Our skin is the biggest organ in the body and can give us a very clear indication of when something is not as healthy as it could be on the inside.

That said, even with the healthiest diet and nutritional intake there are a number of factors which can still cause an outbreak of pimples in any of us or aggravate an existing condition.

Although some medical studies have found no exact cause of pimples there are a number of things such as genetics, hormones and stress that they do agree on that can bring on an outbreak.

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You are what you eat!

However there are now recent studies that have started to prove a link between certain foods and pimples and in particular the consumption of dairy products and carbohydrates.

In short, pimples are caused by a blockage of excess oil (sebum) in the pores of the skin. This blockage contains bacteria which feeds off the sebum and produces a substance that causes an immune response, leading to inflammation of the skin and results in pimples.

How to avoid pimples

Common sense (alongside these more recent studies) would now dictate that not eating the foods that contribute to the conditions that lead to excess sebum production or inflammation would increase your chances avoiding pimples altogether.

how to avoid pimples_2Excess oil production is linked to hormone imbalances and fluctuations, which explains why pimples are most common in teenagers. Although the consumption of certain foods by both adults and teenagers will also produce the same effects.

Milk and dairy products

One of the food groups which can cause the greatest fluctuations in hormones are milk and dairy products.

This is normally due to the fact that dairy products contain high levels of growth hormones already present in the cows milk.

Ingesting these milk hormones (meant to help the baby cows grow up big an strong) has a knock on effect within the human body and as a result causes our skin to produce excessive amounts of oil, particularly on the face and neck.

This oil then gets blocked in the pores and the pimple begins to form.

Insulin spikes

Dairy products are also highly inflammatory which just makes the situation worse as they cause insulin spikes when consumed.

These spikes in insulin also cause the body produce high levels of IGF-1, our own growth hormone, which just compounds the problem.

Carbohydrates

Dairy isn’t the only food that effects hormone imbalance and the production of IGF-1.

Eating simple and refined carbohydrates, such as:

– sugar,
– chocolate,
– sugary fizzy drinks,
– cakes,
– breads and potatoes,

how to avoid pimples_3…to name but a few, which are high on the Glycemic Index (G.I) are also thought to have a direct effect on hormones, oil production and of course pimples.

A 2007 Australian study showed that young males who were put on a strict low GI diet noticed a significant improvement in the severity of their pimples.

So if you want to give yourself the best chance of becoming and remaining blemish and pimple free then you should try and avoid the following foods;

Dairy: 

Milk (including powdered milk, whey protein),
Cheese,
Yoghurt,
Cream,
Custard,
Ice Cream and any products made from or with milk.

Refined Carbohydrates:

Sugar,
Sweets,
Chocolate,
Biscuits,
Pastries,
Cakes,
White bread,
White rice,
Pasta,
Sugary soft drinks, etc. etc.

The list could go on….

What to eat to keep the pimples away

To give yourself an even better chance still, having cut out, or greatly reduced the consumption of the above foods, then start replacing them with plenty of vegetables, lean meats, fish and complex carbs with plenty of clean, fresh water throughout the day.

Follow this advice for at least four weeks and see what difference it will make not only to your overall health but to how your skin looks and feels, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

For more help on putting together a meal plan that incorporates all of the above advice please feel free to contact me.

Connect with Expert Justin Conway.

Ref: 1. Milk consumption and acne in teenaged boys. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2008 May;58(5):787-93

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