Copyright 2006 Tony Buel
Conventional wisdom used to say that your diet (eating chocolate or greasy foods) would result in an unwanted acne breakout. Later skin professionals and dermatologists learned that there is no proven scientific connection between acne and food. But does what you eat really have a direct influence on the status of your face?
The answer is ‘no’, a bad food diet does not ‘directly’ cause an acne breakout. But, as most doctors will tell you, what you choose to put in your body will have a definite effect on your health, including your skin health. Excessive caffeine, sugary foods, and greasy, fatty snacks will all have a negative effect on our overall health. And if your skin is particularly susceptible to acne, maintaining a poor diet will definitely not help the situation. A bad food diet can therefore have an ‘indirect’ effect!
Choosing foods that are high in sugar, fat content, and refined carbohydrates can all be damaging to your skin health. Studies have shown that too much sugar and refined carbohydrates in your diet can lead to a surge in insulin. This can create the condition known as IGF-1, where an increase in insulin creates the over-production of male hormones. And excessive male hormones can produce an excess of sebum, the greasy stuff that can clog your pores, attract bacteria, and create an environment conducive to acne! IGF-1 is also believed to cause keratinocytes to multiply, which can wreak havoc on skin.
Saturated fats are the bad guys of the food world. Doctors have been warning of the health consequences of consuming trans fats and saturated fats. The negative consequences of saturated fats on the body are a weakening the immune system, promoting inflammation, and for those prone to acne breakouts, raising the skin’s oil production level. Keep your body healthy and filled with good health-promoting nutrients for the best complexion possible. You should strive to reduce saturated fats -they will certainly not help you in your battle against acne.
But all oils are not bad. There are also good oils which are actually conducive to healthy skin. In fact, certain oils are absolutely essential. These essential fatty acids reduce inflammation and help promote healthy skin, What oils should you add to your regular diet? Fish Oil, olive oil, and flax oil are all good oils that should become a part of your diet. Fish oil and flax oil in particular are recommended for maintaining a glowing complexion.
What about vitamins and minerals? You should maintain a steady intake of vitamins and minerals to promote a healthy skin-enriching diet. Vitamin A is paramount for promoting healthy skin. Vitamin A is found in abundance in avocados and carrots. Vitamin B-6, Vitamin C, and Zinc are other important nutrients for promoting a good complexion. An easy way to ensure that you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need to help fight acne is to eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and essential fatty acids.
One of the lesser-considered aspects of the food and acne debate is the role that food allergies play in promoting acne. Some people experience severe cases of acne even if they lead a very healthy diet and have never suffered from severe acne before. The cause could be a food allergy of some kind.
Common causes of food allergies include excess sugar, dairy products, and certain refined flours and grains. Avoid foods rich in iodine, which have been linked to acne in the past. If you consume iodized salt, make the switch to sea salt. Iodine-rich foods may include salt, liver, cheese, crabs, shellfish, clams, and kelp products. If you find dairy products exacerbate your acne, consider switching to soy or rice milk and cheese products.
Whether certain foods cause an acne or whether these foods are just one of many contributing factors is an ongoing debate. Much has been learned and much more has yet to be learned. Add to this the fact that one individual may be affected by a certain food and another not at all and you quickly learn there is no single answer, no magic bullet that will work for everyone. But hopefully this information will help you determine what works for you!