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Diet can cause acne flare-ups, research finds

Diet can cause acne flare-ups, research finds
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Two studies have demonstrated that following a low-glycaemic index (low GI) diet is a change worth considering if you are plagued by acne.

Whether diet can trigger acne has long been in debate, but some recent research has offered more definitive information for those suffering acne breakouts.

High GI diets and insulin – indirect cause of acne

Two studies looked at low GI and high GI diets, with the low GI diet found to reduce inflammatory acne and lesion skin count. A high GI diet was found to cause or aggravate acne, with the underlying reason being the way insulin works in our bodies.

In women, in particular, insulin stimulates androgen production, which in turn stimulates skin cells to produce more sebum. The sebum fills up the pore, with dead skin and bacteria, causing the small infection that is acne.

Androgens = more sebum, which in turn means more blocked pores, and more acne

Whey protein, bodybuilding, and acne flare-ups

Two recent papers describe men who developed acne not long after starting on a whey protein supplement, with whey being derived from dairy. Whey protein may be a direct acne trigger in some people, likely due to the insulin-like growth factor that dairy contains, which has the same effect as insulin (insulin-like, it’s all in the name). Whey protein supplementation is commonly seen in those who work out a lot or bodybuild.

Skim or low-fat milk products have been found to be particularly high in insulin-like growth factor, with the fat thought to provide a buffer of some kind. Skim milk products are linked with acne.

Treatments for acne

There are many treatments for acne available at our Melbourne clinic, since diet alone may not solve your problems. If you have a hormone imbalance or skin problems that extend beyond a few pimples, you may need some revitalising skin treatments to shed the problem.

Sometimes the top layers of skin need treatments to rejuvenate the cells so they function optimally, kill bacteria, and remove the top few layers of dead skin cells.

This might include:

Check out our acne and acne scarring information and treatments for further details, and contact us to make an appointment to discuss your options.

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