Acne is a common skin condition that affects almost all of us at some point in our lives.
It usually happens during our teenage years, due to changes in hormones that take place in puberty.
However, diet can also have a major effect on our skin - especially in relation to adult acne.
Keep reading to find out which foods can contribute to acne, and which will help to leave you with a clear complexion.
The following list showcases certain food types or food groups that have been linked with causing acne:
According to one study about the effects of diet on acne, there was evidence to show that a diet packed with high-glycemic foods could increase your number of spots and blemishes
Foods that are ‘high-glycemic’ tend to raise your blood sugar very quickly.
They are mostly simple carbohydrates, which contain lots of sugar. Some examples include:
High-glycemic foods can also be highly processed, like fast food and ready meals.
When your blood sugar levels increase suddenly, it causes inflammation within the body. This can cause you to produce more sebum (an oily substance that is responsible for acne).
Eating a diet high in refined sugar could cause you to have oilier skin and therefore, have more breakouts.
Meats that are highly processed and high in fat could also be responsible for causing your acne. Examples include:
These types of meats can stimulate hormones in your body to produce more sebum, which clog the pores and cause acne flare-ups.
Processed meats also contain high levels of sodium (salt) and nitrates.
Cutting your intake of fatty meats is also necessary for a healthy diet, and can reduce your risk of developing certain cancers in the long term.
Drinking alcohol is known to cause dehydration, which can negatively impact your skin by causing wrinkles and early ageing. But is it also responsible for acne?
Alcoholic beverages might not be a direct cause of acne, but they can indirectly affect your skin and make your breakouts worse.
Firstly, alcohol affects hormone levels. Changes in your hormones often lead to more oil production in the skin, which worsens acne.
Alcohol also affects your immune system, making it weaker. This makes it harder for your body to destroy any acne-causing bacteria that comes into contact with your skin.
Last on the list is dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, and cream.
Some individuals have found that cutting out dairy, particularly cow’s milk, led to huge improvements in their acne.
One study (taken on nearly 50,000 women) found that:
Women who drank more than 2 glasses of milk per day were 44% more likely to have acne, compared with women who drank less milk.
Whilst there isn’t any scientific evidence to prove that milk is a direct cause of acne, it is possible that it could leave you with clogged pores and spots due to hormone changes, or an increase in insulin levels.
Whilst some foods can negatively impact your skin, others can help. In fact, changing your diet could be one of the best acne treatments out there, especially for adult acne.
The following foods could help you achieve healthier, clearer skin:
In the same way that high-glycemic foods can cause acne, low-glycemic foods can improve acne.
Some examples include:
By eating plenty of fruit and veg, and other foods with a low-glycemic index, you will likely minimise breakouts and increase your chances of clearer skin.
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are packed full of healthy fats and omega-3s, which are greatly beneficial for your skin.
These healthy fats can:
Adding two portions of oily fish to your diet per week is likely to improve your skin’s complexion, and improve acne.
Some vitamins play a key role in helping us achieve clear, glowing skin. Increasing your intake of vitamin C and E are most likely to do this.
Foods containing vitamin C or E include the following:
|Vitamin C||Vitamin E|
Vitamin C helps boost your immune system, making you less prone to acne caused by bacteria. It also promotes radiant skin and helps to heal your blemished or damaged skin.
Vitamin E protects your skin cells from getting damaged. It also creates a natural barrier on the skin’s surface that locks in moisture. This helps to create and maintain a glowing complexion.
Soya products like soya milk, tofu, and tempeh, contain antioxidants called isoflavones.
These provide anti-ageing protection, limiting your chances of wrinkles and fine lines caused by sun exposure. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, which could improve acne breakouts.
Soya products also contain naturally occurring compounds called phytoestrogens. These resemble the hormone oestrogen.
Phytoestrogens have a beneficial effect on our health, giving you more reason to include them in your diet. For example, they have been linked with reducing menopausal symptoms as well as lowering your risks of developing certain cancers.
The foods you eat can have a major effect on your skin, as well as your overall health.
By opting to avoid acne-causing foods, you could lower your chances of developing health problems later on in life. You might also lose weight, or reduce your blood pressure.
Which foods could lower your blood pressure?Click here
To summarise, if you want clearer skin you should avoid certain foods and eat more of others:
|Foods to avoid||Foods you should eat|
Overall, a balanced diet containing mostly low glycemic foods will benefit both your skin and your health in the long term.
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