Are the foods you're eating making you break out?!
First and foremost, you are not alone. An estimated 80% of people between 11 and 30 years old will struggle with acne/breakouts. But, we all know that people over 30 are not immune to the occasional underground pimple or erupting white spot on their face. Yikes.
So, let's get right down to it and discuss foods that might be acne-causing AND foods that can potentially clear up your skin (YAY!).
Worst offenders containing dairy: Milk (even skim milk), cottage cheese, and ice cream.
Why dairy? Many dairy farmers give their cows additional hormones to stimulate milk production and enable the cow to produce more milk. As a result, most milk is very high in IGF-1.
IGF-1 is a growth factor that peaks in the human body during adolescence when acne is usually at its worst. It is believed that IGF-1, along with testosterone and DHT, trigger acne breakouts. Read more about the science behind dairy and breakouts here.
2. Refined Carbohydrates and Sugar
Refined carbohydrates (all the good stuff) can contribute to acne by causing more sebum production. They also have a higher glycemic index.
Research shows that refined foods — the ones with a higher glycemic index — play a role in fueling acne. But studies have also found that a diet high in foods with a low glycemic index can improve acne.
What are refined carbohydrates? Processed food, white bread, white pasta, sugary beverages, etc.
3. Fast Food
Ah! I know, we're killing you. All of that dairy, sugar, salt, and excess oils are definitely a reason to steer clear of fast food. Most researchers aren't sure what is the main culprit but one study found that participants who regularly consumed fast food, had a 24% increased risk of acne.
THE GOOD NEWS!
Acne is influenced by a plethora of factors, some of them out of your control, luckily... your diet isn't one of them. You can change up your diet at any time and if you don't see the results you were hoping for, go ahead and dive back into that Ben and Jerry's.
Foods that can help clear up your skin include:
- Foods high in Zinc (nuts, seeds, whole grains, and beans)
- Green tea (Polyphenols in green tea have been shown to reduce sebum production and skin inflammation.)
- Tumeric (has been shown to reduce bacteria production that can lead to acne.)
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Omega-3 foods can easily be increased by adding ground flaxseed to your casserole, chia seeds to your smoothie, or taking an omega-3 supplement which can easily be found at your local store.)
- Vitamins A, E, and D
Antioxidants (find them in most colorful plant foods)