Is there a connection between acne and the foods we eat?

A lot of patients ask if their food choices might cause them to breakout. What you eat affects how your body functions, and your skin is your biggest organ. With that said, what is good for your body is also good for your skin. But, are there foods that can actually make your acne better or worse? The short answer: yes.

The biggest takeaway from recent studies on diet and acne is to eat a well-balanced diet and foods that are low on the glycemic index. The glycemic index, or GI, ranks food and drinks on a scale of one to 100 depending on how quickly your blood sugar rises after you consume them. Low-glycemic foods include most fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. A low GI diet is ideal for keeping blood sugar levels steady, reducing inflammation, and regulating hormone levels. High GI foods include foods such as white breads, pasta, rice, and sugar. These foods cause a spike in blood sugar levels, increase inflammation, and stimulate the production of hormones which can cause excess oil to be secreted by oil glands, therefore putting you at risk for developing acne or making it worse.

Other studies have shown a connection between acne and dairy, particularly skim milk. It is unclear why there is correlation between skim milk and acne, but it is thought that it may be due to how it is processed or that it contains less estrogen, a hormone shown to reduce acne. Dairy, in general, is alleged to increase inflammation in the body, contributing to changes in hormones and stimulating the production of acne.

Keeping your skin clear typically requires a consistent skin care routine with acne friendly products or prescription medications. However, if you find that you’re continuing to break out or are not getting the results you want, consider making a few positive changes to your diet. You just might be amazed by the outcome.

Here are some guidelines to achieve clearer skin:

Foods to eat:
• Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables (green beans, apples, grapefruit, asparagus, broccoli, berries)
• Whole grains
• Beans, peas and lentils
• Dark green, leafy vegetables
• Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apricots, and oranges
• Salmon and other omega-rich foods such as avocados and walnuts
• Increase water intake

Foods to avoid:
• White breads, white rice, and white pasta
• Fried foods
• Potatoes and French fries
• Dairy (mostly skim milk and yogurts with high amounts of sugar)
• Sugary soft drinks
• Candy and candy bars
• Alcohol