This is one of the questions I answer a lot…
Can food cause acne? Some women believe that it can because whenever they eat foods like butter or groundnut, pimples begin to pop on their faces.
Others do not experience that and they don’t believe it anytime food is mentioned as a cause of acne.
Googling the answer to this doesn’t help either, because there is no unified response to this question.
While some say that food causes acne, others say it does not.
Can food cause acne?
There is no scientific proof that food causes acne. Studies are inconclusive. So, we cannot certainly say that foods cause acne.
That is why some people are of the opinion that it cannot cause acne.
But there are research studies that have shown that foods play a significant role in the development of acne.
And there, you have your answer.
So, what you eat might not be a direct cause of acne, it can sometimes trigger or worsen your breakouts.
How can food influence the development of acne?
The food you eat can affect the production of oil in your skin, skin inflammation, and hormonal regulation.
There are certain foods that increase the level of blood sugar. Some do that more quickly than others.
When the level of blood sugar in your body increases, your body releases a hormone called insulin. Excess insulin in your blood makes your oil glands produce more oil than usual, and this increases your chances of getting acne.
What foods should I stay away from?
High glycemic foods include refined sugars and carbohydrates.
Foods such as cheese, macaroni, white bread, sugar, white rice, foods made with white flour (this includes cereals, desserts, crackers, etc.), sweetened beverages, and processed foods are highly glycemic, and they can cause your blood sugar levels to increase rapidly.
This, in turn, triggers changes in your body that increase the production of oil in your skin. Excess oil in your skin can clog your skin pores and cause acne to appear on your skin.
To prevent this from happening, then you need to stay away from any food that is refined or white.
For example, you can eat brown rice instead of white rice or eat whole grains instead of white bread. The alternatives have a lower glycemic index and do not increase blood levels as their white counterparts do.
Milk and other dairy products
According to AAD, there are studies that have been able to create a link between the consumption of milk and other dairy products and an increased risk of having acne.
Nevertheless, it cannot be said for certain that milk causes acne.
Just like highly glycemic foods, dairy foods stimulate the excess production of insulin which can lead to the appearance of breakouts or worsen the severity of acne on the skin.
These might not happen to everyone though. Some people can handle drinking milk and not having breakouts while others have breakouts after they do.
If you have acne-prone skin, then you want to stay away from dairy products. Even if others can withstand these effects, your skin might not be able to.
Lovers of fast food might not want to hear this, but it is important that you do.
Apart from your skin, fast foods do not benefit you in any way. The long-term effects of fast foods do more harm to your body than good.
Fast foods are usually rich in fat, calories, and refined carbohydrates. Though it is not certain that it causes acne, eating fast food regularly has been connected with an increased risk of developing acne.
It may sometimes affect hormonal levels in a way that promotes the development of acne on your skin.
So, when next you feel the urge to eat foods like burgers, French fries, milkshakes, sodas, nuggets, hot dogs, think about your skin and look the other way.
This is no good news, especially for chocolate lovers like me.
Chocolate is one of the suspected acne triggers. Just like most foods, the connection between chocolate and acne is controversial.
A recent study showed that men with acne-prone skin who consumed dark chocolate daily experienced an increase in the number of acne lesions on their skin after two weeks.
Why this increase in the number of acne lesions on the skin occurred is however still unclear. But now, we know that there is a possibility that it can happen.
So to be on the safe side, especially if you have acne-prone skin, avoid eating chocolate. If you must, it should be very little and not regular.
What foods should I eat?
Not all foods are bad. There are those that provide your skin with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and they do not spike insulin levels in your blood.
Here are some of them:
- Low glycemic foods, such as whole grains, unprocessed fruits, and vegetables, legumes, etc., do not increase sugar levels and help to improve acne.
- Foods rich in zinc such as pumpkin seeds, cashews, oysters, turkey, etc. are anti-inflammatory and help to reduce the levels of acne-causing bacteria in the skin.
- Foods rich in antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids such as fish, nuts, and eggs, etc., help to neutralize toxins in the body and may reduce inflammation.
- Foods rich in vitamin A and E such as carrots, sweet potato, tuna, spinach, etc., help to lessen the severity of acne.
Though there is no certain proof that food is a direct cause of acne, some foods can trigger the appearance of acne or even worsen its severity.
So, I advise you to stay away from these foods and eat healthily. One way or the other, food affects how every part of our body works, including the skin.
Make sure the food you eat has a positive impact on your skin.
What other foods do you know or think causes acne? Let me know in the comments. Also leave any questions you might have in the comments too.