Can Sugar Cause Acne?
While the causes of acne are not completely understood there is evidence that sugar and other high glycemic carbohydrates may be a contributing factor. It appears that dairy, too, is linked to acne although the association appears somewhat weak. Do does sugar cause acne? Maybe, maybe not, but sugar does seem to at least contribute to acne.
The potential link between high glycemic foods and acne should not be too surprising since these foods contribute to inflammation and inflammation is involved in nearly all if not all chronic medical conditions of which acne is one.
A study of Australian males showed that acne significantly improved in those males that followed a strict low glycemic diet. They also lost weight – which based on many of our previous posts on sugar, insulin levels, and body weight should not be surprising either.
It can take up to 12 weeks of change from a high glycemic diet to a low glycemic diet to see improvements in acne. So be patient. In the video below Dr. Whitney Bowe discusses the link between diet and acne. She is the lead author in study referenced in the above link.
Other Causes of Acne
Though not dangerous, acne can cause unattractive scarring. Acne is a skin disease involving the oil glands that are connected to pores in the skin via small follicles. The oil glands found at the base of hair follicles produce sebum an oily liquid that carries dead skin cells to the surface of the skin through the follicles. A pimple starts when the sebum, dead skin cells, and hair clump together than get infected with bacteria.
Seventeen million Americans are estimated to have acne at some point in their lives. Other factors in the development of acne include testosterone (androgen) levels, genetics, medications, cosmetics, and hormonal changes. Acne sometimes worsen one to two weeks before a woman’s menstrual cycle. Stress increases production or cortisol and epinephrine which seem to exacerbate acne, too. Excessive sweating makes acne worse. Oil based makeup, moisturizing creams, greasy hair products, and lubricating lotions can block up pores
We do occasionally see a breakout of pimples in men and women being treated with testosterone replacement therapy for testosterone deficiency. This usually responds to simply lowering the dose of testosterone.
If you are one of the 17 million Americans with acne take a close look at your diet and eliminate all added sugars and white carbohydrates and improve both your skin and general health.
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