Go to most dermatologists for acne problems, and most of the time, your diet will not even be addressed. However, the evidence is growing to suggest that what you ingest does indeed affect acne severity. In clinical practice, I have seen dramatic changes in patients’ skin by eliminating certain foods, improving diet, and correcting nutritional deficiencies.
Particular culprits, other than processed foods, appear to be milk and sugar. Since cow’s milk is designed to stimulate growth in newborn cows, it is high in anabolic steroids and growth factors which increase the production of androgens (like testosterone), which in turn stimulate acne growth. Sugar also has an effect on androgen production, although indirectly. It stimulates the production of insulin and insulin-like growth factor, which in turn also promote the production of acne-stimulating androgens. This applies not only to plain sugar, but to foods that convert easily to sugar when eaten (high glycemic index), such as white breads and rice, as well as sugary fruits such as bananas.
If you find yourself struggling with acne-prone skin, consider having a closer look at your diet to see if the common culprits, milk and sugar, abound.
Dr. Tamar Ferreira is a Naturopathic Doctor in Brampton, Ontario. Her areas of focus include digestive health, hormone balance, and skin conditions.