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Has it ever occurred to you that eating certain foods can trigger pimples and breakouts? Turns out, you are in the right direction, because our eating habits affect our skin more than we know. Wrong food choices can raise the risk of acne breakouts, which might not take time to clear up. What’s more, these foods can also cause redness, discomfort, and scars. In fact, they might become a constant part of your face in no time.
Although the link between diet and acne has always been a bone of contention, it is a fact that your diet can play a significant role in acne development and prevention. And that’s exactly why you must avoid certain foods to prevent acne.
But before we get to these foods, you must first understand how food is responsible for acne, with the help of celebrity dermatologist Dr Ajay Rana.
According to Dr Rana, “The chances of the appearance of acne can increase as a consequence of over-consumption of high-fat foods including milk and meat, and sugary foods and beverages. All in all, a diet that has a combination of high-fat and high-sugar foods. Higher intake of high-fat, high-sugar foods is associated with a higher incidence of acne.”
He adds, “When foods that are high in sugars and carbohydrates break down, they can cause a rise in your insulin growth factor, and that blocks the pilosebaceous units, which are basically the oil-secreting glands on our face. This doesn’t allow them to breathe. If somebody has oily skin, they’ve got overactive pilosebaceous units and they might find that when they consume certain foods or apply certain cosmetics on their face, their skin reacts differently, as compared to a person who has got dry skin.”
Dr Rana also explains that when the blood sugar levels rise quickly, they cause the body to release a hormone called insulin.
“Having excess insulin in the blood can cause the oil glands to produce more oil, which increases the risk of the appearance of acne,” he adds.
So, this is also how food may be responsible for the eruption of acne breakouts. But here we’ve understood one thing that food is not directly linked with acne. It causes certain changes in the body, which indirectly leads to acne or pimples.
People with acne tend to consume more refined grains and sugar. Dr Rana says, “There are several foods that can trigger spikes in insulin levels in the body and can lead to acne breakouts. Foods such as pasta, white rice, white bread, and sugar consist of insulin-producing effects, and are considered high glycemic carbohydrates. In fact, they’re made of simple sugars and therefore, they can increase the risk of acne breakouts.
Consuming dairy products like cheese, full-fat yoghurt, milk, and ice cream are the main culprits behind acne. Dairy products contain casein, which is thought to raise levels of certain hormones (insulin-like growth factor-1, or IGF-1) that are linked with increased production of sebum, the oily substance produced by our skin, which is, in turn, linked with acne development.
Chocolate is our go-to sweet! But this might be a matter of concern for you, because eating too much chocolate is linked with an increased risk of acne. That’s because chocolates are loaded with cocoa, milk, and sugar, which can interfere with your immune system and as a result, cause pimples.
“Chocolate can also worsen acne, but it doesn’t seem to affect all people,” says Dr Rana.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, foods high in GI, including refined carbohydrates, tend to rapidly increase blood sugar levels and this spike can trigger a cascade of effects that increases inflammation. This causes the skin to produce more oil and plug the pores, which sets the stage for acne.
Dr Rana recommends high-glycemic carbohydrates, dairy, saturated fats, and trans fats should be avoided. These kinds of foods stimulate the production of hormones that can cause the secretion of excess oil.
Foods that contain omega-6 fatty acids have also been associated with acne. “Diets containing large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, like the typical western diet, have been linked to increased levels of inflammation and acne,” suggests Dr Rana.
Whey protein is a popular dietary supplement. It may contribute to the formation of acne. Dr Rana says, “Protein powders or dietary supplements, which are rich sources of the amino acids leucine and glutamine. These amino acids make skin cells grow and divide more quickly. These may contribute to the formation of acne.”
So, keep a check on your diet, ladies!