Eating poorly can affect skin and trigger acne breakouts, experts say

WASHINGTON — Your diet can have a big impact on your skin — and that is especially true for people battling acne breakouts.

“I think the adage ‘You are what you eat,’ no question, applies to the skin,” says Dr. Adam Friedman, a dermatologist at the GW Medical Center and an associate professor at the GW University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

He says any food that is bad for your overall health is not good for the skin — especially foods high in sugar and fat.

Recent research has also pointed to foods that are carbohydrate-heavy, and easily converted into glucose within the human body, making them high on the glycemic index.

Some experts say eating these foods can trigger breakouts because high blood sugar levels can lead to a sudden release of hormones that makes flare-ups worse.

Experts are also rethinking the possible link between eating chocolate and acne.

“For a long time, we used to say ‘No; chocolate is fine’ — but that original study we based that on  seemed to be flawed,” Friedman says, noting the debate about chocolate still rages.

Eating fried foods with your hands is another possible acne trigger, but the fat you eat will do more damage to your skin than any you might transfer from your fingers to your face.

Friedman says the bottom line is to follow a well-balanced diet. He notes “eating poorly will definitely impact how your skin looks on a day-to-day basis.”

And what you drink can have an impact on  overall skin health too. The biggest culprits are alcohol and caffeine — both are dehydrating, and make the skin look dull and make winter dryness even worse.

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