Acne is the most common skin condition in which oil glands situated on the outer layer of the skin get clogged forming an inflammation. It can be classified into various types, such as:
Acne Vulgarise: This is the most common type. If you have a breakout it will form this type of acne. It can appear on the face, back, shoulders and buttocks. Initially, it starts in a mild form but spread very quickly.
Comedonal Acne: It is the subset form of acne vulgarise. Instead of inflammation and bumpiness, blackheads appear on the skin. This type of acne can happen anywhere on the face or body, ranging from very mild to severe.
Cystic Acne: This is the most severe form of acne. It can appear anywhere on the face or body. Severe inflammation with painful cysts is the main characteristic. It damages the skin very deeply and takes a long time to heal.
Nodular Acne: This is another severe type of acne. It causes large and hard breakouts called nodules leaving some deep blemishes.
Acne Rosacea: This type of acne affects adults, usually after the age of 30. It's more common in women, but men tend to get more of its severe forms. Acne rosacea happens only on the face.
Acne Mechanica: This type of acne occurs due to excessive heat, pressure or friction on the skin. It is commonly seen on the body but can also occur on the face.
Acne Cosmetica: As the name suggests this type of acne occurs due to the use of cosmetic products like makeup, creams, moisturisers and even certain hair care products.
Excoriated Acne: This type of acne is a chronic occurring acne which can occur due to hormonal imbalance.
There are a number of contributing factors that lead to development of acne like sebum and keratin production, acne-causing bacteria, hormones, blocked pores and inflammation. The link between diet and acne is controversial, but a few current studies have proven the role of diet in acne production.
Foods That Can Cause Acne:
Refined Grains and Sugars: Studies have shown that food containing excessive sugar leads to acne. This may occur due to the blood sugar spike on a regular basis. Refined carbs are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, which in turn increases the blood sugar levels. When blood sugar rises, insulin levels also rise by an automatic response to help shuttle the blood sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells. High insulin level is not good for acne prone skin, as insulin makes androgen hormones more active and increases insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). This leads to acne development by making skin cells grow more quickly and boost sebum production.
Dairy Products: Few short term studies have found a correlation between milk consumption and acne in teenagers. This might be because milk increases the insulin level. Cow’s milk also contains amino acids which might stimulate the liver to produce more IGF-1, that causes acne. But it is still unknown that milk is solely responsible for increasing the IGF-1 or are the other dairy products also involved. For this further research is needed.
Fast Food: Items like burgers, nuggets, hot dogs, french fries can affect gene expression and alter hormone levels that may promote acne development.
Foods Rich in Omega-6 Fats: Omega 6 is proven to increase inflammation level, that is interlinked to acne formation.
Chocolate: The exact relation of chocolate with acne is not clear but few studies have shown that high chocolate consumption can lead to acne development.
Foods You’re Sensitive To: Acne is caused by inflammation. During food sensitivity body’s immune system mistakenly identifies particular food as a threat and attacks it while producing antibodies. This reaction causes an inflammatory response and leads to acne.
Foods That Help To Reduce Acne:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega 3 is an anti-inflammatory and regular consumption of it reduces the risk of developing acne.
Probiotics: It promotes healthy gut which in turn helps to improve the skin quality and reduces the chance of acne.
Green Tea: It contains polyphenols that helps to reduce inflammation and sebum production. Green tea is not only a refreshment drink, but green tea extracts have been found to reduce acne severity while applied topically.
Turmeric: Turmeric contains the anti-inflammatory polyphenol naming Curcumin, which helps to regulate blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity and inhibit the growth of acne-causing bacteria.
Vitamins A, D, E and Zinc: These nutrients have a huge impact on skin and immune health, also may prevent acne.
Although outbreaks like acne should not affect the way a person perceives oneself or on their confidence level, it must be taken seriously as it can be a symptom for other serious diseases. While fighting it actively is a good thing, running towards harmful cosmetics and strong chemicals will only worsen the problem. So, one should keep their lifestyle habits in check for a healthy and glowing skin.
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