Foods to avoid if you’re struggling with acne or oily skin

Could you be unknowingly contributing to your acne through the foods you eat? The link between what we eat in our diets and acne is definitely a topic of discussion and contention. With studies showing different results it’s hard to know what’s right.

If you’re struggling with acne the chances are you’re over the feeling of having low confidence every time you break out and are looking for a long term solution. So you can move on and focus on other areas of your life. Unfortunately, acne is one of those things that can take us from feeling super confident to wanting to avoid social situations. Or make us feel down about ourselves just by looking in the mirror.

acne oily skin face

How is acne caused?

Acne is caused by a type of bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes or P. acnes for short. While most people have P. acnes on their face it’s only when this bacteria multiplies and causes inflammation that acne occurs. Inflammation can be caused when the skin’s own oil (sebum) builds up and mixes with dead skin cells so it clogs pores. This literally traps the bacteria in an oily environment in which it multiplies.

Dairy and its effect on oily skin

In 2009 a review of 21 observational studies and 6 clinical trials was undertaken. It was reported that drinking cow’s milk increased the prevalence and severity of acne because of its effect on influencing inflammatory and hormonal factors. The concerns over dairy influencing hormonal factors stem from the idea that If a cow is pregnant when it is milked there are higher levels of hormones in its milk. Also, the sugar lactose which is present in dairy can have an effect on blood glucose levels and lead to inflammation. When the body has high glucose in the blood it releases insulin to counteract this and can trigger increased oil production.

For most, cutting out things like cheese is too much of an ask but if the idea of a low dairy or dairy free diet appeals to you then seek the advice of a doctor or naturopath. They can guide you through this process and help you identify what nutrients you will be now going without and how to get them from other sources in order to keep you healthy.

acne oily skin dairy

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The benefits of a low GI diet on acne

The same study that found a correlation between consuming dairy and acne also found a positive association between a high GL (glycemic load) diet and the prevalence of acne. This is because high GL foods cause a surge of glucose to be released into the body. Which in turn makes blood glucose levels soar, and also causes insulin to be released which can contribute to oily skin.

Avoiding high GL foods is much easier than avoiding dairy for most people. Simply avoid white rice, white bread, and refined breakfast cereals and choose whole grains instead.

“The strongest evidence we have to date of a link between diet and acne comes from the glycemic index studies. These studies show that low-glycemic index diets may improve acne.” Whitney P. Bowe MD, author of ‘Diet and Acne’, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

acne oily skin bread

What else can you do?

  1. Eat less refined sugar

Eating less refined sugar helps the bacteria in your digestive system break down food which in turn means fewer toxins in the body. As one of the ways toxins can be removed from the body is through the skin the fewer toxins you put into your body the better.

“I usually recommend reducing sugar as much as possible. I replace refined, sugary foods with nutrient-dense foods- like fruit, vegetables and healthy sources of Omega-3.” Alex Caspero, Registered dietitian and author of Delish Knowledge

  1. Reduce your intake of foods that are known to cause inflammation in your body

As inflammation and acne go hand in hand, reducing foods and drinks that can cause inflammation is helpful – processed foods, refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol are the culprits here. Adding in good fats that contain omega 3 to your diet are beneficial as being an essential fatty acid it helps to combat inflammation.

  1. Drink lots of water

When you’re eating a healthy diet and being good with your eating, your body will have time to get rid of toxins that have been building up – but if you’re not drinking water your body can’t flush out the toxins (this is a reason why sometimes you can feel groggy and not have energy if starting a detox) so keep your water intake up!

acne oily skin water

The role that skin care plays in controlling oily skin

Cleansers that contain harsh chemicals can strip the skin of the oil it naturally produces which instead of helping control oily skin it actually triggers the production of more oil. This is because the oil on our skin serves as a barrier to protect us from external factors. So instead of stripping away the skin’s natural oil layer use a cream cleanser that removes impurities and leaves the skin’s barrier (it’s acid mantel) in tact.

Finish off your skin care routine by including a moisturiser that is formulated specifically for oily or combination skin. To check out our range of Certified Organic skin care products head to our online store and start taking control of your acne. Or if it’s dry skin that’s the issue have a read of our blog Get rid of flaky skin by adding these 5 foods to your diet.

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