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How Your Eating Habits Affect Your Skin

Acne, or acne vulgaris, is the most common form of dermatosis (skin defect) that occurs during puberty. Acne is usually characterized by “symptomatic discomfort, scarring, emotional and psychosocial distress, occupational consequences and potential psychiatric disturbances including depression and suicide,” [1]. Since this disease is very common, studies are being done to help decrease symptoms, and one topic of study includes what a person eats.

Although many studies have been done, “the relationship between diet and acne is highly controversial,” [2]. Some say that it does affect the severity of acne, while others refute this idea of diet and acne being associated. However, in a recent study done by Alicja Kucharska, it is shown that “high glycemic load diets may exacerbate acne,” [2]. A glycemic load is something that helps you to know the quality and quantity of the carbs on a food product. If the glycemic load of a food is less than ten, then it is low, and if the glycemic load of a food is above twenty, then it is high. Below are some ways that certain food products can cause acne to worsen or improve [2]:

● Milk and dairy products- The hormones and steroids in milk cause black heads to form. This can also be said for skim milk and ice cream.

● Chocolate- Chocolate has commonly been associated with breakouts and acne. This research is limited, and since other ingredients within chocolate also need to be taken into consideration when studying its influence on acne, more research should be done to get more conclusive results.

● Fatty acids- It is shown that omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil can prevent inflammation and reduce the number of acne lesions a person will get.

● Grain products- Grain products usually contain a high glycemic load, which contributes to acne.

So, does your diet affect your skin? More research still must be done in order to get more accurate results, but it is still safe to say that foods with a high glycemic load (such as grain and sugar products) can cause acne to worsen. Other than these kinds of foods, there is a good chance that your diet won’t affect your skin as much. Still, it is important to incorporate healthier foods such as nuts, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet to avoid developing other health problems.


1. Tan, J. K., & Bhate, K. (2015). A global perspective on the epidemiology of acne. British Journal of Dermatology, 172, 3-12.

2. Kucharska, A., Szmurło, A., & Sińska, B. (2016). Significance of diet in treated and untreated acne vulgaris. Advances in Dermatology and Allergology/Postȩpy Dermatologii i Alergologii, 33(2), 81.



Author: Kayjah Taylor

Editor: Lauryn Agron

Health scientist: Keeana Bacchus

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