What Causes Acne? | Link Between Acne And Diet

Acne is not a problem limited only to adolescents but it also haunts the males and females of other age groups. Whether acne is chronic, mild, moderate, or severe, you can’t be ignorant. In short, everybody is looking for a solution to SAY GOODBYE to their annoying acne. When it comes to finding solutions, we always seek the help of our problem solver – Google. While surfing the internet for “what causes acne”, we come across a variable range of answers or possible reasons for acne cause.

Skin infection is probably one of the most common answers we find in our searches. Another extremely popular cause a layman can find is excessive sebaceous gland secretion of sebum or oil.  Mostly, we feel that we have found an appropriate solution for our acne problem. But sometimes, despite trying a bucket full of cosmetics and medications, we don’t see the fruitful results. It clearly indicates that we haven’t figured out the right cause.

Here we bring another clue into notice which will help you find the cure for acne. This has to do with acne and diet.

Significance of Right Diet during Acne Treatment

You might be surprised or may find it weird what acne has to do with your diet? Knowing what causes acne is key to acne treatment. It is very normal if you think about this question. Suppose if you are taking coffee and fried food for breakfast, binging on processed foods such as juices, chips, carbonated drinks, and burgers in your lunch and grazing on frozen food in dinner, or having a  bowl of chocolate chip ice cream for midnight cravings. Hope you must have got the idea that such type of diet can cause an array of problems in your body. With such an unhealthy eating pattern, you will be carrying extra pounds on your body, spiking your cholesterol levels, shooting sugar levels, and forcing extra workload on liver, kidney, and intestine. Well, it does not end here; whatever unhealthy food items have been thrown into the body, it would be appearing in the form of raging red acne or pimples. Above all, the role of diet can’t be avoided when it comes to our largest organ. Several types of researchES have concluded that diet may play a significant role in the development of acne. Some studies even suggest that including more omega-3 fatty acids, food rich in antioxidants, and dietary fibre not only resolves acne problems but also serves as the best diet for glowing skin. So here you can clearly see how acne and diet have EVERYTHING to do with each other?

Before switching to the do’s and don’ts for acne diet, let’s discuss what causes acne?

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It results in whiteheads, blackheads or pimples which usually appear on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders. Acne treatment is important, if not treated this problem can be persistent. However, the causes of acne are unidentified, dermatologistS and skin experts recognize that there are several factors linked to its causes. Here are some of the factors linked to acne formation –

1. Hormones

Androgen hormone that surge during puberty is considered to be one of the major cause in acne breakouts. This hormone encourages the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum which may clog the pores of the skin, thus contributing to acne.

2. Use of certain medications

Beware that certain drugs can foster the development of acne and pimples as well. Corticosteroids, and especially prednisone are known to be one of them. People who take such steroid medications can develop a type of acne (pimples or zits) called steroid acne.

3. Skin irritation 

Some external factors such as friction from garments, fluctuating temperature (intense cold and hot temperatures), or some makeup products cause irritation to the skin which in turn produce too much sebum and clog the pores. 

4. Stress

Stress is another noteworthy factor that triggers acne. Although, scientists don’t know exactly how stress worsens acne. They believe that cells producing sebum have receptors for stress hormones.

5. Diet

If the above-given factors are not causing acne in your case then what causes acne, let’s take a look. Current studies indicate that foods with glycemic load (white rice or bread) can aggravate acne. Importance of diet for A glowing skin cannot be denied but the diet to cure acne is still under a question mark. The evidence says that the consumption of low glycemic food during acne treatment helps in faster recovery from scars. A study has found that eating chocolate was related to the worsening of symptoms however, this is not enough to prove that chocolate can cause acne. Hence, further study is needed to be conducted that why this happens and whether people with acne would benefit from specific dietary restrictions.

Important facts on acne

  • Over the past 10 years, the average age of an acne sufferer has increased from 20.5 years old to 26.5 years old.
  • Acne is a skin condition that involves oil glands at the base of hair follicles.
  • Acne can strike at any age (30s, 40s, and even 50s).
  • Excessive cleaning can aggravate skin, which can cause even more acne or pimples.
  • Squeezing pimples does not help in healing acne or pimples but can lead to scarring.
  • Toothpaste is not meant to treat acne, as there is no scientific evidence regarding the same.
  • Stress or anxiety triggers acne flare-ups.

Biggest Myths about Acne and Food

There is a famous quote that half knowledge is dangerous. Usually, we come across many myths in our day to day life and start believing them. Do you know that there are several myths about what causes acne and cure of acne as well?  Here we will explain some of the common myths about acne and foods.

1. Pimples from Chocolate

Do not eat chocolates otherwise, acne or pimples will trouble you. This is the half-truth that you know about acne. In early times, chocolates were considered the first culprit and asked to be avoided during acne treatment, but no solid evidence has been reached that chocolate triggers acne.

