12 Foods That Cause Acne

Acne is mainly caused by the overproduction of oil; blocked hair follicles that don’t allow the aforementioned oil to leave the pore, which often results in a clogged pore; and the growth of bacteria inside the hair follicles called P. acnes.

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However, along with the above factors and genetics, there are certain foods you could be eating that can cause you to break out or can even exacerbate your already annoying issue. Here are 12 foods that cause acne.

1. Dairy

A 2005 article in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology examined the diets of 47,355 women and found a strong connection between milk and milk product intake and breakouts. Another study, of 4,273 teenaged boys also found an association between milk and acne flare-ups.

Much of the milk that we drink is produced by pregnant cows and contains high levels of hormones that can send oil glands into overdrive. Progesterone, insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) as well as compounds that the human body turns into dehydrotestosterone (DHT) are passed on to the milk, which can aggravate acne. If dairy triggers your breakouts, you simply have to avoid milk.

2. Alcohol

While there exists no published research specifically attempting to link alcohol with acne, researchers have performed several studies on the effects of alcohol on hormone levels in humans. Hormones are an important factor in acne development, so this research is worth a look. Two separate studies of both males and females showed both testosterone and estrogen levels higher after alcohol consumption.

One other study showed the opposite—decreased testosterone in physically active male soldiers who are regular drinkers. While the specifics vary, we can see an overall trend toward alcohol affecting hormone balance. We do not, however, have enough evidence at this time to draw a causative link between alcohol and acne. More research is required.

3. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods often contain tomatoes and peppers, which contain acidic lycopene that can be an irritant to some people, throwing off their skin’s pH levels and triggering breakouts.

4. Bacon

In 2014, researchers from Georgia Regents University and the Georgia Prevention Center, Institute of Public and Preventive Health examined the effect of a high-salt diet on over 700 adolescents. The researchers found that 97 percent of the teens consumed more than twice the daily recommended intake of sodium offered by the American Heart Association. Teens with the highest level of salt consumption were more likely to have inflammation than teens who ate the least amount of salt.

Diets high in fat could also be responsible for an increase in acne development. Studies comparing teens who eat a Western diet high in fats, carbs, and sugars with teens who eat largely unprocessed foods with a smaller amount of carbs, sugar, and fat showed that teens who ate the Western diet were more likely to suffer from acne.

Although this is bad news for bacon-lovers, if you eat a lot of bacon and other foods full of nitrates and sulfates and suffer from skin problems, it may be helpful to eliminate these ingredients for a few months to determine if they are contributing to your skin problems.

5. Refined Carbs

A 2002 study published in Archives of Dermatology shows strong evidence that certain foods can cause breakouts. Noting that acne is primarily a “Western” disease, researchers studied 1200 people in Papua New Guinea and 115 people in Eastern Paraguay (people who eat a diet of fresh plant foods and lean meat they raise themselves) and didn’t see a single pimple.

Chalk it up to good genes? Not likely: People with similar genetic makeup living in western countries, eating a diet rich in refined carbs, saturated fats, and other processed foods, develop acne. Environmental factors may be to blame, but diet is a likely culprit.

A diet with a high glycemic index — basically, processed foods like bread and refined grains that are quickly broken down into sugar — can have a terrible effect on skin. The theory is that refined carbs cause your insulin levels to spike, which in turn leads to increased sebum production and clogged pores.

6. Caffeine Drinks

Caffeine drinks is the worst thing when it comes to the list of foods that cause acne as it causes the spread of acne on your skin. It is best for you to avoid any drinks which contain caffeine in your daily diet.

In addition, you should avoid drinking too much coffee to maintain a baby soft skin. You should avoid soft drinks, wine, beer, and cigarettes. They are all stimulants which are unhealthy for your skin. In particular, drinking coffee and alcohol can increase the likelihood of active cortisol hormone – the stress hormone – while stress is one of the main causes of skin problems, including acne skin.

7. Peanut Butter

The research as to whether certain foods that cause acne is still largely inconsistent, meaning there is no direct connection between particular foods (i.e., like peanut butter) and the direct result of acne outbreaks. However, that doesn’t stop some acne sufferers from eliminating certain foods from their diets that they believe cause them to break out.

8. Soy

If you break out around the mouth and along your jawline, tofu and other soy foods could be to blame. And it’s all due to the natural plant estrogens found in soybeans. “Phytoestrogens mimic natural estrogen levels, and that throws off our hormones,” says esthetician Kimberly Yap Tan, founder of Skin Salvation, an acne clinic in San Francisco. Soy derivatives show up in everything from veggie burgers to energy bars, so read labels carefully.

9. French Fries

Have you ever wondered how the fatty foods you put in your mouth reemerge on your skin? With foods high in fat, like French fries, the blame is typically placed directly on diet when you eat a fatty, greasy, deep fried plate of fries – you shouldn’t be surprised to end up with a face full of pimples the next day.

Pimples aren’t a direct response to the foods we eat. However, when you eat those French fries, consumed food travels through the digestive system, where it’s broken down into vitamins and nutrients that can be easily absorbed by the body and utilized for energy. However, those foods can trigger a hormonal response, which is what causes acne. For instance, pimples appear when skin and the connective sebaceous glands become clogged (with excess debris, oil, and cells) leaving the area prone to bacteria and yeast, which inflame the pore and cause an embarrassing pimple.

10. Bread

If you’re prone to acne, baguettes, croissants, and all that other good stuff may make the situation worse. Wheat causes inflammation. In order to get rid of acne, you want to reduce inflammation in your body. Many commercially produced breads also have sugar, soybean oil, and dairy. You could eat an English muffin and unknowingly consume three big triggers: dairy, soy, and sugar.

11. Shrimp

The peel of shrimp can trigger acne conditions. Furthermore, shrimp contains allergens which can lead to acne and skin rashes. On the other hand, shrimp also contain high levels of iodine which is totally not good for skin. Shrimp, crab, lobster and certain green leafy vegetables such as seaweed, spinach is also high in natural iodine. Therefore, eating too much this stuff, you are susceptible to acne.

These acnes appear when your body accumulates iodine for too long. Therefore, if the day before, you eat too much these foods, it is necessary for you to reduce the following day.

12. Longan

This is a favorite fruit of many people because it is simple to eat, delicious, sweet, and fragrant. However, this fruit is the source of attack causes for pimples and rashes.

Especially, pregnant women should limit eating longan because this food can make their body hot from the inside, disrupting the normal development of the fetus and leading to bleeding and abdominal pain.


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