Whether teen, twenties or thirties into forties, many of us continue to be perpetually bothered by acne. Most of us are aware that control of acne requires a multi-pronged approach that may include anti-inflammatory cleansers, oral antibiotics, topical medications to improve cell turnover, topical antibiotics, birth control pills and failing these, oral retinoids.
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that acne is triggered by foods one eats. Chocolate, greasy foods and sugary foods have been implicated in acne causation. The phrase “correlation does not prove causation” succinctly dispels the “chocolate, pizza, potato chips caused my acne” myths. The direct causes of acne are far too complex and varied to be linked to a food or single other factor. To date, the available studies that have looked at links between diet and acne have only been able to definitively confirm a link to the SEVERITY of acne and not causality.
High glycemic foods like white bread, pizza, rice, sugar, potato chips, bagels increase blood sugar which causes a spike in insulin. This in turn stimulates unregulated epithelial growth and over-production of sebum through androgen hormone up-regulation. Dairy, whether whole, low fat or skim milk is sourced primarily from pregnant cows. It is rich in anabolic hormones, mostly androgens and growth hormones, including insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). In addition, milk stimulates insulin production. A glass of milk can increase insulin levels by 300 percent!
In addition to the influence of refined sugar and milk, trans fats and saturated fats have been shown to stimulate the production of IGF-1.
What does this mean for you?
In as much as a balanced diet is good for your body, your acne-prone skin will also benefit from a low glycemic, low sugar diet that includes healthy fats. Make sure you get your 5-9 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables daily.