Experts have been talking about the connection between diet and acne for a long time. At one point, many believed the key to eliminating acne was to avoid fatty foods.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. In fact, fatty foods might actually be good for your skin –but only if you choose the right ones and in the right amount.
So what exactly is the connection between diet and acne?
Perhaps the most surprising connection has to do with weight. Women who overeat and are either overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from acne. A connection exists especially among teenage girls and not so much in boys or men in general. In that sense, switching to a healthier diet that’s lower in calories can help your acne –as you lose weight, your skin will improve.
High Glycemic foods
Next in line of importance is the connection between high glycemic foods and acne. High glycemic foods are those that convert into glucose (blood sugar) quickly after you eat them. These foods affect your insulin levels and have been connected to a higher incidence of acne. As you can probably guess, most fast food and refined/highly processed foods are high in the glycemic index. Examples include cookies and other sugary snacks, anything made with white flour (as opposed to whole grains), white rice and more.
When it comes to fats, not all are the same. Full fat dairy products seem to have a strong connection to acne. People who consume a lot of cheese or drink two or more cups of full-fat milk every day are more likely to develop acne than those that avoid dairy or consume it only sporadically. In Japan, where dairy is not a major diet staple (soymilk is more common), acne is much more rare among children and teens.
On the other hand, omega-3 fatty acids might actually help you. These are the fats found in olive oil, avocado, flax seeds and fatty fish, among other foods. Omega-3 fatty acids help fight inflammation, which is responsible for speeding up the production of oils that can lead to acne.
As long as you pay attention to the foods you eat, you should be able to know when you might have an acne outbreak. If you stay away from high glycemic and full fat foods, you should avoid an outbreak entirely. Here’s to a healthy diet!