Is There a Connection between Diet and Acne?

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Acne is a general term that covers a range of skin conditions that result in areas of the skin becoming blackheads, whiteheads, pimples or cysts. It can be mild or severe depending on the cause and how long it has been there. Acne tends to occur during hormonal changes and puberty, but can continue into adulthood if conditions such as hormone imbalance or heredity are not corrected.

I have personally suffered from adult acne for several years now and although I would go to the doctors regularly, it always returned. I was prescribed every type of acne medication possible, from topical creams, oral tablets and even antibiotics. Nothing really worked as well as I wanted it too.

Although we generally treat patients with a wide range of acne products, there are a few that deserve special consideration. This is because eating foods rich in the vitamins and minerals found in these key acne treatments can help boost levels within your body. This, in turn, can usher in an improvement of your skin. However, it is important to note that the effectiveness of hormone-based treatments like the combined oral contraceptive pill is not linked to diet either way.

Acne, according to the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), is thought to be caused by a combination of hereditary factors and external influences. While no one food or drink will make acne worse, there are certain bad habits you may want to consider curbing if you’re looking to maintain clear skin.

Milk is another common trigger for acne. It might sound totally counter-intuitive – after all, milk contains calcium, a mineral essential for healthy bones and teeth, being recommended as part of our daily low calorie diet for this reason. How could something so good for us contain something so bad? The simple answer is that it doesn’t!  The problem with milk is the hormones used in cows to make more milk that find their way into our food chain and ultimately build up in our systems over time.

Acne is the manifestation of any skin inflammation. It happens when our oil glands become blocked and excess oil is produced, plus dead skin cells, resulting in an accumulation of such substances blocking the pores, often causing whiteheads or blackheads to form. However, this reasoning applies to all pimples, whilst acne breakouts are a specific type of acne which afflicts many sufferers with much more severity than the occasional spot.

If you’re trying to clear your skin for a special occasion, cooking with honey could be the ticket. This is because of a compound found in honey known as gluconic acid. Gluconic acid helps block the enzyme activity of two proteins involved in the synthesis of keratin that cause the skin to clog up and appear inflamed – it also stimulates the release of skin oil, which explains why people who eat a lot of honey tend to have clearer skin.

The real culprit behind acne is not a food item, but genetics. Although, if it’s not an ingredient in the actual food, your food may be contaminated with bacteria, either from the air or from a dirty storing area. Places where beef, fruits and vegetables are handled and stored are great places for just about any kind of bacteria to grow. The reason for this is that these foodstuffs have nutrients (fats) in them which bacteria like to eat.

Hormonal imbalances are a common cause of acne. There’s plenty of evidence to support that dairy can contribute to an imbalance. That doesn’t mean the yogurt you ate for breakfast is going to make your breakouts worse, but it’s certainly not going to help.

The skin is the body’s largest organ, with a surface area of 1.5 square meters and a thickness of only one millimeter it is vital that the skin is protected. The largest organ of the body provides a barrier against the outside world allowing it to retain water, repair wounds and protect the inside organs from bacteria.

Milk consumption does not trigger the same hormones (androgen and insulin) that can lead to acne breakouts. That said, it’s possible that milk or dairy products treated hormonally may cause a breakout.

It’s well-known that western diets are rich in processed and high-glycaemic foods. The excess amount of sugar has a lot to answer for and it’s no surprise that we’re seeing higher levels of acne due to the prevalence of chocolate, soft drinks and sweets. However, some food such as salad vegetables and fish can be beneficial for your skin as they are full of antioxidants which will help reduce inflammation and repair any damaged skin cells.

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