Acne Diet At A Glance
- Best Results4 to 10 weeks
- Treatment RecoveryNA
- Procedure TimeNA
- Skin SpecialistDietician
- Duration of ResultsLong lasting
- Back to WorkNA
Dermatologists encourage patients to try the acne diet before exploring prescribed medications. Avoiding acne trigger foods can also be adjunctive treatment, resulting in faster control of acne. Trigger foods include foods with a high GI index such as sugars, sweets, & processed food. Eating a health well balanced diet can improve acne.
FactsFacts on diet and acne
- Eating a well balanced diet can improve acne
- The results of diet can range from minimal improvement to a significant reduction in acne counts
- Eating less sugars and processed foods can help reduce acne counts
- Consuming foods with a low GI index such as non-milk based protein can help reduce acne
- Chocolate does not cause acne, but sugars mixed with chocolate
- We encourage patients to follow a well balanced acne diet as a supplement to our medical approach to acne treatments
Why is there such a big deal publicised about acne and diets?
Over the past few decades stubborn academics refute the causal link between diet & acne. This myth has been now debunked. Recent research has shown that in some people there is a link between diet & acne. If you change your diet, & acne improves, you may not need to go on medication.
The acne free diet is not a fad diet, it is a simple diet based upon eating less processed foods such as sugars, and increasing your low GI foods. It may not work for everyone, but we do encourage patients to try it out– the absolute worse thing that can happen is that your acne does not improve on this diet, but you are eating more health meals!
What food can flare up acne?
Research has shown that foods with a high glycemic index (GI) can flare up your acne. The mechanism is though to be hormonally mediated, via insulin like growth factor mechanisms. Most Dermatologists now believe that following a low GI diet can help some cases of acne.
High GI foods include simple sugars such as sweets and chocolate (chocolate is actually a fat, and not a sugar, however most chocolates contain simple sugars, a source of high GI foods.). Processed foods such as white bread, biscuits, chips and junk foods have a high GI index and should be avoided in patients with acne.
What foods groups should I eat to help improve my acne?
Eating foods with a low GI index can help improve acne. Food groups include complex carbohydrates, & protein such as meat, fish, eggs, and soy. Dairy products such as milk should be consumed in moderation.
Will an acne free diet treat all forms of acne?
No. The cause of acne in multifactorial, including genetics, hormonal, stress, and dietary. Diet related acne usually has trigger foods, such as chocolate, sweets, sugars and high GI foods. Most people are usually aware of their triggers as acne lesions tend to flare 2-3 days after certain food types.
Hormonal acne is usually seen around the chin and jaw line area and fluctuates with the monthly period cycle. Diet changes have impact on hormone related acne, however most patients will require other medication to treat this stubborn form of acne.
Bacne or back acne is a form of tuncal acne. This form of acne may respond to dietary changes, however the overall improvement maybe modest, compared to the severity of acne.
Cystic acne affecting the face, and occasionally back can be resistant to diet changes. In most cases this type of scarring acne responds to vitamin A tablets such as Oratane – Roaccutane – Accutane.
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Should I incorporate the acne diet in my programme?
Ideally, yes! The acne diet is a simple but most importantly a healthy diet that encourages sensible intake of all food groups, minimising sugars and processed foods. Dietary changes may not necessarily be the first line treatment of scarring forms of acne, however in some situations it maybe indicated if acne is mild, or non-scarring.
What other natural treatment are there for acne?
Apart from diet, there are numerous natural remedies that may help reduce acne. These natural treatments should be considered if your acne is mild, non-scarring, or if you would like to consider a more natural approach to treatment. Ideal if you are contemplating pregnancy or for breast-feeding mums.
- AHA or Fruit acid peels- Simple chemical peels derived from fruit acids, great acne and skin rejuvenation. Can help with mild scars.
- Zinc Sulfate tablets- Obtainable via a health food shop. Take as directed, as dosages will vary.
- Tea tree oil – Can be used to dry out acne lesions. Be very careful not to cause irritation. This acts as an antibacterial agent and does not treat the cause of acne.
- Blue or red light therapy- This treatment as it has been around for over 20 years. Phototherapy works by temporarily suppressing bacteria associated with acne lesions.
Do protein powders cause acne?
No, in fact protein can improve acne. Make sure you are on a low GI protein powder, with a low sugar value. Protein is LOW GI, and this diet can actually improve acne. As discussed, a recent publication in the American Academy of Dermatology Journal has found a positive correlation between MILK & acne. If you are mixing your protein shakes with milk you may want to consider swapping to water. There may other factors contributing to your acne including sweating, occlusion, and hormones.
Most weight lifters suffer from bacne, sweating and hormones may worsen cases of acne on the back, shoulders and trunk.
What happens if an acne free diet does not work?
Specialists at Cutis endorse & encourage health eating. Remember the acne free diet can reduce acne lesions, however this well balanced diet that can actually build lean body mass and decrease body fat percentage. Even if the diet does not produce the reduction of acne lesions you are looking for, it will make you a healthier person.
If acne still persists despite optimal dietary control, we do have effective acne treatments including tablets, creams, hormonal control, chemical peels & Vitamin A taken as a tablet.
Can diet improve acne scars?
There is no evidence that diets can improve scarring. The flip side is that for scars to remodel, one should be on a sensible, well-balanced diet. Supplementation is not required if you consume RDI of proteins. A diet high in elemental zinc can reduce acne lesions, which in turn can reduce future scarring. Zinc can be obtained through health food shops.
Collagen powders are readily available & are cost effective. They can help with joints, however there are no good studies to show powders are effective in the management of scars. Nevertheless they are a safe as a supplement, much like vitamins.
Davin’s Viewpoint on acne diets and treatments
Acne and other skin conditions can respond to dietary changes, however patients should be mindful as to what types of acne lesions are suitable for an acne diet. Hormonal & cystic acne should not be managed with diet alone, as medical treatments should be considered. Patients with scarring acne should also consider medical treatments as first line, & dietary changes as supplementary.
An acne free diet is a well balanced diet high in protein and foods with a low GI index, high GI foods should be consumed in moderation. Working in with a medical dermatologist using medical treatments will give patients the best outcomes.
Disclaimer: I do not manage acne in my daily work. This is a medical condition that can be treated by my colleagues @cliniccutis
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