Acne treatment Acne treatment

Food Intolerance and Acne

Food Intolerance and Acne Food Intolerance and Acne Food Intolerance and Acne


Acne is a common skin condition characterized by clogged pores, blackheads, and pimples that affects teenagers and adults. "Between 17 and 45 million people have acne, making it the most common skin disease in the United States," according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Food intolerance may be one of the many causes.


"It's confirmed. Dairy products and sugar cause acne," says Mark Hyman, MD in The Huffington Post. It's not what you put on your skin, but what you put in your mouth that is the culprit in causing pimples. Dairy products, like milk and cheese, naturally contain over 60 different bovine hormones, even the organic, raw, hormone-free milk. Intolerance to the hormones in milk and their impact on your own hormones is a cause of acne.


Eating sugary foods and refined carbs increases your blood sugar and insulin levels. If you are intolerant to sugary, processed foods, the increased levels of blood sugar and insulin can stimulate your skin to grow bacteria and produce acne. Dr. Hyman says controlled studies have found that "people who had higher sugar intake and a high glycemic load diet, meaning more bread, rice, cereal, pasta, sugar, and flour products of all kinds, had significantly more acne." According to James F. Balch, M.D. in the "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," biopsies on individuals with acne have showed their tissues' glucose tolerance to be seriously flawed, a condition one researcher called "skin diabetes."


"It has been well-established since the 1960s that iodine intake can exacerbate acne," says University at Buffalo dermatologist Harvey Arbesman, M.D. He believes the connection between acne and dairy products could be due to the combination of hormones and the significant levels of iodine found in milk. Cows are fed iodine-fortified feed to prevent infection, and farmers use sanitizing iodine solutions on udders and milking equipment. Consequently, there can be a lot of iodine in dairy products. Dr. Balch also recommends avoiding foods that are high in iodine, such as iodized salt, fish, kelp and onions.

Keep a Food/Skin Journal

Food intolerance will vary and manifest differently from person to person. Keeping track of the foods you eat and their effects on your skin may help identify the foods that trigger your acne. Consider eliminating certain foods from your diet and see if your acne improves. Alcohol, butter, caffeine, cheese, chocolate, cocoa, cream, eggs, fat, fish, fried foods, spicy foods, hydrogenated oil, margarine, wheat, meat and soft drinks are possible suspects, according to Dr. Balch.

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