For obvious reasons, most people would dream for healthy and acne-free skin, but there are a lot of myths going around about what causes acne, and one of them is our diet. To help yourself to prevent acne and take care of your skin, one way to do it would be by learning how to distinguish misconception from fact. Our dermatologist, Dr. Ingky has cleared up the misconception that peanuts and oily food can worsen acne.
Acne is caused by an increase in sebum, which is an oily substance, people have long assumed that eating greasy foods makes your skin greasy, leading to an acne eruption. This has never been scientifically proven, so you don’t need to worry about eating fried or greasy foods when it comes to your skin. Our dermatologist has corrected this misconception. It’s not the oil that you should worry about, but the number of calories. In this post, Dr. Ingky explains how food with high calories can trigger acne.
More calories = More acne
There is a growing body of scientific evidence to support the idea that diet and acne are connected. The predominant dietary factor that affects acne development is caloric intake. Research has shown that high calorie diet increases hormones that are associated with acne.
In the study, 32 people with clear skin and 32 people with moderate to severe acne completed a five-day food diary and had blood work done. The researchers discovered that 61 percent of the participants overall experienced that their diets could make their skin worse. The most implicated foods among acne-sufferers were pizza, french fries, and chocolate. This is when the assumption that oily foods cause acne occurs.
However, when the researchers checked out the blood work, they found carbs seemed more to blame. The people who suffered from acne consumed more of their calories from carbohydrates, ate more carbs overall, and ate more empty carbs than acne-free people did.
They also tended to eat more foods with high sugar which made their blood sugar spike sharply after eating. So the formula here is, a higher calorie intake leads to the worsening of acne. This could be why there are so many misconceptions about diets that seem to work in the short term. Because when you eliminate foods that you suspected that caused acne, you are decreasing your overall calorie intake. Now, let's have a look at how calories affect hormones in the body, specifically insulin, and how this might be associated with acne.
The following insulin hormones rise when we eat, particularly when we eat carbohydrates:
- Insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1)
- IGF-1 binding factor (IGFBP-1)
These insulin hormones in turn may affect the following two proteins:
- FoxO1- lower skin oil production
- mTORC1 - promotes skin oil production
Here is a simplified version of how this might happen. Researchers have found insulin hormones act by decreasing the amount of FoxO1 and increasing the amount of mTORC1 in the body. When FoxO1 levels decrease and mTORC1 levels increase, this leads to an increase in skin oil (sebum) production. In general, more sebum means more acne. So, a high calorie diet may push this process, leading to a large increase in sebum, and voila, more acne.
Therefore, if we do the opposite, it can result in a clearer skin. A low-calorie diet will decrease sebum production. And when decrease in sebum production, skin is less prone to acne.
So What Should We Make of This?
Some evidence is showing us that eating a high-calorie diet, particularly eating a lot of high sugar foods, might lead to more acne. However, it's impossible to stick to a low-calorie diet in the long term and stay fuelled and healthy. Therefore, rather than trying to use caloric restrictions to limit acne, try eating sensible portions of nutritious and foods that contain less sugar when you can instead. In short, don't obsess over calories. Instead, try to become more aware of what you are eating and make better choices. Try to eat healthy and unprocessed food, then you are more than halfway there.
Would you like to know more about skin health? We are here to help! Skynfyx is run by a group of skin doctors and skincare experts who want everybody to achieve flawless skin at the cheapest possible cost. Skynfyx also can customize a skincare range just for your skin condition.