If you're reading this article, then it's more than likely that your teenage years are long behind you, but you're still plagued by acne. Sadly, after undergoing a lot of stress earlier in the year, I ended up with the worst breakout I'd had in years.
I put it down to a change in contraception method and comfort eating. The fact that I switched to a new makeup brand didn't help the situation either. Thankfully, it's gone away now that I've improved my diet and gone back to my old makeup brand.
However, the experience was a testament to the fact that seemingly small lifestyle changes can have a big effect on your skin. While certain acne-causing situations are unavoidable in life, one of the easiest ways to prevent a breakout is a good diet.
So, without further ado, here are seven foods which could be giving you acne...
1. Refined grains and sugars
It's been proven that those with acne eat more foods containing refined carbohydrates (guilty). This includes foodstuffs made with white flour like bread and pasta as well as sodas and other sweet foods.
In fact, a study found that those who consume added sugars have a 30% higher risk of developing acne. Why does this happen? Because refined sugars are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, leading to a rise in insulin levels.
2. Dairy products
Teenagers, in particular, at a risk of developing acne if they consume too many dairy products. Two studies found that teens who regularly have a lot of milk or ice cream are at a higher risk of developing acne, although it's not clear how dairy causes acne.
One theory suggests that it could be by increasing insulin levels as both milk and ice cream contain sugars.
3. Fast food
The inclusion of fast food on this list will probably come as no surprise to you. Diets rich in fat, calories and refined carbohydrates don't do anyone's skin any favors, especially not those who are predisposed to acne.
In a study of over 5,000 Chinese teenagers, those with a diet high in fat had a 43% higher chance of developing acne and those who regularly ate fast food had a 17% higher chance.
4. Foods rich in Omega-6 fats
Yes, in case you're wondering, this also includes just about every fast food, which are rich in Omega-6 fats. Unfortunately, too few foods contain the good Omega-3 fats, and this imbalance creates an inflammatory state in the body, worsening acne.
Don't despair chocoholics. Your favorite food is only a suspected trigger, although it's been suspected since the 1920s. A study of acne-prone males found that 99% had more lesions when they ate 25 grams of chocolate a day.
While the exact acne-causing role of chocolate has yet to be determined, one study found that it reduces the reactivity of the body's immune system to the bacteria which cause it.
6. Whey protein powder
This is bad news for gym fanatics, but whey protein powder is rich in the amino acids leucine and glutamine. They speed up the body's production of new skin cells, and this has been hypothesized to cause the formation of acne.
7. Foods you're allergic too
If you're sensitive to a particular food, no matter how tasty, it's a good idea to avoid it for the sake of your skin. This is because acne is believed to essentially be an inflammatory disease and therefore sensitivities can make it a lot worse.
How? Well, because your body identifies these foods as a threat and causes your immune system to launch an attack. If you suspect that you're sensitive to a food, it's a good idea to complete an elimination diet until you get an answer.
So there you have it - seven foods which could be giving you acne. Don't worry if you're prone to it though, it's a very common problem, affecting 10% of people, and, as I explained at the start of this article, can be caused by a lot more than just diet!