Acne is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages, but is more common in adolescents. The condition can result in the development of varying types of lesions like pimples on the skin. These symptoms vary from mild to severe and can affect the sufferer’s quality of life due to low self-esteem caused by the changes in appearance.
Several factors cause acne, including inflammation, bacteria, blocked pores, keratin production, and hormones. Research has also shown that the foods we consume can also contribute to acne development or increase its severity, even for people under acne treatment. Below are some five foods you should avoid if you have acne-prone skin or when under acne treatment.
A diet low in sugar is the best for reducing hormonal fluctuations and inflammations. One study found that individuals with diets containing added sugars had a 30% higher risk of developing acne than those with a sugar-free diet. People who regularly consume cakes and pastries also have a 20% greater risk of developing acne. Sugars are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, which in turn raises the blood sugar levels. The increased blood sugar levels cause insulin levels to rise as it is responsible for shuttling the blood sugars from the bloodstream to the cells.
High insulin levels are not good for people with acne as it makes androgen hormones more active and promotes the development of insulin-like growth factor 1. This makes skin cells grow more quickly and boost sebum production, contributing to acne development.
A 2017 study in Norway found a relationship between dairy products and acne, especially in teenagers. It is not yet clear how milk contributes to acne development, but there are several proposed theories. Firstly, milk affects blood sugar levels in the body, thus causing a rise in insulin levels. Milk also has amino acids that can stimulate the liver to produce more growth factor 1, which is associated with triggering acne development.
Sweetened Breakfast Cereals
Sweetened breakfast cereals are high in glycemic index (GI) as they contain refined carbohydrates and sugars. These foods end up increasing blood sugar levels within a short time after consumption, which in turn causes the skin to produce more oil and plug our skin pores. Clogged pores are a known cause of acne as it promotes the growth of bacteria.
White bread also falls in the category of refined carbohydrates. Just like sugar, refined carbohydrates get absorbed quickly into the bloodstream after intake. This causes a rise in blood sugar levels, and the high blood sugar levels make the insulin levels to rise because insulin is required to help the transfer of blood sugars from the bloodstream to the cells.
However, the high insulin levels do not favor people with acne as it increases growth factor one, thus contributing to acne growth.
People struggling with acne can switch from white bread to whole-grain bread as it has a lower glycemic index, plus it is also high in fiber. This helps to slow the rise of blood sugars after a meal.
Melon is also a high GI food, meaning it can promote acne development on your skin by triggering hormonal fluctuations. Scientists believe that eating high GI foods is related to the severity of acne because these foods cause a spike in insulin levels, which triggers the production of sebum. Sebum is the oily substance that blocks pores, therefore, causing spots on the skin.
Rise-based pasta, like any other refined carbohydrates, is quickly broken down into sugar when consumed.
Excess sugar in the bloodstream triggers the body to produce more insulin to bring down the blood sugar levels, and the process may end up affecting other hormones that boost the production of oil the skin. People with acne should try brown rice as a substitute as it has a lower GI level.
If you have cut out all the above foods from your diet but are still struggling with acne breakouts, then it may be time to speak to a doctor. When dietary and lifestyle changes have failed to clear up your acne then medication can be prescribed to help.