If you have severe acne, we’re here for you. In addition to using the best products to treat your unique skin, it’s important to eat the right foods, too.
A recent study (quoted by the Mayo Clinic) found a significant benefit of diet in the treatment of hidradenitis suppurativa. What is hidradenitis suppurativa? We’re glad you asked. It’s a form of very severe cystic acne, generally located in the folds of the body, the axillae, and groins. Based on this study and others that looked at the effect of dairy on acne, following the guidelines of the diet below seems to be a beneficial supplement to acne treatment.
Which food do you need to avoid when you have cystic acne?
1. Dairy products
Milk, cheese, and other dairy products can raise insulin levels, which leads to the overproduction of hormones called androgens that play a role in acne. Removing dairy from your diet may reduce the number of new lesions that develop and lessen symptoms of acne. Be particularly careful with whey protein, ice cream, and pizza, too — these contain a lot of dairy!
2. Avoid high glycemic food
What is the glycemic index and how is it related to acne? Food with a glycemic index of 70-100 is regarded as high glycemic food, 56-69 is considered as medium GI food and < 55 GI food is viewed as low glycemic food. In general: If you are addicted to Italian food, cook your pasta for less time. Cooking can increase the glycemic index/load (bad). So "al dente" pasta is a better choice than soft. Another tip: combine foods with protein (e.g., beans and nuts) or fat. This will slow digestion and allow for the slower conversion of carbohydrates to blood sugar, which is a good thing if you want to control acne.
Which high glycemic foods that can cause acne breakouts?
Most processed foods: boxed cereal, crackers and rice cakes, instant oats, sweetened baked goods and candies, white bread, white rice, and white potatoes. When combined with moderate exercise, reducing your sugar intake can help regular insulin levels and mitigate acne symptoms. Sugary foods include any food with added sugars and syrups, like sodas, cereal, candy, and cake.
Which low glycemic foods that can help with your acne?
Low glycemic foods that can reduce your acne: whole grains bread (GI of 46 (low), chickpeas: 33 (low), lentils: 29 (low), non-starchy vegetables, sweet potatoes have a GI of 54 (low), apples or pears: 36 (low), peaches: 28 (low), grapefruit: 25 (low).
Avoid foods that contain brewer’s yeast.
Brewer's yeast is an ingredient that is used in most bakery products (like bread, pizza dough and cake) to help the food "rise". Avoiding products with brewer's yeast can help promote the healing of skin lesions. You might find brewer’s yeast in beer, vinegar, black tea, soy sauce, bread (white and whole grain), mushrooms and bagels, too.
What should you eat if you have this severe form of acne?
Your skin loves vegetables and fresh fruit, unsweetened cereals that don’t contain yeast (from rice or corn), white meat (chicken or fish), eggs and green tea. That's a short list but it's a good place to start!