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Acne Causes


Some people say that eating certain foods makes their acne worse.

The role of diet in people with acne is controversial - you may have heard conflicting advice from media, support groups and healthcare professionals on the role of diet in managing acne.

Now a review of the evidence related to diet and acne has supported the role of a low GI (glycaemic index) diet in helping attain better skin. A low GI diet focusses on protein-rich foods such as fish, beef, lamb, nuts and legumes as well as a wide range of fruits and vegetables.

Processed and refined foods including white bread, biscuits and sweets have a high GI which means they cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels. This triggers the production of hormones such as insulin which we now believe can exacerbate acne so avoid these foods except as occassional treats.  

While carbohydrates get some bad publicity, it’s important to remember that good quality carbohydrates provide many important nutrients and should also be included as part of a balanced diet. Choose complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain breads and cereals, wholewheat pasta, barley, brown rice and beans, all of which are high in fibre. The more fibre in a food, the more slowly it's digested and the more slowly your blood sugar levels rise. 

We need more research before making other dietary recommendations and in the end, diets can only do so much. Medical treatments are still the mainstay for improving acne.

If you notice that your acne worsens after you eat certain foods, try to stop eating those foods and note what happens. If you’re still concerned about the foods you’re eating and their impact on acne, then discuss this with your dermatologist - they are the experts! 

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