Acne reminiscent of the teenage years isn’t the “youthful” look most adults are aiming for. Breakouts can be frustrating and feel like something that should have been left in the past, along with awkward prom dates and first jobs.
We wanted to tackle this for our readers and our preliminary research indicates some exciting news that puts at least some amount of control in the hands of those with this condition. We found that adults who want clearer skin could benefit from making a few diet changes. Now that’s something doable. The foods below have been proven to increase the severity of acne breakouts.
Although typically associated with adolescent years, acne can flare up in adulthood. And of course, diet doesn’t cause acne, but it can drive improvements or may make it worse. For some, cutting back on dairy and refined carbohydrates may result in clearer skin. Take a closer look at the research concerning diet and acne.
Acne is caused by hormones, along with oil, skin cells and bacteria that clog hair follicles and pores. Diet isn’t believed to cause acne, but it can make it worse.
In 2018, the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics studied adults with moderate to severe acne for two weeks. During the study, half of the participants were asked to follow a low-glycemic diet, while the other half followed a more conventional diet. At the end of the two weeks, those who stuck with the low-glycemic diet experienced a significant decrease in something called IGF-1, which is known to play a role in the severity of acne.
Another 2018 study, which was published in Nutrients, connected dairy intake to acne, which was previously believed that have little effect on breakouts. Specifically, milk of all kinds were associated with increased risk of acne, with low-fat milk causing the biggest increase.
A low-glycemic diet takes into account how specific foods affect blood sugar. Foods low on the glycemic index (GI), a ranking system created in the 1980s, take more time to digest and do not cause a dramatic rise in blood sugar. In comparison, foods that are quickly digested will cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Foods with higher GI values are thought to make breakouts worse.
So which foods don’t belong in a low glycemic diet? Simple carbohydrates and processed sugar. So it seems that for those who would like to tackle this issue for themselves, steering clear of white bread, baked goods and soda may be the best choice.
Additionally, cutting back on dairy may very well prove beneficial.
(Deciding to let go of dairy products could deprive an individual of important nutrients, so supplementing with a multivitamin and foods high in calcium and vitamin D may be necessary.)
If diet changes and healthy skincare habits, like washing and moisturizing skin, don’t improve acne, it’s probably time to visit an expert. A dermatologist can recommend additional lifestyle changes and may suggest medication to manage severe breakouts.