You’ve been working hard to protect your skin. You know your skin type, you’re using the right products to wash your face twice a day, and you’re exercising and sleeping but the acne. Just. Won’t. Go. Away. Ugh! Unfortunately, this scenario can be quite common and frustrating for teenagers. It’s time to explore teenage diet to help get rid of that stubborn acne.
In the last post were a few suggestions for skin-friendly foods, but let’s talk a little more closely about the foods you should avoid. Some studies show that there is no direct correlation between food and acne. Let’s be clear: food does not cause acne! But, certain ingredients in certain foods can interact with your body and make your skin more acne-prone. If you are already trying to fight acne, then eating these foods can be a major factor in making you break out. Below are a few of these food categories.
1. Processed foods
Processed foods often have trans-fats and omega-6 fatty acids. Eating foods with high levels of trans-fats, besides making skin more acne-prone, can also lead to heart disease. Omega-6 fatty acids help cause inflammation, which is useful for when our bodies suffer from cuts or are fighting an infection, but not useful when we are trying to avoid acne break outs. Because of the high amounts of fat and refined sugars, processed foods can make your skin more acne-prone AND are also very fattening. Examples of processed food include:
Whether Starbucks is your favorite beverage place or you need an energy drink to help you keep studying overnight, almost all teenagers consume caffeine at some point. Caffeine definitely has its uses but drinking caffeine can cause your sweat glands to produce more oil. Also, caffeine interferes with your natural sleep cycle, which is important in keeping your skin clear and healthy. Examples of caffeine include:
Where does milk come from? Cows. Not just any cow, but a pregnant cow. It’s important to remember that milk contains hormones from pregnant cows. These hormones are then converted to DHT hormones, which contribute to increased sebum production, which makes skin oilier. To make it worse, many dairy products are rich in fat and fat can also contribute to increased sebum production. Examples of dairy include:
Certain seafood, particularly shellfish, has a lot of iodine. Everyone needs a little bit of
iodine, but it’s too easy to overdose. Too much iodine can lead to acne-prone skin or can
even worsen existing acne. Examples of this include:
5. Refined carbohydrates
Food with refined carbohydrates causes your blood sugar level to rise quickly, which then affects your hormones. As a teenager, you definitely don’t need anything messing with your hormones and causing your sweat glands to produce even more oil. Examples of foods with refined carbohydrates include:
It would be great if we could point out a single food item and say, “There! Hamburgers make me break out!” But everyone’s body is unique and different. What can cause one person to break out may have no effect on another person. Always check food ingredients. Try and keep note of whatever you ate when your skin breaks out. Hopefully, by developing and following good habits and taking careful control of your diet, your acne should clear up!