The majority of the population suffers from acne at some point in their lives, some worse than others. Although it’s often associated with the teenage years, acne doesn’t play favorites. It can hit children as young as ten and adults well into their later years.
While many doctors will still say that this skin condition is not related to diet, there is growing evidence that diet does play a factor in worsening acne.
A recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that high-glycemic foods and dairy products may increase the chances of developing acne.
Which foods should you avoid if you hope to have a clear complexion?
Refined carbs/processed foods
Refined carbs include high-sugar foods such as packaged cakes, cookies and doughnuts, as well as foods made with white flour, the most obvious of which is white bread. It’s best to avoid all processed foods, as they are known to be inflammatory, and inflammation can irritate and worsen acne.
These include frozen meals, deli meat, pot pies, frozen pizza and most fast food. They are filled with preservatives, additives and other toxins that tend to accumulate in the body, blocking pores, inflaming skin and increasing the risk of an acne flare-up.
Foods that contain wheat
Today’s modern wheat is not like the wheat our ancestors ate. It contains gliadin, which is part of the gluten protein that you’ve probably heard about. The gliadin protein is known to unlock the normal intestinal barrier which allows foreign substances to enter the bloodstream, causing many people who eat wheat to develop inflammatory-related conditions like joint inflammation, bowel inflammation and other digestive problems. This process is often mirrored on the skin, resulting in dermatitis, psoriasis, dryness and, most commonly, acne.
Foods with partially hydrogenated fats
By eliminating processed foods from your diet, you’ll automatically eliminate partially hydrogenated fats as well. Foods like margarine, packaged crackers, french fries, fried chicken, chips and many fast foods typically contain partially hydrogenated fats, which can clog pores and increase acne symptoms like inflammation, skin redness and swelling.
Eating too many spicy foods can cause an acne flare up, according to Tim Mitchell and Allison Dudley, the authors of the book, Acne: The At Your Fingertips Guide. They say this is because chili peppers and hot sauce can actually raise the body’s internal temperature, which can cause the skin to become red and inflamed, exacerbating symptoms.
An abundance of dairy in one’s diet may also worsen acne in some individuals. Dr. Oz reports that a study found in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found a strong link between milk and milk product intake and breakouts. This is thought to be because most of the milk we drink is produced by pregnant cows with high levels of hormones which can cause the oil glands to go into overdrive.
Even if you buy organic milk that is from cows that weren’t treated with BGH (Bovine Growth Hormone), you’ll still get a big dose of hormones from the animals themselves.
A good way to find out if one or more of these foods causes your skin to break out is to eliminate them for at least four weeks and see if you notice an improvement. In addition, try to consume foods that are known to have anti-inflammatory effects, such as vividly colored fruits and vegetables, green tea, wild-caught salmon, nuts and seeds.
-The Alternative Daily