Acne Related to Food
The common skin disorder called acne vulgaris affects approximately 4 out of 5 people ages 11 to 30, notes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Also known simply as acne, this condition leads to one or more visible blemishes on the skin that often occur repeatedly. Although acne afflicts teenagers most frequently, it can appear at any age.
Causes of Acne
Acne is the result of bacteria, dead skin cells and excess oil referred to as sebum building up inside your skin's hair follicles. When those substances accumulate inside follicles, they can combine and create a plug that blocks and irritates the follicle. The exact reason why your body may begin to produce too much sebum is unknown, but bacteria, heredity, hormones and some medications influence the condition.
Despite widespread beliefs otherwise, two things that do not cause acne are diet and dirt. Popular myths suggest that specific types of food such as chocolate, greasy dishes and various junk or snack foods are capable of producing acne breakouts. Yet respected organizations ranging from the American Academy of Dermatology to the FDA to the Mayo Clinic all state that current scientific research cannot prove a definite causal association between eating certain foods and the occurrence of acne. What scientific studies do show is a possible relationship between acne and foods classified as dairy products or high-starch refined carbohydrates.
AcneNet and the Skin Therapy Letter cite observations about patterns of milk consumption indicating that drinking more milk as an adolescent may be linked to acne breakouts. Milk may have such an effect owing to the hormones present in the beverage, which farmers often obtain from pregnant cows.
Other scientific studies seem to show that eating a lot of refined carbohydrates such as bagels and bread may also cause acne breakouts. Western diets high in starchy carbohydrates affect insulin levels, leading to both insulin resistance and increased production of sebum. All research on the link between acne and dairy products or carbohydrates is in early stages as of 2010, however, and additional evidence is necessary to prove a definite association, according to the the American Academy of Dermatology.
Other Food Considerations
Although evidence that any type of food can actually cause acne is inconclusive, eating some foods may affect the severity of acne breakouts once they occur. For example, eating an excessive amount of foods often incorrectly blamed for starting acne, such as greasy pizza or french fries, may worsen an existing acne breakout. If you are allergic to food preservatives or specific foods such as dairy products or wheat, you may find that eating them also makes your acne breakouts more severe.
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