Role Of Diet In Preventing And Exacerbating Acne

Acne is one of the most common and prevalent skin condition which is not life-threatening. To some degree, it affects to at least 85% of the population aged between 11 to 30 years. Acne primarily affects teens and it occurs when the oil and dead skin cells clog the skin’s pores. Most commonly it occurs on the body sites like face, chest, back, shoulder, and neck. Acne can be of many types:

  • Whitehead
  • Blackhead
  • Papules
  • Pustules
  • Nodules
  • Cysts

At some point of time, we all must have had experienced acne and there is no doubt in saying that we all hate it. No one likes a spot on their face. The exact cause of acne is still not known but it is believed that many factors can play a role in the occurrence of acne such as:

  • Changes in hormones
  • Intake of certain drugs
  • Oil from the scalp
  • Certain cosmetic products
  • Heredity
  • Unhealthy diet

Research has stated that there is a strong relationship between the diet and the occurrence of acne. It is strongly believed that what we eat and how much we eat play a significant role in keeping the skin healthy and free from skin problems, including acne. There are some food items that prevent the occurrence of acne, whereas, there are some food items that trigger acne.

Food that triggers acne

1. Sugar

For the last many years, it is believed that sugar is one of the common risk factors of acne. Foods that are high in sugar have been repeatedly reported to cause or exacerbate acne. The inflammatory properties of white sugar are said to be the main cause of acne. Intake of excessive sugar increases the insulin level in the body that increases inflammation and it also increases the production of skin oil.

2. High glycemic index food

Foods that are high in glycemic index are known to cause acne. A glycemic index is basically a number that is associated with carbohydrates in the food that tells us about how the carbohydrates or the food affect blood sugar level or insulin. Studies have stated that high glycemic indexes leads to hyperinsulinemia and causes an increase in androgens and altered retinoid signaling pathways, which results in acne. Such food items increase the insulin concentration which stimulates the production of sebum and sebocyte proliferation.

3. Dairy products

Dairy products are also known to play a role in triggering acne. Milk products are one of the causative factors of acne and it can even worsen existing acne. Various studies have suggested the relationship between excessive intake of dairy products and occurrence of acne. Acne is often irritated by dairy products. There are many mechanisms that can explain the relationship between dairy products and acne. One of the mechanism is that milk contains placenta-derived progesterone and other dihydrotestosterone precursors, which acts as a main stimulator of acne.

4. Spicy food

There is evidence that supports that consumption of spicy food can play a role in the development of acne and this is because the sweat glands in the body are triggered by spicy food and this can result in acne. It has been noticed that most people who complain of acne like eating spicy food.

Foods that prevent the development of acne

1. Omega 3 fatty acid

Multiple studies have been conducted to instigate the influence of omega 3 fatty acid on the body and how it prevents the development of various diseases. It contains anti-inflammatory properties that have many benefits and it also helps in preventing and treating acne. It can be said that the anti-inflammatory effects of omega 3 fatty acid can ameliorate acne vulgaris. Not only acne, omega 3 fatty acid is also used to treat many other skin problems as well, such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and many more. Some of the food items that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids are walnut, egg, spinach, and broccoli.

2. Vitamin E

For a long time, foods that are rich in vitamin E are regarded as beneficial for acne. It is an important fat soluble vitamin that plays a role in dermatology. It has many beneficial effects on the skin of an individual as it protects the skin against many radical effects. Vitamin E contains many properties that are beneficial in treating and preventing skin problems. Some of the foods that are rich in vitamin E include spinach, broccoli, nuts, and seeds.

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is regarded as one of the body’s primary protection from reactive oxygen damage. The adequate amount of vitamin C in the body protects the skin against damages that can be caused by various reasons like changes in hormones, genetics, and environmental factors. Having foods that are rich in vitamin C is an effective way to decrease the risk of developing acne. Some of the rich sources of vitamin C include cabbage, tomato, winter squash, and spinach.



Tags:  Acne treatment, Types of acne , Does diet affect acne

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Jim Carson

Jim Carson is the writer for the mental health section of He is certified in clinical mental health counselling and has conducted cognitive behaviour therapy for war veterans struggling with PTSD. Professionally and personally, Jim is an astute observer of human behaviour that reflects well in his work.