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Top 5 Foods That Cause Acne

Top 5 Foods That Cause Acne

Acne is a condition that affects up to 85% of teenagers. In about 10% of them, it never completely goes away. It lingers well into adulthood.

There are many contributing factors that lead to acne. Your skin type has a lot to do with the kind of acne you get. People who have tight, dry skin tend to get small whiteheads that may oxidize and turn into small blackheads. People who have bigger pores get bigger zits.

Valley Skin Institute can tell you about your unique skin type and the cleansers and acne products that will do you the most good. Your dermatologist at Valley Skin Institute can diagnose the kind of acne you have and prescribe appropriate medications and procedures for correcting it. And you can help control your acne by avoiding the top five foods that cause acne flareups.

Sugar and Foods Your Body Turns Into Sugar

As your dermatologist gets to know acne patients better, it’s not unusual to discover that they eat too much food and refined carbohydrates. There are foods like white rice, white bread, white pasta, and white potatoes that your body turns into your digestive tract through the action of an enzyme called amylase. Instant mashed potatoes, scientists have found out, actually release more sugar into your bloodstream than sugar itself!

(It’s not OK to indulge in lots of rice, bread, and pasta just because they aren’t white, by the way.)

If you aren’t diabetic, every time you chow down on sugar or high-carb food, your body releases insulin to keep your blood sugar levels normal. Insulin doesn’t just normalize blood sugar levels. It also keeps fat locked in fat cells. And it energizes the hormones in your skin that make the cells around your pores grow faster so they lock oily sebum inside.

Cutting back on sugar and high-carb foods slows down pimple production. Cutting back on sugar is a first step in getting acne under control


Chocolate makes your skin break out. We all know that, right?

Skin researchers have run controlled experiments to make sure.

One group of skin researchers found that eating dark chocolate accelerates a process called desquamation. If you eat dark chocolate every day, the cells in the very top layer of your skin break down faster. The breakdown products feed bacteria that make pores inflamed and form pimples.

Another group of skin researchers found that milk chocolate just three times a week makes severe acne even worse. The combination of stimulants in chocolate and hormone modifiers in milk makes your recovery from acne harder.

We aren’t saying that you should never, ever taste even a tiny bit of chocolate. But if you can’t make it an occasional treat, it’s best to stay away from it. And when you do eat chocolate, look in the mirror about two days later to see if you have more blemishes. If you do, sorry, you need to avoid chocolate.

Three more foods you wouldn’t think make acne worse, but do.

Some people who have acne are sensitive to dairy products in general. But lots of teens who have acne break out when they use muscle-building products that contain whey, extracted from cow’s milk. The whey stimulates insulin production. That’s a good thing for building muscles, but it’s a bad thing for your skin.

There are fats that don’t make your acne worse. These are the healthy fats in fish (not fried fish, but steamed fish, baked fish, broiled fish, and sushi) and nuts. These foods contain omega-6 fatty acids that your body turns into hormones that slow down inflammation. But any kind of liquid cooking oil contains omega-6 fatty acids that your body turns into hormones that accelerate inflammation. Any food that has been through a deep fryer will make you more likely to break out.

And there are also foods that some people are sensitive to and other people are not, like kelp and tomatoes. The bottom line is, if you have a sudden breakout, think about what you ate the day before and the day before that, and cut them out of your diet to see if your skin improves.


The best way to improve your skin is to work with the doctors and skin professionals at Valley Skin Institute in Fresno. Contact us online or call us at (559) 472-7546 for your appointment today!


Dr. Leslie Storey | Valley Skin Institute

Dr. Leslie Storey is a board-certified physician specializing in medical and surgical dermatology. Her mission is to find and remove skin cancer, which she does more than 2,000 times a year. An expert in Mohs Surgery, Dr. Storey’s patients often comment that they are amazed at how minimal their scar is after they have healed from surgery. If you notice anything suspicious on your skin, request an appointment with Dr. Storey to have it checked out.

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