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Can Diet Affect Acne?

There are so many myths surrounding acne. From using magnets in order to make zits disappear, to the myth that eating pizza gives you bumps and blackheads. It’s the latter that we are going to focus on. It is finally time to debunk the myths and put all of the misinformation to rest. So, can diet actually affect acne? In order to provide a proper answer, we first need to understand what acne is and how it works.

What is acne?

Acne is a very common skin condition in which individual hair follicles are clogged with a mixture of oil and dead skin cells. This occurrence often results in the appearance of blackheads, whiteheads, and zits. Acne seems to affect teenagers most often. This may be due to the fact that during puberty the sebaceous glands are activated. These glands are responsible for producing sebum, the natural oil that keeps our skin lubricated. It is this oil that is trapped by dead cells, thus resulting in acne. Even though it is common in teens, it can and does happen in our adult years as well.

How does diet play a role in it all?

To say that diet has no effect on your acne is actually incorrect. Believe it or not, diet does affect acne and causes outbreaks, but not in the way myths will have you believe. It all boils down to low-glycemic and high-glycemic diets.

Foods with a high-glycemic-index include your basic carbohydrates like white potatoes, white rice, white bread, potato chips, french fries, doughnuts, soda, and other sugary drinks. Pretty much any foods that you should consume in moderation (or not at all) have a high-glycemic-index. Low-glycemic foods, however, include natural, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.

Researchers and scientists hypothesized that there was a direct correlation between a low-glycemic diet and reduced acne. The theory was that low-glycemic foods would keep your blood sugar from spiking.

It’s this spiking that can force your body into producing more sebum (natural oil) while also causing inflammation. Keep in mind that inflammation is often a result of a build-up of dead skin cells. The combination of inflammation and overproduction of sebum can lead to acne.

To put this to the test, researchers placed 2,258 individuals on a low-glycemic diet made popular by the weight-loss program South Beach Diet. As a result, 87% of the patients experienced reduced acne and 91% reported that they used less acne medication and treatment than they had previously used before the study.

This proves that proper regulation of your diet can indeed improve and reduce your acne.

There are some exceptions, like certain dairy products that have a low-glycemic index but are still being linked to acne. This is purely theoretical as more research needs to be done to prove or deny this speculation. Regardless, our primary question has been answered.

Does diet affect acne? The answer is yes, yes it can.

If you want more information, check out our other posts on acne and how it affects you. If you’d like to speak to a professional or would like to explore acne treatment, our experts at The Dermatology Group are ready to give you all of the advice, resources, and options you need. If you’re in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, give us a call today!

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