Does What I Eat Affect My Skin? 3 Tips For Reducing Breakouts

  • Dermatology - Women's Health
  • Acne - dermatology
  • December 13, 2021

Acne has many triggers, including diet. Some foods increase oil production, which means more acne. Here are 3 ways to reduce breakouts.

All About Acne

Skin conditions like acne are the most common of all, impacting over 50 million Americans. Acne occurs when sebum, dirt, dead skin cells, or bacteria clog the skin’s pores. Bumps form as a result, usually on the face, but can also appear on the chest and back. Common types of acne include pustules, papules, blackheads, whiteheads, and more severe cysts and nodules. Acne can be emotionally distressing and millions of people seek medical help every year.

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Watch out for these triggers

Acne can appear out of nowhere and affect anyone at almost any age. Hormones are the biggest trigger of acne as changes happening through puberty causes flare-ups. Pregnant and menopausal women are also prone to acne. Other triggers include stress, polycystic ovarian syndrome, poor hygiene, and certain medications. Acne-sufferers can often tie flare-ups to a particular event. However, chronic acne may be spurred on by certain foods.

Your diet and acne

Some researchers argue there is little relation between diet and exercise. Yet, the way how acne forms say otherwise. An overproduction of oil on the skin called sebum, and inflammation can cause acne. Processed, fried, and sugary foods are inflammatory foods that can increase sebum production. Additionally, some foods like whole milk can alter hormone levels. Spikes in androgens trigger the body to produce more sebum, which can lead to acne. A recent study has confirmed a link between these types of foods and acne in adults. If breakouts are impacting the quality of life, these 3 tips can keep acne in line.

1. High vs. Low Glycemic index

If a diet heavy in processed, sugary foods is a trigger, then a change is necessary. While tasty, these foods have a high glycemic index and spike insulin. This spike, in turn, can impact hormones. Switching to healthy foods with a low glycemic index can keep the acne in check. These include leafy greens, fruits, beans, and whole grains. Replace whole milk with nut milks and monitor for future breakouts. When in doubt, speak with a dietician to formulate a diet plan.

2. Increase these vitamins and minerals in your diet

Research shows a correlation between low levels of zinc, vitamin A, vitamin E, and acne. The patients in the study who had low levels also had higher cases of acne. A type of vitamin A called retinol is often used to treat acne. Retinol speeds up cell turnover and maintains collagen, which can clear up acne. Additionally, vitamin E and zinc are known for having anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore multivitamins or supplements with these 3 components may help with future breakouts.

3. See your dermatologist

There are countless products and brands on the market that all claim to reduce the signs of acne. While some may help, keeping breakouts in check may need help from a dermatologist. A board-certified dermatologist can understand the type of acne and the treatment required. For instance, the doctor can prescribe strong topical steroids, antibiotics, and other medications. For severe acne, the dermatologist may try isotretinoin, a potent retinoid. There are a few in-office procedures that can help like chemical peels, microneedling, and lasers.

It starts on the plate

Mild to moderate acne can turn into severe nodules, painful cysts, or scarring if left untreated. For millions of people, particularly teens, acne is inevitable. However, continuous acne is possibly triggered by diet. Switch to a healthy diet, complete with the mentioned vitamins and minerals, to improve breakouts. At the same time, keep the skin healthy while trying dermatologist-recommended medication. With the right habits, acne can be kept at bay.

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