Does Diet Really Impact Acne?

Does Diet Really Impact Acne?

If you’re one of the nearly 50 million Americans living with recurrent acne breakouts, it might be time to take a closer look at your diet.

You may also consider scheduling an acne evaluation with our dermatology specialists at Daphne Panagotacos, M.D., Inc. With the right treatment plan and skin care routine, we can help clear your existing acne and lower your risk for scarring and other complications.

Dr. Panagotacos can also suggest ways to improve your diet to improve the overall health of your skin.

What you should know about acne

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the United States that affects adolescents and adults. Breakouts occur when excess oil and dead skin cells clog your pores and hair follicles.

Bacteria can also build up in clogged follicles and pores and irritate or inflame your skin. Red, painful pimples can form anywhere on your body. However, the skin on your face, shoulders, and chest produces more oil than other areas and is susceptible to acne breakouts.

When you have persistent or severe acne, you might be at increased risk for noticeable scars that form when your body produces more collagen to heal your skin. Too much collagen can lead to raised scars, while too little collagen can cause pitted scars.

You may also develop acne scars if you scratch or pop pimples and damage your skin.

Common acne triggers

Some people are prone to acne because they have naturally oily skin. Not having an optimal skin care routine to clear excess oils can contribute to acne breakouts.

You might also be at risk for acne because of:

Hormone changes

Another common trigger for acne is changes in your hormone levels, specifically androgen hormones. During puberty, androgens cause the enlargement of your skin’s oil glands and lead to increased oil production.

Older women may also develop frequent acne breakouts during their monthly period or a pregnancy due to fluctuations in their hormone levels.

Use of medications

Certain medications, including synthetic hormones and corticosteroids, can contribute to acne breakouts. It’s not well understood why medications play a role in the development of acne, but it may relate to an inflammatory response in your skin that some drugs can cause.


While excess stress in your daily life may not directly cause acne breakouts, it can certainly make existing acne worse. That is likely due to the slower healing response your body has when you’re under stress.

In addition to these factors, your diet also plays a role in acne but maybe not in the way you think.

The link between your diet and acne

There’s a common myth that greasy foods are the culprit in acne breakouts. However, the real link between acne and your diet involves high-glycemic foods and drinks. High-glycemic items are those that increase your blood sugar levels rapidly.

Examples of foods with a high-glycemic index include doughnuts, cornflakes, and white foods like bread, potatoes, and rice. 

How to adjust your diet to fight acne

There are a few things you can do to lower your risk for frequent or severe acne breakouts. According to research from the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), a low-glycemic diet prevents spikes in your blood sugar which can also stop an inflammatory response in your skin.

Following a diet that focuses on low-glycemic foods, such as beans, some fruits, and fresh vegetables, can reduce the amount of acne you have.

It’s important to note that the same research also suggests that drinking cow’s milk, which has a low-glycemic index, can make you more prone to acne breakouts. Limiting how much milk you drink can keep your skin free of acne.

We can also review your diet to see what foods might be affecting your skin. You may need to keep a food and drink journal that helps identify triggers that worsen acne. Based on your observations and a comprehensive skin evaluation, we can recommend acne treatments, facials, and other skin care services that restore your skin’s health and appearance.

Call Daphne Panagotacos, M.D, Inc. to schedule an acne consultation or book an appointment online today. 

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