The Link Between Food And Acne

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

I’ve always heard that acne is related to what we eat. Whenever I had acne as a teen, my parents told me that I had too much-fried food or soda, which we call “pop” in the Midwest. We are now concerned with our looks more than ever, so we sometimes go beyond healthy, by constantly changing our diet habits and trying different cleanses to get rid of skin abnormalities. You should know that although there is a link between skin conditions and your diet, food isn’t entirely responsible for acne.

According to the dermatologist, Dr. Anjali Mahto, most of her patients are cutting out dairy, gluten, and sugar in an attempt to clear their spots. These patients have developed fears of certain foods due to the belief that food is solely to blame. Many of her patients, primarily affluent women, are restricting food to the point where it has become an unhealthy obsession. They’re finding excuses not to go to dinner with friends, refusing to eat a slice of birthday cake, and skipping meals when out on the town, if there is no “clean” café that can provide “acceptable” or “allowed” food. These women do have a point when it comes to sugar, as there is a growing relationship between acne development and food that has a high glycaemic index (GI). However, this doesn’t mean we should cut out sugar altogether, but be mindful of consumption.

Everything is better in moderation.

When it comes to dairy and acne, the connection is weak, and only plays a role in a small, select group of people. For some reason, low dairy fat seems to be worse than full fat. Consider this fact, there are people who follow a vegan diet who still have acne.

One of my girlfriends has a pretty bad skin condition that forms puss and sits on her face. She has a dermatologist who prescribed medications and creams that greatly benefit her skin, but it is still a struggle. When we traveled across Europe last fall, she shied away from selfies and group photos. There’s nothing like the canals of Amsterdam in the backdrop of a selfie or girl’s trip photo, so I encouraged her to join in on the fun. More importantly, she needed to know that she was still beautiful, with or without a skin condition.  When I look back at our photos, I’m happy to see her. I’m not concerned with her acne, I only remember the great times we had together. Her skin condition is improving, and so can yours. 

The link between food and acne is hotly debated, and for good reason. Some of us know exactly which foods cause us to flare up, while others may have underlying causes that have yet to be linked. For those of use with acne linked to food, remember that everything’s better in moderation. So, if you feel like ice cream or chocolate once in a while, and you don’t have any allergies, indulge yourself with a decent portion! Don’t go crazy trying to fight cravings to prevent acne that may have another cause entirely; mental health is just as important!


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