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The Simple Connection Between Acne and Diet

At the offices of Brian J. Williams, MD, PC, we’re here to address every potential cause of acne as part of our acne treatment services. This highly common condition can also lead to other issues like scarring or self-esteem problems, but we’ll work with you to locate the primary factors in your acne breakouts and provide treatments to address them.

One of the handful of questions we’re asked most often when it comes to acne treatment: Does my diet affect my chances of acne breakouts and the efficacy of treatments? The answer is simple: Yes, it absolutely does. There have been dozens of studies specifically linking acne and diet, and in particular identifying certain ingredients that are known to cause or exacerbate acne issues. With that in mind, let’s look at a few dietary areas to avoid, plus one element you might actually want to increase with acne are in mind.

Areas to Avoid

There are a couple specific products or ingredients to try and stay away from if possible:

  • Low-fat dairy products: There’s a specific connection between all dairy products and acne formation, but in particular, low-fat dairy products seem to have the largest link. Scientists still aren’t entirely sure why either of these facts are the case, though there are theories out there about the way the hormones found in milk and other dairy cause inflammation in various areas of the body. As for why low-fat products have an even greater link to acne formation, it’s theorized that those same hormones perhaps become a bit more concentrated when the fat is removed.
  • Sugar, white bread and other simple carbohydrates: All of the foods we just listed have one thing in common: They’re all high on the glycemic index. Once again, while scientists aren’t completely sure why this is the case, foods that are highly glycemic have a major link to acne – again, this could be due to hormone-related issues, particularly the growth hormone insulin and another called IGF-I, which can exacerbate acne. In addition, processed and refined carbs turn into sugar in the blood, spiking these levels and potentially contributing.

Areas to Promote

On the flip side, recent research has revealed a particular nutrient that might be highly beneficial for acne: Polyphenols. These are natural nutrients found in many foods, including nuts, berries, veggies, dark chocolate, olive oil, and even red wine or green tea.

What’s so great about polyphenols? Well, they contain huge quantities of antioxidants, which are beneficial to the skin, plus have anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties that help limit the harmful oils in your skin that can cause acne. Look to promote these kinds of plant-based foods to help reduce acne risks.

For more on your diet and acne, or to learn about any of our acne treatments, skin cancer prevention treatments or other skin care services, speak to the staff at the offices of Brian J. Williams, MD, PC today.