Does Diet Cause Acne Breakouts?

Contrary to popular belief, and the well-meaning intentions of your mother long ago, diet mistakes in general don’t cause acne breakouts. Meaning that if you have never had acne before, eating a few extra burgers and fries isn’t going to create a new acne problem for you.

But studies do indicate that certain types of dietary factors could potentially trigger acne if you already have an adult acne problem, and this is important advice to share with your teens if they have issues with teen acne.

  • Dairy products and carbohydrate-rich foods like bagels, chips and breads, can trigger acne flareups. There is no official reason why this occurs for carb-eaters, but it has been found in studies and by top dermatologists to be a potential factor in worsening acne, believed to be related to these types of foods raising insulin levels, which triggers changes in your body that lead to a boost in oil gland production and in skin-clogging cells.

Worried about chocolate as an acne trigger? Don’t worry…studies show that contrary to longstanding acne myths, eating chocolate does not trigger acne flare-ups.

So far, you’re seeing foods that you may regularly eat, perhaps starting your day off with an acne-triggering breakfast and boosting your acne chances with an afternoon candy bar. Again, inform your teens of this, and have your teen’s dermatologist share further advice on what your teen may be eating too much of, to inflame present acne. It may be that avoiding certain trigger foods can make your teen’s acne treatments more effective. That’s not a guarantee, of course, but if there’s a way to avoid an acne trigger and maximize the benefits of teen acne medications, it is a good idea.

You may believe that eating greasy foods is a surefire way to experience a breakout. But studies show that eating greasy food has little to no effect on acne flare-ups. If your teen works in a greasy kitchen at a fast food place, know and inform him or her that being in a greasy environment can cause oil to stick to the skin and block hair follicles, which further irritates the skin and can trigger acne. So, it’s not the burgers, fries and onion rings that your teen can eat without much worry causing those breakouts, it’s more likely to be wearing that greasy kitchen oil around all day. That’s important to keep in mind if you fry foods while preparing meals. If you’re standing over a greasy stove, don’t wear that oil on your skin for very long. Wash your face or use your dermatologist’s suggested cleaners or wipes to rid your skin of those follicle-blocking oils as soon as you can to help prevent acne breakouts.

Are there foods that can help prevent acne?

According to the American Journal of Nutrition’s study, you may have fewer acne breakouts if you eat more whole grains, beans, and veggies, and eat less pasta, white rice, white bread, and sugar.

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