Food That Cause Acne
Do zits or new pimples break out whenever you enjoy a hearty burger or delicious pizza? Or maybe after a long night out with your friends you can't help but notice a noticeable reduced facial glow the week that follows? Have you been keeping track of the number of times that you treat yourself to your favorite deep-fried delicacy in a bid to keep a lid on zits? There's no need to panic if you have answered 'yes' to any of these questions. There is indeed food that causes acne and it is not a myth or an old wives tale either.
Even before getting to the crux of the list of foods that cause acne, it is important to lay bare a couple of facts.
For starters, there are several ways by which what you need can lead to blemishes or bad skin. It can be that you are suffering from poor gut health, hence finding it difficult to metabolise certain types of food that cause acne. This, however, does not mean that the same foods will cause breakups in other people who may tolerate them better.
Secondly, if you are unknowingly allergic to a certain group of foods - say nuts - it is easy to assume that is one of the food that cause acne breakout while, in fact, your body is simply reacting negatively to it. You'd be surprised that the same exact meal will not cause a breakout when consumed by another person. It is imperative to differentiate between the two.
Foods to Avoid That Cause Acne
Lastly, there are food and drinks that cause acne but more on that later. Here's a quick premise to foods that may contribute to zits and breakouts, even in people with no history of allergies or intolerance.
1. Refined Sugar
Refined sugar ranks as one of the many food ingredients that cause acne that you are likely to encounter on a daily basis. And this is not surprisingly considering that it is estimated that more than 85% of adult Americans have ever suffered an acne breakout at some point in their lives. You are likely to find these carbs virtually everywhere including in sodas, processed honey, tetra pack juices, baked goods such as cakes and pastries etc.
Simple sugars, considering their basic biochemical structure, are easily broken down by your digestive system and absorbed right away into the bloodstream. This has the negative knock-on effect of raising your blood sugar levels, albeit temporarily, forcing the body's homeostatic processes to push the excess sugar into the skin cells consequently leading to acne.
2. Dairy Products
A 2017 study conducted on young adults and teenagers showed how consumption of skimmed milk and other low fat dairy goods contributed immensely to breakouts and acne spells. And while the exact connection between acne and milk consumption is not yet clear as day, scientists believe that eating a lot of heavily processed dairy goods such as flavored yoghurt, milkshakes and ice creams can contribute to a marked hormonal imbalance which could later precipitate an acne breakout.
3. Processed Fast Foods
The link between the consumption of fast foods such as fries and burgers and acne breakouts particularly in teenagers and adults with oily skin is not foreign. This also goes for sausages, burgers and bacon that tend to have extra unhealthy fat content in them. It is suspected that in a bid to metabolize and excrete these extra fats, the body tends to push them out as sebum consequently contributing immensely to breakouts and acne.
4. Whey Protein Shakes and Powder
Whey protein is a known source of a distinct group of amino acids, more specifically glutamine and leucine. These two are some of the main food ingredients that cause acne in fitness enthusiasts and body builders. The consumption of whey protein is believed to trigger cell regeneration and muscle hypertrophy which is actually beneficial to anyone looking to bulk up and add muscle mass. However, the same inadvertently contributes to a spike in insulin levels which, as we have discussed above, can trigger a breakout spell.
5. Refined Grains
Refined white flour is mostly used to make bread, pasta, rice noodles and it can even be found in wheat products. These groups of foods tend to have a high glycemic index and tend to raise one's blood sugar levels significantly. Highetened insulin levels, as we have come to know, can make androgen hormones extra active thereby contributing to increased sebum production and faster cell proliferation eventually causing an acne breakout.
Studies have consistently shown that people who consume sweetened cocoa products such as chocolates have a higher propensity of developing acne and breakouts than those who do not. Adding salt to injury, most chocolate bars are also infused with dairy products, something that aggravates the situation further. Remember that processed dairy goods are known to cause the body's immune system to react strongly against acne causing bacteria thereby leading to pimples and inflamed zits.
7. Foods that are Rich in Omega-6 Fats
A predominantly Western type of diet populated with soybean oil, cornflakes and the likes is known to predispose one to breakouts and painful zits. These foods contain Omega-6 fats that are largely inflammatory in nature especially to people with a faulty gurt. If this sounds like you, then you may want to consider changing your dietary regimen as eating these types of food that cause acne could be making you more vulnerable to skin breakouts.
8. Animal Protein and Lean Meat
Some people tend to have angry-looking pimples particularly along the jawline, on the cheeks, and on the neck. They are relatively larger and look more inflamed than average blackheads and are more painful than standard blackheads. These are often due to the excessive consumption of lean meat such as mutton or chicken. Unregulated intake of red meat can also lead to this though the exact reason is largely unknown.
What Drinks to Avoid that Cause Acne?
Turns out that beverages and drinks are not also not left out when it comes to predisposing you to frustrating acne and breakouts. The following are food and drinks that cause acne likely to feature in a standard American diet.
Yes, you guessed it. If you were wondering what food and drinks that cause acne, then worry no more. Excessive consumption of alcohol can cause skin reddening and dryness. And, no, this kind of inflammation is not limited to spirits, whiskey and hard liquor. Even drinking a ton of beer and wine can dehydrate your body as well. Dehydrated skin, as your dermatologist can confirm, means skin that is predisposed to flaring up and breakouts.
