1-20, which adds onto the glycemic index by taking into account both how quickly the blood sugar rises and by how much when you eat a particular portion size of the food.
For instance, watermelon has a high glycemic index , but a typical serving of watermelon does not contain a lot of carbohydrates, which means the blood sugar doesn’t rise by much, and therefore, the glycemic load is low.4
Foods both high on the glycemic index and glycemic load include foods like soft drinks, candy, or bread, with large amounts of processed sugar or carbohydrates.
Foods both low on the glycemic index and glycemic load include foods like vegetables, meat, some fruits, and beans.
You May Like: How Do You Get Rid Of Cystic Acne
Effective Acne Treatment Includes Skin Care And Medication
While diet may play a role in causing your breakouts or worsening your acne, keeping your skin clear requires more than a diet change. Using acne friendly skin care and acne medication helps to prevent new breakouts.
1 Rouhani P, Berman B, et al. Poster 706: Acne improves with a popular, low glycemic diet from South Beach. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009 60:AB14.
2 Smith RN, Mann NJ, et al. The effect of a high-protein, low glycemicload diet versus a conventional, high glycemicload diet on biochemical parameters associated with acne vulgaris: A randomized, investigator-masked, controlled trial. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007 57:247-56.
3 Kwon HH, Yoon JY, et al. Clinical and histological effect of a low glycaemic load diet in treatment of acne vulgaris in Korean patients: a randomized, controlled trial. Acta Derm Venereol. 2012 92:241-6.
4 Cerman AA, Akta E, et al. Dietary glycemic factors, insulin resistance, and adiponectin levels in acne vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016 75:155-62.
5 Adebamowo CA, Spiegelman D, et al. High school dietary dairy intake and teenage acne. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005 52:207-14.
6 Adebamowo CA, Spiegelman D, et al. Milk consumption and acne in adolescent girls. Dermatol Online J. 2006 12:1.
7 Adebamowo CA, Spiegelman D, et al. Milk consumption and acne in teenaged boys. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 58:787-93.
Adebamowo CA, Spiegelman D, et al. Milk consumption and acne in adolescent girls. Dermatol Online J. 2006 12:1.