November 15, 2018 | ° F

Ban breakouts by cutting back on inflammatory foods


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Whether you suffer from a severe skin condition like eczema, psoriasis or acne, or if you have naturally clear skin, the foods that you choose to consume have a tremendous effect on the appearance of your skin and overall health. That’s why eating foods that promote health and wellness is beneficial regardless of if you have bad skin or not. Take a look at this list of foods that affect the specific skin condition you may have. 

Foods with a high glycemic index

Research shows that the specific cause of acne is closely related to dairy products and foods with a high glycemic index, according to WebMD. What happens is that foods that are processed and are high in white flour like white bread, pasta, crackers and white rice can spike your blood pressure, which has an effect on hormone levels, which then stimulate oil production, triggering acne breakouts. Most foods with a high glycemic index come from carbohydrates, which tend to turn food into glucose faster, according to WebMD. Although some may feel the need to completely cut carbohydrates out to get rid of acne triggers, this isn’t necessarily the safest way. Instead the best thing is to try and reduce the amount that you eat by eating foods that have a low glycemic index, which is 55 or less. “I had cystic acne from 11 (years old) until this past September. I had the kind of acne that required an ice cube to reduce swelling,” said Samantha Waldron, a Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences sophomore. “(To prevent breakouts) I don’t eat as many carbs, I don't eat as much cheese and I don’t eat fried foods.”

Dairy Products

Many people who struggle with acne underestimate the power of dairy products. With foods like ice cream that are not only deliciously addicting, but also made out of milk, it may be hard to cut back or completely take it out of your diet. NCBI did a study that followed boys and girls in their teens observing what happened when they consumed milk over the course of three years. The studies showed that consuming more than 2 cups of milk per day was associated with moderate to severe acne. Although milk has many effects on the human body, the main thing is the effect of insulin levels, which affect blood sugar, that tend to aggravate acne. Even though the direct cause of moderate to severe acne may not come from dairy, it still plays a tremendous role. “I’ve had chronic acne on my back for years and it was all gone in a month,” Priyanka Malhotra said, a School of Engineering junior. "The biggest difference I noticed was in cutting out dairy and very heavily processed foods!"

Fast Foods

With fast food chains like McDonalds and Burger King, it’s no wonder why cheap foods that are greasy like burgers and fries have become a staple in the American diet over the years. Although they may taste great, these foods have a tremendous impact on acne. NCBI did another study showcasing how diets high in fats can affect acne. The study was performed in China with more than 5,000 undergraduate students both girls and boys. Although some had a genetic history of acne, the conclusion of the study showed that high-fat diets do play a role in making the acne worse. Although it may be hard to imagine life without a greasy cheeseburger, there are many benefits to cutting out foods that are high in fat from your diet. 

Chocolate

Although eating a piece of chocolate — specifically dark chocolate — is proven to promote heart health, there has been studies shown that eating over a certain amount of dark chocolate can make acne worse. A study that NCBI conducted involved 25 males that had acne-prone skin. They were given 25 grams of 99 percent dark chocolate and asked to consume it daily over a period of four weeks. Within the first two weeks the study had shown that eating dark chocolate daily had an impact on making acne worse. Even though it may have a mouthwatering taste, one should still be thinking about the effects when consuming chocolate.

Caffeinated beverages

Eczema is an uncomfortable, itchy, inflammatory skin condition that's typically genetic, but flare ups can also be triggered by dry environments and stress. Livestrong names common food allergens such as eggs, dairy, wheat and nuts as triggers for eczema, and coffee has most recently been found to worsen breakouts. "I used to drink a lot of coffee everyday, and I started experiencing terrible eczema in noticeable areas like my face," said Heidi Torregroza, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. "My dermatologist suggested I cut back on the caffeine, and now I only drink decaf coffee with plant-based milk to avoid breakouts at all costs." 

Alcohol

We all know a night of drinking can cause severe headaches, nausea and an increase in bad decision-making, but what about its affect on your skin? In an interview with Vogue, nutritionist Jairo Rodriguez named alcohol as "one of the worst, most aggressive compounds to destroy your skin," citing its major dehydrating properties, which in turn cause premature signs of aging and an immediate dull look the next morning. Alcohol drains the healthy fluid out of the skin and also causes inflammation, which is why some people experience a flushed complexion after a few drinks. Not looking to avoid alcohol all together but still want to take care of your face? Make sure to hydrate before, during and after a night of drinking, and treat yourself to a hydrating mask if you're feeling particularly drained and hungover. 



Almier McCoy

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