While there’s no doubt that diet plays a major role in healthy skin, the link between diet and acne stirs controversy in the skincare industry.
Many estheticians don’t know exactly which foods worsen acne, yet there are a few types of foods scientifically proven to aggravate acne.
To lessen the chance of nasty breakouts, people with acne-prone skin should avoid these 4 types of foods:
- High Glycemic Index Foods:
Starchy, carbohydrate-rich foods, high-sugar foods, fast food, soda, alcohol and fruit juices will cause a spike in your blood sugar levels, which causes inflammation. A high glycemic diet may also result in obesity. In many cases, obesity has been shown to be connected to hormonal imbalances that negatively affect your skin. A low glycemic diet can help to stabilize hormones, improve acne flare-ups, and help with weight loss.
Sushi, shellfish, kelp, soy, iodized salt, fast foods, processed foods and lunch meats are some examples of foods high in iodides. In small quantities, these foods are usually okay, but large amounts of iodides will actually irritate the follicle wall, resulting in new acne. Iodine can also be found in many vitamins and supplements, so check the labels.
Milk, ice cream, cheese, yogurt and whey protein are huge acne triggers. The jury is still out on why dairy causes acne, but it’s believed to be because of the hormones present in milk. It’s important to remember that large amounts of hormones are present in all types of dairy (even from cows not treated with hormones) because only pregnant cows produce milk. Ice cream is especially aggravating for acne-prone skin because of the combination of dairy and sugar in high amounts.
- High-Androgen Foods:
Peanuts, fast food, hydrogenated oils, animal fat and processed meats have been shown to worsen acne due to their high-androgen activity. Reducing saturated fats and avoiding foods naturally high in androgens will help to regulate hormones. Increasing fiber intake and replacing fatty meats with fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids will help reduce androgen activity.
You may find that you’re sensitive to a food that’s not on this list or you may find that these foods have no effect on your skin whatsoever. Each individual is different, and genetics may play a role in determining how your body reacts to certain foods. The most important thing to remember in regards to diet is that it’s more about lifestyle than avoiding certain foods altogether. Moderation is key.
Help your skin by eating a well-balanced diet that gives your body all its essential vitamins and minerals. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and healthy fats helps with wound healing, circulation, balancing hormones and reducing inflammation. For vitamins, we love pantothenic acid, fish oil and zinc to help reduce breakouts. (Avoid Biotin, which will cause cystic breakouts.)