If you’re struggling with acne, you’ve probably researched skincare and beauty products to soothe your symptoms without addressing the core causes of your condition. If you’re fighting your mirror at the same time you’re running around with work, school, or kids, you may be compromising on your diet to save time. That may be your problem.
There’s a demonstrable connection between diet and acne because the food we eat goes right to our skin. The nutrients (or lack of them) can create the conditions that cause acne. These include increased sebum, out of control bacteria and hormones, and inflammation.
Read on to learn about the main foods that cause acne. Acknowledging this diet connection may be your first step to clearer skin.
1. Refined Foods
Refinement sounds like a good thing, but in modern food production it refers to many nutrient-poor processes. Refined carbs and sugars that have been processed make up a lot of our diet. These foods include store-bought bread, pasta, rice, and cereal as well as soda and artificially sweetened desserts.
All these foods hit your bloodstream quickly, raising your blood sugar levels more than natural ingredients would. These blood sugar spikes can cause acne as your system fights to get the sugar out of your blood and to other parts of your body. This affects your hormones, sebum production, and cell growth. All three can cause acne.
2. Fatty Foods
There are several kinds of fatty foods that can cause inflammation and lead to acne. We all know fast food is bad for us, but here’s another reason. Those greasy burgers, fries, hotdogs, and yes, even the chicken, can also increase your risk for acne. The milkshakes and sodas contribute to your refined sugars tally too.
We don’t even know exactly why fast-food causes acne. We think it has something to do with hormones, but we need more studies to confirm it. Regardless, you already have plenty of reasons to avoid fast food and this is another one.
I mentioned that there are multiple kinds of fat you need to avoid. The other one is Omega-6 fatty acids. These fats mostly come from corn and soy cooking oils. Eating them in excess causes, you guessed it, more inflammation.
So, if you know these cooking oils come into your life (or if you have to eat fast-food sometimes to save time), be sure to supplement yourself with Omega-3, either from pills or fatty fish and nuts. It may not get you completely back on track, but it might at least push the balance in your favor away from inflammation and acne.
3. Dairy Products
Dairy products like milk and ice cream have been shown to increase people’s risk of acne. Again, since acne is such a widespread symptom in our bodies, we haven’t figured out exactly why. The leading theories suggest that it may have to do with insulin levels or alterations to liver activity.
Either way, we have shown that it’s true: dairy products cause skin inflammation and initiate or aggravate acne symptoms.
Acne can derail your whole week, especially if you have confidence issues or a job that requires a professional appearance. You may have tried OTC remedies or beauty products without success. I’m guessing you’ve changed your soap more than once, looking for the right balance.
Another place to look might be your diet. The inflammation connection describes how what we eat goes right to our skin, offering it either nutrients or inflammation depending on its contents. Try avoiding refined carbs and sugars, fast food, Omega-6 fatty acids, and dairy to see if your diet is contributing to your persistent acne.