Alcohol also accelerates aging immensely and contributes to premature wrinkling, perpetual puffiness and skin sagging partly due to the fact that it also interferes with our sleep cycles making it difficult to get the recommended eight hours of slumber. Don't also forget that chronic lack of sleep also translates to inefficient detoxification and excretion of accumulated toxins which could precipitate a breakout.
One of the most favorite beverages in America is also a leading contributor to acne. Which is ironically considering that there are many benefits to drinking coffee regularly in comparison to other caffeinated drinks such as tea or sweetened energy drinks. That being said, excessive caffeine is on the record for causing a spike of cortisol - a stress hormone - flowing through one's system. And since acne and cortisol are somehow related, it is not hard to see how your cup of jitters is causing your skin to break out.
3. Energy Drinks
While an occasional energy drink will not necessarily cause your skin to redden and become grossly inflamed, you are better off not making it a habit to rely on them for your daily dose of caffeine. It's no secret that while energy drinks are quite a potent (and chemical) way of giving your brain waves a turbo boost on a slow day, they also have a harmful dehydrating effect that can translate to flaky skin. And as observed previously, the extra caffeine messes us with your cortisol levels putting your skin further at risk.
4. Processed Fruit Juices
Packaged and processed fruit juices - unlike freshly squeezed one without preservatives - contains a ton of additives, corn syrup and refined sugars. And it is this same type of harmful sugar that has been linked severally to sky-high insulin spikes that increase the prevalence of developing acne. In other words, if you really have to take juice as an accompaniment to your meals, opt for freshly squeezed or blended that has not undergone any form of processing.
5. Lemonades, Iced Teas and Sodas
It does not matter whether it is regular or diet soda, the beverage is more likely to cause acne than any other non-alcoholic drink on this list. You see, soda and lemonades contain a slew of artificial sweeteners and processed sugars that can interfere with the fine homeostatic balance of your hormones. It also does not come as a surprise that most people will begin seeing an progressive onset of acne as soon as they make taking soda regularly a habit.
Bottled lemonade from your favorite supermarket is still as harmful to your skin, although homemade variants can be made with minimal or no sugar at all to lessen the impact on your insulin trajectory.
Unsweetened tea, on the other hand, may be excellent for your health but taking sweetened versions loaded with high fructose sugar substitutes is not doing your complexion any favours.
6. Sports Drinks
Despite being largely marketed as hydrating and perfectly healthy drinks, one would be shocked to know that there are among the food and drinks that cause acne that we should avoid. In reality, a majority of sports drinks contain a minimal dose of sugar that is intended to aid in muscle recovery but, instead, simply impacts your insulin levels negatively. Opt for plain water instead if you are looking for a quick hydrating drink to replenish the lost liquid levels after intense workout.
Most Common Food Allergies That Cause Acne
Food intolerance and unexplained sensitivity is yet another cause of breakouts that most people tend to overlook. It is estimated that most common food allergies that cause acne impacts around 3% of the U.S population. A food allergy, in this case, is triggered by the inability of the body to assimilate certain proteins properly. To put it simply, it's a form of an immune response from the body's natural defense system against eating a particular type of food, especially proteins found in tree nuts, peanuts, certain types of fish, eggs or chicken.
A food allergy or intolerance response can vary from being severe to mild, depending on the individual in question and the amount of offensive food consumed. A good chunk of top food allergies that cause acne will often induce a few common characteristic symptoms associated with an immune system that is on overdrive. This includes;
Extreme itching under the tongue or tingling inside the mouth or/and on the lips
- Eczema and hives that may later precipitate to acne spots
- Nasal congestion, wheezing and difficulty breathing property
- Lightheadedness, dizziness and fainting
- Anaphylaxis, including potentially life threatening symptoms such as shock, sudden drop of blood pressure, loss of consciousness, constriction and narrowing of airway and extreme dizziness.
Food that Doesn't Cause Acne
There are several foods that don't cause acne, at least to a majority of the population. These should also be your go-to source for nutrition if you are looking to make sure that acne and breakouts spots become a thing of the past. Replace all your potential acne-causing foods with the following alternatives;
1. Complex Carbohydrates
These will be majorly found in whole and unrefined grains such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, vegetables, carrots, yellow and red peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, apricots, legumes (e.g peas and beans), spinach and arrow roots.
2. Foods Rich in Vitamins D,A,E
A recent study just unearthed that foods lacking vitamin E and A can contribute to breakouts and acne. As long as you are not allergic or intolerant to tuna, feta cheese, eggs, butter, mackerel, liver or cream, you should stock up on them as they are reliable sources of Vitamin A. Avocado, peanuts, almonds and broccoli, on the other hand, are excellent sources of Vitamin E.
3. Foods that are Rich in Zinc
It's no secret that zinc is one of the major inhibitors and remedies of acne and blackheads. It is even better when the micro-nutrient is sourced from natural sources such as pumpkin/sunflower seeds, shellfish, meat, chickpeas or beans. And considering that people who are vastly deficient in zinc are likely to be more prone to repeated acne breakouts, then it should go without saying that the above food that does not cause acne should always feature in your diet, at least once a day.
4. Turmeric and Probiotic-rich Foods
The two are actually the panacea to almost 50% of your skin woes. Turmeric helps regulate blood sugar levels and keep insulin levels in check while probiotic-rich foods like kefir reduces gut inflammation to keep acne at bay.