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How Does Your Diet Affect Acne?

Learn about diet and acne, especially chocolate and acne, from dermatologist Cybele Fishman, MD in this Howcast skin care video.


This is absolutely one of my favorite topics. Some people say that diet and acne are not related, and I think that's crazy. How can what you put in your body not affect the largest organ in your body? It just makes no sense. A good diet is very important in limiting acne. What is a good diet? To keep it very simple, a good diet is one that's high in vegetables and low in white, processed foods. It's a diet I like to call the anti-inflammatory diet, and a great example of this can be found on Dr. Weil's website.

Basically what I suggest for people that have acne is lower your sugar intake, especially high-fructose corn syrup. High-fructose corn syrup makes your makes your insulin go up in your blood, and what that does is it stimulates your oil glands to make more oil, thus clogging your pores and leading to whole cycle that leads to acne. I also recommend a fish oil supplement. The reason is that Omega-3 fatty acids, which are in fish oil, are very anti-inflammatory.

I also recommend staying away from milk. Milk has been found in several studies to correlate with acne as well. Interestingly, they did a study in Australia that what we call a high glycemic index diet, which is one that has a lot of processed foods, white flours, white sugar caused much more acne than a low glycemic index diet. So please don't think that what you put in your body is not affecting your skin. It very much is.

Chocolate does not cause acne. Thank God. That is a myth that got started because of two old, outdated, poorly-controlled studies that we done almost 40 years ago. Chocolate is not the problem. The cacao plant, which is what chocolate is made from, actually has a lot of bioflavinoids which are antioxidant molecules that are probably good for you. The problem is that a 75 percent chocolate bar is not the same as a Snickers bar. It's all the other stuff in chocolate bars that's the problem, the high-fructose corn syrup, the trans-hydrogenated fats. So please indulge in a piece of dark chocolate every day. Your skin will be just fine. It's the junk that you need to stay away from, not the chocolate.

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