Diet and Acne: Is There Really A Connection?

Food is an essential part of our well-being. For most of us, the question of whether or not snacking on chocolate or cheese can contribute to acne has once crossed our minds. Here to grace us with her knowledge on this topic is Dr. Meg Sison, a Fellow from the Philippine Dermatological Society and board-certified dermatologist.

FURTHER READING: Hormonal Acne 101

How are diet and acne connected?

According to Dr. Meg, high serum insulin levels are the only thing that’s sure to contribute to the cause of acne among adult patients. Other claims need more research before stated as a fact otherwise. “Implications of studies linking acne with milk and foods with high glycemic index are not clear and the role of chocolate, sweets, milk, high glycemic index foods, and fatty foods in patients with acne requires further study,” she states.

In short, not much evidence is present when it comes to the assumption that diet plays a role in breakouts. Dr. Meg highlights that “Acne has a complex pathogenesis and there are several factors that come into play such as genetics and lifestyle that can also contribute to flare-ups.” Safe to say, what we eat may be out of the question for our skin’s flare-ups. However, it’s never a wrong idea to pay attention to your diet. “It’s best to enjoy every food in moderation and consult a board-certified dermatologist for medical management of acne instead of eliminating certain food groups,” she states.

For Dr. Sison’s skincare ingredient recommendations, she says that retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, salicylic acid, and alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are great for acne. She advises that it’s best to stick to a basic routine. “Make sure also to use gentle cleansers, moisturizers, and of course broad-spectrum sunscreens,” Dr. Meg says. 

The conclusion

It turns out that it’s not the dairy you’re eating that’s contributing to acne, so there’s no need to exclude that from your diet. Still, it’s definitely worth paying attention to what you eat because of general health reasons. To deal with your acne, it’s best to consult with a board-certified dermatologist!

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About the contributor

Dr. Maria Elinor Grace (Meg) Sison is a board-certified dermatologist and a Fellow of the Philippine Dermatological Society. She is currently practicing in Laguna and sees medical and cosmetic dermatology cases. You can follow her on instagram @drmegsison or on her Facebook page DrMegSisonDERMA.

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