Do the Foods You Eat Really Cause Your Skin to Break Out?
We’ve heard it all before. “I can’t have greasy foods. My skin will break out. … If I eat chocolate, my skin will break out. … Drinking soda is the worst thing for my skin.” Is any of this really true? Do the foods you eat really cause your skin to break out, or is it all a myth? And if it’s true, how is it possible?
What is Acne?
Before considering if the foods you eat really cause your skin to break out, it’s important to realize what acne is to begin with.
Acne is an inflammatory condition. Simply stated, you break out when oil gets trapped in your skin and bacteria grows within the hair follicles. This inflammation then leads to the bumps on your skin.
While there are many myths and theories out there, no one factor leads to acne. In fact, it’s unclear what causes acne overall, as much more controlled research is needed.
How the Foods You Eat Relate to Acne
For those of you who love chocolate and digging into those bags of potato chips, you may be happy to know that some of the myths are not true. Generally, the research into whether the foods you eat really cause your skin to break out is inconclusive.
Still, here’s what dermatologists and other health care professionals tend to agree on the most.
1. If grease from foods touches the outside of your skin, it may clog your pores.
Getting grease on your skin can make an oily complexion worse, ultimately leading to pimples or other skin conditions.
However, some studies have shown that eating fast foods or unhealthy fatty foods can contribute to skin problems, but more research is needed to verify these claims.
2. If milk indeed does a body good, the old adage doesn’t apply so much to skin.
Drinking milk or consuming other dairy products has been associated with an increased risk of acne.
Milk interacts with your body in a way that increases the oily substance that clogs your pores, contributing to a greater chance for breakouts.
However, some dairy products may have this effect on your skin more than others do. Cheese, for example, can be worse for your skin than yogurt, which has many probiotic and anti-inflammatory benefits.
When it comes to how milk and other dairy products affect your skin, many factors are involved. Consult with one of our dermatologists to learn more about the relationship between dairy products and skin care.
3. Sugar is still a suspected culprit.
Sugary foods and other carbohydrates are still believed to be bad for your skin. These include sweetened beverages, pastas, rice, and some breads.
The reason is that insulin spikes when you consume sugar in order to move the sugars out of your bloodstream and into your cells. This then makes certain hormones more active, which contributes to acne development.
4. A diet that’s high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables may help.
Foods that have anti-inflammatory properties or that aid in your digestive health may help to reduce bodily interactions that lead to pimples, rashes, eczema, and other skin conditions. Some foods and drinks believed to be beneficial for your skin include:
- Pistachios: They have been shown to regulate insulin.
- Brazil nuts: They contain an antioxidant that reduces inflammation.
- Avocados: They may stabilize blood sugar levels and hormones. They’re even used as a component of a face mask to moisturize skin.
- Pomegranates, apples, cherries, bananas, and some berries: They contain antioxidants that fight skin inflammation and vitamins that can protect your skin.
- Tea: Various types of herbal teas and green teas have therapeutic benefits and anti-inflammatory properties, and may even control the bacteria that causes acne. One study suggests that spearmint tea can reduce androgen, the hormone linked to acne.
Ask One of Our Dermatologists for Skin Care Advice
Clearly, much more research is needed to determine the causes of acne and if the foods you eat really cause your skin to break out. While some of the research has been supported repeatedly, you should still take it all with a grain of salt.
Because a variety of factors could be causing your pimples or other skin problems, you should speak with one of our dermatologists regarding the best way to clear your skin and prevent future breakouts. Contact us through our Associated Dermatologists website, or call our dermatology office in Berkley, West Bloomfield, Commerce, Novi, or Farmington Hills to schedule an appointment.