Cystic Acne Diet

Updated Sep,2020
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While more research is necessary, it does appear as though your diet impacts how likely you are to get cystic acne. Eating a healthy diet can help you maintain beautiful, clear skin. You also want to watch your intake of dairy, sugar, and refined carbs if you want to avoid acne in general.

Understanding cystic acne

The most serious variation of acne a person can get is cystic acne. While regular acne only affects the surface of your skin, this type goes deeper. It entails cysts forming underneath your skin due to skin cells, bacteria, and oil becoming trapped within your pores.

Anyone can develop cystic acne. However, individuals with oily skin as well as people going through hormonal changes are most at risk.

The link between diet and acne

While numerous factors can impact a person's acne, there's one that's undeniable: diet. During puberty in particular, the body creates more IGF-1, which is a natural hormone. Higher levels can increase production of sebum and exacerbate acne symptoms. Certain foods have also been found to raise this hormone's levels.

While researchers are still trying to determine which foods precisely result in greater breakouts, it does seem likely that certain foods exacerbate people's acne.

For example, one study took 2,258 Americans and put them on a low-glycemic diet. The goal was to see how many people would lose weight, but another interesting outcome emerged—87 percent of patients reported having less acne and 91 percent said they required less acne medication!

Every food has a glycemic index. This is a value between 0 and 100 that measures how a certain food impacts your blood sugar levels. Foods high in sugar and carbs tend to have higher glycemic index values.

However, this tells only part of the story. Another study took 47,355 adult women and asked them what they primarily ate during high school. It was found that women who drank 2 or more glasses of skim milk daily had a 44 percent higher chance of having acne compared to others. This is surprising considering cow's milk has a relatively low glycemic index value.

More research is necessary to determine which foods specifically cause cystic acne. But there are some general guidelines you can follow to be healthier and likely reduce your chances of having a breakout.

Caution: These foods may trigger acne formation

A lot of foods out there have a high glycemic index value. In general, you want to make sure you monitor your intake of sugar and carbs. If you suffer from acne, then you may want to cut back on the following items, which have been shown to raise IGF-1 levels in your body.

  • Refined sugars and grains, like cereal, white rice, and rice noodles
  • Fast food
  • Whey protein powder
  • Chocolate

Dairy also does more harm than good

Dairy products have long been a suspected link to acne. Cows create milk containing casein and whey for their baby calves. But when we drink this milk, it releases that IGF-1 hormone. And higher levels of IGF-1 means greater prevalence of acne.

Additionally, it's been suspected that the hormones in milk interact negatively with your personal hormones. This can confuse the body's endocrine system, resulting in a breakout.

A food journal can help you avoid foods that worsen your symptoms

A good tip for anyone suffering from acne breakouts is to monitor your diet. You should keep a food journal to keep track of what you eat and when you have a breakout.

While dairy and goods with high glycemic levels tend to cause acne, that doesn't mean everyone who drinks a glass of milk has a flare-up. Everyone's bodies are different. Milk may not affect you as much as someone else. And if you find it does aggravate your skin, then you know to avoid it.

You may need to do this for several months to notice any patterns. It's a lot of work, but it can significantly help your skin in the long run. To make it easier on you, keep your journal in the kitchen or wherever you eat most often. This way your diary is right there waiting for you. You can also download apps onto your smartphone that help you track your eating habits.

A low-glycemic diet has shown to have a positive impact on cystic acne

A low-glycemic diet doesn't raise your blood sugar levels too high. It doesn't disrupt your bodily systems, so your skin doesn't produce an excessive amount of oil. It also doesn't raise your hormones as much, and severe fluctuations in hormone levels can lead to worsened acne.

Maintaining a low-glycemic diet is easier than you think. Try incorporating more of these foods into your diet to reap the benefits:

  • Turkey
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and carrots
  • Leafy vegetables, such as spinach
  • Quinoa
  • Fatty fish, such as mackerel and salmon
  • Pumpkin seeds

Other tips to help prevent your cystic acne from reoccurring

You could have a perfect diet and still develop cystic acne. It's a troublesome condition, and you can try some of these other tips to reduce its severity.

  • Use oil-free or noncomedogenic makeup
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Wash your face once daily with a gentle cleanser

In conjunction with diet, these help treat your cystic acne

While cystic acne is the most severe type of acne you can have, the good news is that you won't have to live with it forever. There's a wide range of treatment options that (when combined with stronger oral antibiotics) have shown to combat those pesky red bumps for good.

  • Benzoyl Peroxide: Typically a main ingredient in many acne facial cleansers and lotions, benzoyl peroxide goes into your pores to lift and remove excess oil, dirt and debris (acne-causing agents).
  • Oral Contraceptives: For many women, cystic acne is linked to hormonal fluctuations. Using birth control pills has shown to help reduce acne.
  • Retinoids: One of the most successful acne treatments, retinoids expertly diminish sebum (excess oil), dirt, bacteria, and any other acne-causing agents on your skin's surface to prevent future breakouts. This powerful drug has also been proven to stop acne scars from forming, leaving behind only smooth, radiant skin.

Treat your acne fast! Get a prescription retinoid, today!

We understand how annoying and bothersome acne breakouts can be. Whether it's picture day at school, or you've got a job interview, acne is not a welcome friend. Fortunately, it's a treatable condition. Our licensed physicians make it easy and more comfortable to have a discussion about your skin and the best treatment options available for you.

Talk to one of our reputable online physicians to get your prescription Retinoid, today!

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