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Top 7 Foods That Can Cause Acne

Sep 20, 2021

Did you know that acne affects almost ten percent of the world’s population? This common skin condition has many causes, including bacteria, hormones, blocked pores, inflammation, and the body’s sebum and keratin production. So it may not surprise you to learn that diet can also play a role in the development of acne.

  • Refined Carbohydrates: People who eat foods with a lot of refined grains and sugars are likely to develop acne. This could be because refined carbohydrates rapidly raise blood sugar levels, triggering a rise in insulin. Insulin makes androgen hormones more active, causing rapid cell growth and higher sebum production. This is the leading theory, though more research is needed.
  • Dairy: Some research indicates a link between milk products and acne in teenagers. Interestingly, the studies involved are not very high-quality, and the relationship shown between milk and acne indicates correlation than causation. More research is needed, but some theorize that the amino acids in milk stimulate the liver to produce more of a substance that is linked to acne, and milk’s heightening effect on insulin levels can worsen acne severity.
  • Fast Food: It may not surprise you to learn that a Western-style diet packed with calories, fat, and refined carbohydrates, is linked to a high prevalence of acne. Several studies in different parts of the world affirm a link between acne and fast food, though it’s unclear why fast food can cause acne. Some believe it may affect gene expression and hormone levels.
  • Omega 6 Fats: Another part of the Western diet, omega-6 fats are found in corn and soy oils. These fats cause inflammation in the body, and that can lead to acne. Omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand, can reduce inflammation and acne severity.
  • Chocolate: Long considered a suspect in the development of acne, chocolate may increase the reactivity of the body’s immune system to acne-causing bacteria. More research is needed, though, to determine the true relationship between chocolate and acne.
  • Whey Protein: A popular supplement, whey protein contains the amino acids leucine and glutamine. Because these amino acids can make skin cells grow and divide more quickly and stimulate the body to produce insulin, it is theorized that they can cause acne.
  • Foods on Your Sensitivity List: You can eat a healthful diet, low in acne triggers and high in vitamins, healthy fats, and lean protein, and still have acne. Why? It could be because acne is an inflammatory condition, and food sensitivity reactions increase inflammation in the body. Learning which foods affect you personally can help you clear up your skin.

When you need expert advice and help caring for your skin, contact Arlington Dermatology. For over 40 years, our Board-Certified dermatologists have been serving patients, making the health and welfare of our patients our top priority. We offer innovative treatment methods using state-of-the-art medical equipment in our conveniently located, patient-friendly facility in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. Contact us or call 847-392-5440.