Diet and Vulgar Acne

Is there a link between diet and acne?

The link between diet and acne has been empirically demonstrated by many people. There are those who cover themselves with pimples when they exaggerate with chocolate, those who notice a link between acne and fatty foods like fries, and those who consider the hated pimps the inevitable "vent" of a recent indigestion.

Nevertheless, since the 1960s, scientific research has repeatedly emphasized the absence of obvious relationships between diet and acne.

Those who practice holistic medicine, on the other hand, have always maintained that toxins, stress and bad nutrition contribute significantly to the eruption. Examining the scientific literature of the last few years, however, we find that even according to some academic studies there is a link between acne and diet.

Foods to Avoid

The most reliable research on the subject shows that a diet rich in high glycemic index foods can promote the appearance of acne.

High Glycemic Index Foods

If consumed in excess, sugary sodas, yoghurts and fruit juices sweetened with industrial quantities of sucrose, white bread, pastry products and various sweets, raise insulin levels, which in turn increases the synthesis of IGF-1 and androgens.

These hormones stimulate the cutaneous production of sebum, an oily mass that dilates the walls of the hair follicle and incorporates cellular debris until it becomes clogged. In addition to increasing sebaceous secretion, in fact, IGF-1 also stimulates hyperkeratization of the stratum corneum (it thickens the most superficial layer of the epidermis, accelerating its replacement).

The accumulation of sebum and debris inside the hair follicle leads to the formation of real "plugs", called comedones (whites first and blackheads later), and favors the appearance of pimples.

The latter are caused by the activity of some skin bacteria, which feed on sebum and release free fatty acids. These substances recall white blood cells and various inflammatory molecules, giving rise to what is commonly called a boil.

Reducing the presence of high-glycemic index foods in one's diet therefore seems a valid strategy to mitigate the severity of acne manifestations. Not only that, we have known for some time that this rule also protects from overweight, obesity, insulin resistance, type II diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome and coronary heart disease.

Acne and Chocolate

Among the foods believed to be responsible for acne, chocolate is probably the one most frequently referred to.

Being a food with a high index and glycemic load, it is clear that an abuse of chocolate can favor the appearance of acne and pimples.

However, to clarify the role of this food in the acne diet, it is important to consider the quality of the chocolate consumed.

  • If we take as a reference commercial chocolate spreads (see nutella), they are on average foods with a high index and glycemic load (because they are very rich in sugars), with high percentages of saturated fats from palm oil. Often milk derivatives are also present and their particularly sweet and inviting taste often leads to consuming them in excess. These poor quality products can therefore be considered the ideal prototype for pro-acne food.
  • The situation is different for extra-dark chocolate bars with high percentages of cocoa (70% and above), in which the content of simple sugars is lower and where tropical oils are not normally found. Furthermore, the bitter taste tends to limit its consumption portions. Therefore, accustoming the palate to this category of products by avoiding commercial ones can be a valid aid in the diet against acne. Alternatively it is also possible to prepare spreadable creams at home with quality ingredients, following our video recipes:
    • Nutella-type spreadable hazelnut cream
    • Chocolate Spread Cream Without Eggs
    • Vegan Hazelnut Spread Cream

Anti-Acne Foods

If we had to draw up a specific diet against acne we should therefore repeat the basic principles of a healthy diet. Important, therefore:

  • contrasting the right amount of fat, protein, complex carbohydrates and above all fibers, mineral salts and vitamins against a low intake of refined carbohydrates
  • rediscover fish and legumes on at least a couple of occasions each week
  • limit salt and alcohol
  • at the same time increase the intake of plant foods (fruit and vegetables) and consume at least 4-5 servings per day.

A diet of this type provides numerous functional substances (phytocomplexes), which act harmoniously in regulating biological functions and eliminating any need to resort to various supplements .

Supplements against Acne

Among these are products specifically designed for acne, whose composition - in the absence of a universally effective remedy - is the most variable.

In general, attempts are being made to act on several fronts, adding various substances to the diet, such as:

  • antioxidants;
  • vitamins (in particular A, E, C and pantothenic acid);
  • fibers and probiotics to regulate intestinal function;
  • zinc;
  • hepatic detoxifiers (boldo, artichoke, milk thistle);
  • plant extracts with antiandrogenic properties ( Serenoa repens, pumpkin seeds, African pigeo) for humans;
  • phytoestrogens for women.