Acne might be one of the most annoying skin conditions. Waking up in the morning and seeing that pimple on your nose before a big day is dreaded and experienced by most people. Although various factors can cause acne, both external and internal, you can always take precautions. Adjusting your diet properly is one of them. Therefore, we have gathered a list of foods that cause acne, and we will also share some tips that will come in handy against acne breakouts. Let’s take a look.
What causes acne?
There are usually different elements that lead to acne breakouts, including genetics, hormones, and bacteria, not to mention the specific foods one consumes. While it's primarily seen in teenagers, everyone is at risk regardless of age. Although some types of acne clear up on their own or with over-the-counter products, others require medical attention. Acne is caused by the overproduction of sebum in the skin. This excess oil clogs pores and results in inflammation. The most common cause of acne is the hormonal changes in the body during puberty or menstruation.
Tips to avoid acne breakouts
Sometimes we can’t avoid acne breakouts, many factors are in play, like genetics or other external factors. However, you can do your best to avoid them or take things under control. These precautions include practicing good hygiene, developing a skincare routine that is good for your skin type, and regular exercise.
1. Develop a skincare routine
A skincare routine is crucial to keep your skin healthy and acne-free. A skincare routine will help with acne because it cleans pores and prevents bacteria from building up on the skin. Make sure to wash your face at least twice a day, and most importantly, before going to bed. Opt for skincare products that apply to your skin type. Use moisturizers and cleansers, and wear sunscreen.
2. Practice good hygiene
It goes without saying that personal hygiene keeps bacteria away, including the ones that are responsible for acne. Shower regularly to get rid of dead skin cells and bacteria. Refrain from touching your face to keep it clean, and wash your hands regularly. If you are growing a beard, ensure to keep it clean and trimmed, as it can contain bacteria and dead cells. Remember to clean your make-up correctly at the end of the day. Lastly, keep your towels clean and don’t share them with someone else.
Foods that cause acne
Many external factors cause acne breakouts, but if your acne breakouts occur mostly during certain times (such as after eating a specific food), there may be something going on internally. However, remember that every person reacts differently to different foods. Therefore, these foods may not lead to acne production in each person. Following are the most common foods that cause acne.
1. Dairy products
Dairy products are a common cause of acne, with milk being the most common dairy product. This is because milk contains hormones called bovine hormones, which can stimulate the production of sebum in the skin and lead to an increase in the number of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. Other dairy products that cause acne are yogurt and cheese, but they contain fewer bovine hormones than milk so they don't usually cause as many breakouts as milk does.
2. Refined grains
Refined grains are processed foods that have been stripped of their natural nutrients. They are often enriched with vitamins and minerals, but lack the fiber and protein that whole grains provide. Refined grains are usually found in breads, pastas, cereals, crackers, and other baked goods. They can also be found in some breakfast cereals and granola bars. Refined grains can cause acne by increasing insulin levels in the body. This leads to an increase in male hormones like testosterone, which results in acne breakouts.
Sugar gets an honorable mention on our list of foods that cause acne. Why? The human body breaks down sugar into glucose and fructose. Glucose is the main source of energy for the cells in our body. On the other hand, fructose is processed by the liver before it enters the bloodstream. When we consume too much of these two, our insulin levels increase, which can lead to acne breakout. In addition, too much fructose can be hard on your liver, thus causing skin problems like acne.
4. Spicy foods
It's no secret that lots of spices make our meals taste better, by adding flavor and color. But they have their own side effects too. Although spicy foods do not cause acne directly, their impact on our bodies might result in acne breakouts. Some spices have been shown to increase oil production in the body by making us sweat more. Therefore, higher sebum levels are produced and released into pores, where bacteria thrive and clog hair follicles. Acne is the result.
5. Foods that contain saturated fats
Along with many other health risks like heart disease, saturated fats also lead to acne breakouts, as they increase the insulin growth hormone in your body. These include palm and coconut oils. You should limit your fried food intake and ensure that your food contains healthy and unsaturated fats.
6. Red meat, chicken, and poultry
Leucine, an amino acid usually found in red meat, chicken, and poultry, can cause an increase of sebum production in your body, leading to acne breakouts. Not only that, but leucine also increases the estrogen hormone levels, another hormonal imbalance that further increases the sebum.
7. Fast food
Fast food items are usually processed and contain trans fat and simple carbs, not to mention that they are very rich in calories and will lead to increased body fat. They are also on a higher scale regarding the glycemic index. A study found a link between high GI foods and an increase in acne. This includes foods like burgers, hot dogs, and french fries. These foods are likely to disrupt your hormone levels, most importantly increasing your body’s insulin levels, resulting in acne breakouts.
Acne breakouts might be unpredictable and annoying. There are many different factors involved with acne production; however, the most common reason is the overproduction of sebum that will clog your pores.
Take care of your body and practice good hygiene to avoid acne breakouts, but the most important thing might be adjusting your diet. Limit the consumption of dairy products, especially milk. Stay away from simple carbs like white bread and white pasta, and opt for whole grains. Saturated fats deserve an honorable mention in our list, as they are one of your worst enemies. Any type of meat is a good example of a food that causes acne. Fast food, on the other hand, usually has a high GI score and should be avoided altogether.