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Food and Acne

Is There a Link Between Food and Acne?

By

Updated October 06, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

There is so much information out there about food and acne. Some experts claim certain foods can cause acne, and cutting those foods from your diet can improve acne. Others say there is no link between food and acne -- that diet has nothing to do with the health of your skin.

Where does the truth lay? Probably somewhere in the middle. Let's try to sort it out.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates and Acne
Photo: Digital Vision / Getty Images

Not all carbs are equal and, according to a few studies, the wrong types could have an effect on your skin.

Researchers have found that high glycemic index foods (think white bread, potatoes, and sugary junk foods) seem to make acne worse. A diet rich in low glycemic index foods, which includes wheat bread, wheat pasta, legumes and other whole grains, seems to improve acne in teens.

Much more research needs to be done to prove, one way or the other, that carbohydrates have any effect on acne. Still, you really have nothing to lose by changing to a healthier diet.

Chocolate

Chocolate and Acne
Photo: PNC / Getty Images

This sweet treat has been blamed for many a case of acne. How many of us have been warmed to stay away from chocolate if we want clear skin?

Good news for all you chocoholics out there: Chocolate does not cause acne. In fact, more data is coming out showing that chocolate (the darker the better) is actually good for you.

Dark chocolate is full of healthful antioxidants. Our About.com Guide to Longevity lists even more health benefits of chocolate.

Fried Foods

Photo: Paul Radenfeld / Getty Images
Photo: Paul Radenfeld / Getty Images

Does eating oily foods translate to oily skin? Chalk this one up as another acne-causes myth.

There's no way to disguise French fries, fried chicken, and other deep-fried morsels as health food, but they don’t make your skin more oily. They won't make acne worse either.

Milk and Dairy Products

Milk and Acne
Photo: Digital Vision / Getty Images

For some people, dairy products may actually worsen acne. Several studies have shown a link between acne severity and consumption of milk and other dairy products.

It's still a stretch to say that milk causes acne, and giving up all dairy probably won't cause acne to disappear. Still, if you’re a big milk drinker, you may want to cut back on the dairy for a while and see if it has any effect on your skin.

 

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