The wrong acne diet has been pinpointed as the number one cause of acne in adults. In the last 30 years, dermatologists insisted that acne was not caused by the foods that people eat. However, at the 67th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers presented data that contradicts this. Their research showed that a low-glycemic diet has contributed to “low or zero incidence of acne in populations with non-Westernized diets”. Here are some implications from that research.
Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables together with lean meats, fish and seafood may help in improving skin conditions. In addition to this, staying away from other types of foods may be the secret to minimizing the occurrence of acne. There may, of course, be another answer which further research could reveal. However, it is a common observation that people whose diet does not normally include heavily processed foods, cereal grains, saturated and trans-fatty oils and refined sugars appear to be acne-free.
Diet can trigger a hormonal response that increases sebum secretion and raises the possibility that diet helps control acne. When the diet induces excess levels of insulin in the blood (hyperinsulinemia), this condition increases androgens which cause the production of sebum and the uncontrolled growth of epithelial cells. On the other hand, high-glycemic diets with higher carbohydrate and sugar content, promote a substance known as IGF-1 which promotes acne the way insulin does. IGF-1 causes androgens to spur sebum production, the skin cells to proliferate and the outer layers of the skin to thicken. This was confirmed by a study of women, aged 20 – 25, suffering from acne who showed high levels of IGF-1. Another study among men 15 -25 years old showed that those belonging to a low-glycemic diet group had lower androgen levels and a decrease in acne eruptions compared with another group on a high-glycemic diet. Moreover, acne patients have been found to have a lower level of a protein that removes IGF-1 from blood circulation. These findings have helped to strengthen the case that diet plays an important role in the management and treatment of acne.
A bad acne diet for those with adult acne problems would consist of the following:
- Eating more than 100g a day of carbohydrates, especially in foods like processed breads, pasta, sweets, soft drinks and the like. They stimulate insulin production.
- Choosing vegetable oils, margarines and trans-fats in processed foods over traditional fats from coconut and fish oils, natural butter and cultured cream.
- Consuming non-organic meat and dairy products. These contain large amounts of hormones and other animal food supplements which can be harmful, especially to women.
Conversely, a good acne diet for persons with adult acne problems should concentrate on plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and seafood and small amounts of lean meat. Of all the treatments
available for adult acne, maintaining the right acne diet is the best starting point as scientific research has shown.