You’re well into your 30s and inexplicably you notice new crops of pimples plaguing your face like a teenager. Before you succumb to total panic, take a look at your diet and you may find the culprit lying there.
We’ve been told that milk is good for us, but that’s if we are a 10 pound baby waiting for the next feed. The truth is that for acne-prone adults, the more milk you drink, the more likely you are to have acne — especially if it’s skim milk. Scientists are still trying to figure out why, but it could be the hormones that cows make when they are pregnant, which wind up in their milk. People who have higher levels of those hormones in their blood tend to have more acne.
Sugar and Some Carbs
This may seem like a no-brainer but it’s surprising it see how many people actually forget that they are literally feeding their acne daily with processed diet. Let’s face the facts: you’re more likely to have acne if your diet is full of foods and drinks like soda, white bread, white rice, and cake. The sugar and carbohydrates in these foods tend to get into your blood really quickly. That means they are high on the glycemic index, a measure of how foods affect blood sugar. When your body makes more insulin to bring down blood sugar, it affects other hormones that can boost oil production in your skin.
This is yes and no for us. The truth is that the key ingredient, cocoa, doesn’t seem to be the reason. In one study, people who ate chocolate with 10 times more cocoa were no more likely to get pimples than those who ate the regular kind. Dark chocolate, with less sugar and milk, may be a better choice if you’re trying to control your acne. Therefore for us, the real culprit seems again to be the sugar inside processed chocolate such as your snickers bar. So if you need a chocolate fix, aim for dark chocolate instead.
This is a case of too much of a good thing being bad. Seaweed, a key ingredient of Japanese cuisine is a great source of iodine, which your thyroid gland needs to work properly. But too much iodine at once can make you break out. Most adults need 150 micrograms a day, though pregnant and breastfeeding women need more. If you eat a balanced diet, it’s hard to get too much. Along with seaweed, you can get iodine from foods like fish, dairy products, and iodized salt. So watch your iodine intake and if you are breaking out, cut back.
Starting a new exercise regime and consuming protein shakes? You may find that your body isn’t the only thing that is changing—- you may be getting new spots on your face too! Whey protein, commonly found in protein shakes is a key factor in causing outbreaks.
“Whey is one of the major proteins in milk, and increases the production of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1,” explains Dr Low Chai Ling, founder of SW1 Clinic and SW1 cosmeceuticals. “This increase the sebum production of the follicles, which can clog pores by stimulating too much testosterone production,” she explains.
But before you toss that smoothie on the spot, it’s not as if one whey protein-fueled smoothie is going to totally wreck your complexion (though it can still give you a breakout), it really depends on your skin type. Know that some people are extremely sensitive to the effects of whey protein and may not be able to tolerate any while others can down copious amounts and still walk away clear skin. So test it out and if you break out, then reduce your intake of whey.