The Connection Between Carbs and Acne

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How what we eat and drink affects our skin is a subject that has been debated for ages. Some foods that have come under fire for affecting acne include chocolate, dairy and even alcohol—basically all the good stuff. And just when you thought they were safe, now your favorite breads and pastas are being called out as perpetrators. 

“When you have an increased intake of foods that release sugar like carbohydrates like pasta or bread, you get insulin spikes,” says New York dermatologist Eric Schweiger, MD. This increased insulin level can stimulate oil gland production and this can cause adult acne breakouts

“There are studies that suggest that diets low in carbohydrates are good for the skin in general and beneficial to treat acne,” says Dr. Schweiger.

On the other hand, West Palm Beach, FL, dermatologist Kenneth Beer, MD, says that this type of diet doesn’t really matter. “Carbohydrates don’t really feed into the pathway that generates hormones such as testosterone or have a direct effect on the lipids of the skin.” 

That said, lowering your carbohydrate intake does seem to help on a case-by-case basis. “Some of my patients report that their skin clears on low-carb diets so I think that this always something to think about for individual people,” says Dr. Beer.

So it’s definitely worth a shot to try a low-carbohydrate diet to see if it helps ease acne breakouts, but it’s not a guaranteed fix for every one. If you do give it a try, be sure to let us know what diet tips and acne treatments reduce your acne in the comments below.

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