Acne is a skin condition that is caused by inflammation of the pores. Nearly every human being on the planet has an outbreak of acne at some point in their lives. Although it is very common, there is no particular cure for it yet. But don’t worry because with some effort, it is very much preventable. With just some simple changes in your diet, you can substantially reduce the chances of getting acne and even get rid of it.
What Is Acne?
Simply put, acne breaks out when the oil produced by the skin blocks the hair follicles, causing inflammation. Blackheads, whiteheads and pimples are all types of acne. It occurs mostly in adolescent teens but can be found in adults as well.
Acne is not a danger to health but can leave behind scars. It develops mostly on the face but can be found on the neck, back and chest regions as well as the shoulders and rarely the legs.
While scientists and researchers have not yet isolated a cause for the condition, they have highlighted a number of issues that might contribute to acne buildup.
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Possible Causes for Acne
There are a number of possible reasons why acne may develop, which vary from person to person, so it is important to speak to a dermatologist before beginning a serious treatment. Here are some of the possible causes for acne:
- Hormones: A high percentage of acne buildup occurs in teenagers, which researchers have attributed to hormonal changes that occur during puberty. The hormone responsible for this is testosterone, which prompts the body to secrete sebum (the oil that blocks hair follicles) in higher quantities.
- Bacteria: Bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes are naturally occurring in the skin and, if present in excess, may break apart the sebum that can cause inflammation.
- Dietary Habits: Although it is not known for sure, the food you eat may trigger acne, increase the chances of getting it, or make it worse if you already have it. In fact, many studies have shown a high correlation between certain kinds of foods and high levels of acne buildup.
While bacterial or hormonal causes of acne may require medicinal care administered by skin specialists, all kinds of acne can be dealt with by changing dietary habits.
Here is a list of foods to avoid that promote acne buildup
Found in many foods such as bread, cereals, noodles, and baked foods, gluten has been linked to causing inflammation. Although some of these items can be a necessary staple in your diet, strong research has suggested gluten to be responsible for other diseases as well, such as dermatitis herpetiformis and psoriasis. Hence, limiting gluten intake on a daily basis will not just be beneficial for reducing acne but also improve your overall health.
Sugar has strong ties to acne and many other problems. When consumed excessively through sodas, candy, desserts and so many other sweet foods, it can bring about acne breakouts. This happens because foods nowadays tend to contain a high concentration of sugar, so even consuming a can of coca cola may cause a breakout a few hours later. Sad news for those with a sweet tooth.
We’ve all grown up hearing that eggs and milk are the symbols of a healthy diet, but in some situations such as this one, dairy products (butter, cheese, ice-cream and custards for starters) have been found to cause acne.
The first reason is the increased production of insulin that some dairy products like milk induce when consumed, which increases inflammation as sebum production heightens. The second reason is hormonal. Dairy has been linked to disturb hormones in the body which may directly affect acne production on the skin.
4. Fast Food
This is not new but important to reiterate. Greasy and fried foods have a strong link with pore inflammation, as research has shown them to be responsible for asthma in young children. Since inflammation has a direct link with pimples, it is much healthier to avoid fast food.
A study showed that eating fast food such as hot dogs and burgers increased the risk of developing acne by 24%. While not exactly sure why, some researchers suggest it is because fast foods can cause hormonal imbalances which may contribute to acne buildup.
5. Junk Food
Junk foods like potato chips have very low nutritional value and are high contributors to producing hormonal imbalances which can cause acne. This is because of the high levels of carbohydrates and insulin found within junk food that result in inflammation. It is important to completely avoid junk food if you are suffering from acne or are trying to prevent it from developing.
6. Whey Protein
Whey protein provides important nutrients for the body such as amino acids. However, when consumed at concentrated levels, these nutrients can result in acne because amino acids prompt the body to produce more insulin.
Since whey protein is a dietary supplement, studies on male athletes have shown a significant correlation between it and acne breakouts. This can also be attributed to the presence of dairy (whey is a byproduct of cow’s milk) which could disturb hormonal levels.
7. Foods You’re Sensitive To
Since the most we currently know about acne is that it is inflammatory, you should avoid any and all foods that might cause you to swell up. This can include food allergies of a certain type.
Another way this could occur is if you have food sensitivities, which can also cause inflammation, leading to acne buildup. A possible solution to try and figure out which foods you are sensitive to is to try an elimination diet under supervision.
Wrapping It Up
Despite the many links that have been discovered with dietary habits and acne, more research is still needed to reach conclusive results.