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Can your diet cause pimples?

The saying, “you are what you eat,” takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to your skin. Greasy, carb-filled foods have long been thought to cause oily, pimply skin. But is this true or only a myth? Samit Patrawala, M.D., a dermatologist at Piedmont Newnan, sheds light on this blistering question.  

“It's very challenging to fully understand the relationship between diet and skin because of limitations in nutritional research,” says Dr. Patrawala. “But there are some studies that have shown a possible relationship between diet and acne outbreaks."

Which foods trigger acne?

Two types of foods that may trigger acne breakouts are high-glycemic foods and dairy.

High-glycemic foods include high sugary sodas and juices, candy and processed foods. Eating these foods causes your blood sugar to spike, which can lead to inflammation. Too many sugary foods can also affect your hormones and increase the activity in the oil glands in the skin.

There is some evidence that shows that acne may be associated with dairy consumption, especially with milk.

“One recent study showed that low-fat skim milk consumption was associated with acne, whereas other types of milk and dairy products had no association,” says Dr. Patrawala. “Skim milk has a different composition than full-fat milk, which contains saturated fats and numerous medium-chain fatty acids that may be helpful in promoting a healthy metabolism.”

Tips for acne prevention

Acne is a very common condition, and it’s also very treatable. To keep your skin free from blemishes, Dr. Patrawala recommends the following tips:

  • Wash your face with a gentle facial cleanser. “Sometimes people will wash their face multiple times per day with harsh soap, but that can cause irritation,” he says.  “Just wash your face with a gentle facial cleanser.”
  • Use a nice moisturizer with sunscreen. Sunscreen will prevent post-acne marks from getting darker, which will help them fade more quickly. 
  • Eat a healthy diet.  Load up on lean protein, fruits and vegetables.  “I think people are more conscious of their health and what they eat,” says Dr. Patrawala. “They realize their health can be affected by their diet. That not only affects your general health, but that can also affect your dermatological health as well."

If you are following these tips and still having problems with acne, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist near you.  


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