Acne is not only painful, it’s also something that everyone else can see from just looking at you. (duh!)
Now, any grown up would agree that we’re all different and we all struggle with something. Some things we can change, some things we just can’t.
When it comes to acne, the good news is that you can actually do something about it. It doesn’t need to stay there forever with you. It’s not like you’re born too short or too tall. Acne is something you can find a solution for, if you’re willing to test and try. But you have to be patient and consistent.
Now. The best way to successfully change things in life is to first try what worked for others.
While what you’ll read below is not specifically for you, these tips have worked for others who have acne and other skin issues, according to studies.
Whether or not it will work for you? Well you’ll need to try and adjust.
What exactly can you do about acne?
There are different factors involved in acne, but among the most important ones are:
- hormonal disturbances
- bacteria called P. acnes
By changing your diet you can do something about all of these causes.
In fact there are two foods that can make acne worse and if you get rid of them, you might actually get rid of acne as well. So here they are.
1. High glycemic foods
White flour, white rice and sugar are a source of fast glucose for your body – they are also called high glycemic foods.
This means that the glucose in these foods is absorbed into your bloodstream very quickly. So when you consume high amounts of carbs that are also absorbed fast, your blood glucose levels rise like crazy. (1)
What does this have to do with acne?
This way of eating increases the activity of insulin and insulin-like-growth factor aka IGF-1. (1) Remember this IGF-1, it’s an important molecule in acne.
(Are you still with me?)
These molecules have many important functions in the body, but higher levels & activity are linked to increased sebum and androgen (these are steroid hormones like testosterone) production. Both of these outcomes are risk factors for acne. (2)
In fact females and males with acne have increased levels of IGF-1 in their blood. (2)
Also a study showed acne patients eat on average a diet with a higher glycemic index/glycemic load than people without acne.(1)
I know, you probably know many people who eat a high-glycemic diet and don’t have any acne. Don’t look at them. Look at your diet. Do you eat a lot of high glycemic foods or not? If not then maybe you need to eliminate the other type of food on this list.
If yes – switch to a low-GI diet. Eat more fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts, legumes, fish and whole grains instead of refined grains. Try to avoid foods with high glycemic load that are made with white flour, sugar, white rice or potatoes.
2. The Other Food
Something else that increases the levels of IGF-1 in the body is milk.
I never really thought about what milk actually is. I always thought of it as something that’s needed to make cheese or something to make coffee more bare-able.
But the fact is: milk is a liquid that makes a small baby grow very fast.
It contains a TON of growth hormones and anabolic steroids. So when you drink milk, you’re basically drinking growth hormones and anabolic steroids.
And we humans make it a little worse than that. Because on top of the natural hormones that the cow produces, dairy cows are often treated additionally with bovine growth hormone. Why? Well to be able to make milk all the time. (1)
It’s been demonstrated that the milk from these dairy cows contains increased amounts of IGF-1. (1) This is why you might have also noticed that some types of milk do not make your acne worse. Hate it or love it, milk is just not what it used to be.
2a. Oh, yeah and this surprising “food” also causes acne
Another thing nobody mentions is protein supplements.
Specifically whey protein supplements.
Whey protein makes 20% of cow’s milk (1) and it might be among the factors contributing to the development of acne.
It’s been apparently a thing for many years, that bodybuilders & athletes would get acne when they supplement their diets with whey protein (7, 8). One of these studies also reported acne went away after the volunteers stopped supplementing.
Well, according to one other study women are very likely to develop some form of acne after taking whey protein for a while (about 2 months).
The shocking part is that everyone in that study, male or female, with or without family history of acne, developed some form of acne by the end of the study. In fact people who didn’t have any history of acne in the end had more acne lesions than people who were already treated for acne. (9)
Well you do the math.
As for acne in non-Western populations?
Well in some of these societies people don’t have even one case of acne (10).
For example Eskimos.
Long long time ago a doctor named Schaefer observed that Canadian Eskimos didn’t have all the diseases we had – among them acne (11).
Surprisingly, or maybe not that surprisingly, when the Eskimos transitioned to a more modern way of life and started eating like us they developed the same diseases incl. acne.(10)
Now I know it’s not easy to give up on those two foods and eat like you’re not living in the civilization. It’s not realistic. But eating more fruits and vegetables, small amounts of whole grains, fish, legumes, nuts and seeds is definitely worth a try.
After all what do you have to lose really? Missing out on some sweets and dairy for a month? In exchange for better skin, health and body? What if that’s your solution, what if after a few weeks your skin has improved? What if it works and you haven’t tried it?
If you would like to change your diet you can read these three articles that can help you:
Remember, you need to be consistent and patient. Most of these studies reported improvement after more than 8 weeks. But if you really clean up your diet and stay on track I’m sure you’d see improvements sooner.
Hope this information helps you and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.