Pimples, zits, blackheads, whiteheads. Acne. No matter what you call it, it’s all the same: It sucks. Dealing with these bumps on your face is not only irritating, but often painfully debilitating and extremely expensive.
In fact, In 2013 alone, acne treatment exceeded $1.2 billion factoring in both the cost of treatment and the lost of job productivity. Furthermore, more than 5.1 million people sought medical treatment for acne in 2013, with the population consisting primarily of children and young adults. This is according to research published on the American Academy of Dermatology.
But what if you could save all that angst and money simply by correcting your diet? Well, according to many studies, diet could be a factor in triggering acne, particularly one high in carbohydrates. That said, here are five foods you should probably avoid if you want clearer skin.
1. Enriched bread products
White bread, bagels, rolls. If it’s white and bready, steer clear. Bread contains sugar and gluten and is a refined carbohydrate that has been found to spike insulin levels. When this happens, it causes new skin cells to grow as well as more oil in your body to be produced.
Skin cells and oil are both good at the appropriate levels, but too much of these two will cause them to intertwine beneath your pores causing them to be clogged with a uncomfortable concoction of skin cells and sebum (oil), creating pus filled monsters to pop up all over your face.
2. Enriched pasta and noodles
Much like bread, pasta and other refined noodles that shall remain nameless (ahem … Ramen), contain gluten in the truck loads.
The thing about these, however, is they are rarely eaten plain. Add a creamy alfredo sauce filled with butter, oil, heavy cream, and cheese or a flavored salt packet, and voila, you have yourself a pimple producer.
In fact, the Advances in Dermatology and Allergology found that high plasma lev caused by consumption of milk, increases the amount of sebocytes (sebum-producing epithelial cells), resulting in the development and progression of acne lesion. And salt aids in water retention, that may cause a build up in the already clogged pores.
3. Dairy Products
The verdict is not entirely out on this one, but research mentioned above from the Advances in Dermatology and Allergology does link the consumption of milk to an overproduction of oil. And if you have acne, you know just what oil feels like in your pores and on your skin, and you don’t want to encourage more of it to produce.
So, limit your dairy intake, that includes milk, cheese, yogurt, and items that contain these things.
4. Fast Food
Despite years of experts letting us know to limit the fast food consumption, it seems to have landed on deaf ears. Why? Well, because it’s fast, cheap and delicious — three ingredients that people love when it comes to food.
However, the ingredients within the food probably isn’t worth the time and money saved. In fact, many studies including this one published in the National Library of Medicine found that acne is largely associated with eating a Western-style diet rich in calories, fat and refined carbohydrates, which are all ingredients found on many of the fast food menus.
Furthermore, one study of more than 5,000 Chinese teens and young adults found that high-fat diets were linked to a 43 percent increased risk of developing acne.
Unfortunately, the rumors are true. Chocolate and acne are linked. And the news gets worse: it isn’t just sugary, milk chocolate. Even dark chocolate and cocoa powder itself could very well be what is causing your pores to clog with soreness.
A recent study found that acne-prone males who consumed 25 grams of 99 percent dark chocolate daily showed an increase in the number of acne lesions after only two weeks.
And while the reasons behind this and the other foods acne-causing powers are not entirely certain, the statistics are there. So, why not give it a try? A life devoid or at least largely devoid of beagles, noodles, cheese, fast food and chocolate really is a small price to pay for healthy skin.