As per recent studies, it has been found that chocolate intake during infection of Propionibacterium acnes (Gram-positive bacteria) resulted in the increased release of chemicals that cause inflammation. However, this study remains doubtful because it may be due to the presence of specific constituent i.e. cow milk. However, further studies will be able to establish the role of causative factor for acne so currently everything is unclear.

2. Pimples from Fat

In the body, there are two types of fat i.e. good and bad. As names indicate good fats are good for the body and bad fats are bad for the body. To get rid of acne, it is important to avoid bad fat-containing foods such as junk food, cookies, fried food, and oils. Whereas, avocado, bananas, walnuts, ground flaxseed are the great sources of good fats. In addition, food items packed with good fat are considered the best diet for glowing skin.

3. Toothpaste cures acne

There is a big myth that toothpaste helps to clear the pimples. Skin dries out from the toothpaste leads to the production of more sebum in that area. This causes the area to become more sensitive and produces even more pimples. So do not use toothpaste to get rid of your problems, it may only make it worse.

4. Coffee can cause acne

We start looking for multiple factors that what causes acne in our case. In this race, coffee comes under the most suspected causes. Coffee is one of the favourite beverages among people all over the world. So, it becomes indigestible when coffee lovers come across this fact that their favourite drink can cause acne. Saying goodbye to coffee during acne treatment can be a reason to get upset. But there are no strong findings that can prove that coffee is causing acne. Of course, coffee contains caffeine but it is also loaded with many other biochemical compounds such as chlorogenic acid, quinides, lignans, dipertenes such as cafestol and kahweol, and a massive range of different antioxidants. Several studies have been conducted about the effect of coffee on acne, but most of them are contradictory to each other.

5. Acne is a teenager problem

Acne is a hormonal issue, one that is more common in teenagers. However, as per statistics more than 50 per cent of women and about 25 per cent of men experience adult acne between the ages of 25 to 49 years.  Hormonal fluctuations are more common in women than in men, hence, women are more prone to adult acne.

Acne-Fighting Foods

Even research studies don’t give the total clarity when it comes to identifying the foods that may help to get rid of acne. Undoubtedly, a healthy diet for glowing skin also plays an integral role to reduce the possibility of acne.  Here we are listing some best acne-fighting foods.

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Interestingly, Omega 3 fatty acids are the best solution to the problem “what causes acne”. Switching to a diet rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids during acne treatment can be a wise decision. Omega-3 fatty acids are the anti-inflammatory agents that fight off inflammation during skin problems. They help keep acne at bay and also speed up the healing of acne scars. In addition, good levels of omega-3s in skin promote the good flow of nutrients and help in the elimination of waste. One can get Omega-3 Fatty Acids from flaxseed oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and almonds. To know more about how Omega 3 fatty acids are good for healthy and clear skin read here.

2. Vitamins E and C

It has been observed that individuals with acne have low levels of fat-soluble vitamin E and C. Therefore, supplementation with these vitamins helps to improve the skin condition in acne patients.  Being packed with antioxidants, vitamin E and vitamin C have a calming effect on the skin. Great sources of Vitamin C are oranges, lemons, grapefruit, papaya, and tomatoes. Vitamin E is found in peanuts, sunflower seeds, broccoli, and hazelnuts.

In fact, the use of skin care products that contain Vitamin C is quite effective to clear up acne and reduce the redness associated with it. For instance, Re’equil Vitamin C Face Toner clears skin impurities, reduces acne, and offers even skin tone.

3. Low Glycemic Index diet

Several research studies have suggested that following a low-glycemic diet offers great help to heal the scars and to reduce inflammation during acne treatment. Foods with a high glycemic index are known to cause acne breakouts in some people.  The reason is that high glycemic index foods break down quickly during digestion.

High Glycemic Index food includeS sugary drinks like white bread, white rice, sugary drinks like milkshakes whereas wholegrain or multigrain bread, traditional porridge oats or cereals come in the category of low glycemic food. Several studies support that food with a low GI serve as a great diet for glowing skin.

4. Green tea

Benefits of green tea for acne treatment are incredible.  It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce the redness and inflammation caused by acne. In addition, green tea consumption on a daily basis help to manages the hormonal imbalances that can lead to acne. Antioxidants in green tea neutralize free radicals and hence protect our skin cells and keep them healthy. Next time, when your friends ask what causes acne, tell them to sip green tea.

Anti Acne Diet For Glowing Skin And Overall Wellness

Whether you are dealing with acne or not, keeping a food journal will be only beneficial for you. Keeping a food journal not only benefits skin appearance but offers overall wellness as well. Food dairy means you keep the record of every snack, meals, and beverages that you are having every day.  During acne treatment tracking diet for several weeks may help you identify whether certain foods are causing acne breakouts. During this period, if a certain food is suspected of causing acne, then the best guide is to eliminate it from your diet. In short, skin can benefit from the same nutrition we get from foods that have a positive effect on biological functions. In fact, new research suggests that consumption of foods which are enriched in protein, vitamins, and minerals might provide valuable anti-ageing effects.

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