If you suffer with acne I feel your pain.
I suffered for many years with the condition and was a huge problem in my life.
Not only is it painful and embarrassing but at times it can seem that it will never go away.
It can be frustrating to try one cream after another to no avail.
Far too often we see conventional medicine treat acne on the surface when the real problem is something deeper.
Now I don´t think that just changing your diet is going to cure your acne once and for all but it can certainly help.
Hormones that cause acne react to certain conditions in the body some of which can be caused by the foods we eat.
Therefore it makes sense that if we avoid certain types of foods we can reduce some of the triggers that start or worsen an acne outbreak.
In this article, we will take a look at how diet influences hormones which cause acne, a study performed which tested the impact of diet on acne, and if the Paleo Diet may be able to help.
How Can Diet Influence Hormone-Related Acne?
To better understand how diet can affect acne, it is first imperative to understand what a glycemic load is.
The glycemic load or GL is the count of the carbohydrate content of any food in total. The higher the load, the higher the impact on spiking blood sugar and increasing insulin levels.
A raised insulin level is going to increase the hormone androgen which is where we find the connection to acne.
Knowing that, foods that are high in GL raise the insulin level, which increase androgens, increase production of sebum, and therefore cause acne.
Putting Low GL Diets to the Test
A group of researchers from Korea decided to put diet’s impact on acne to the test back in 2012. The main purpose of the study was to find out if a low glycemic load diet reduced acne lesions.
The researchers split 32 participants who had mild acne into two groups; a control group who was urged to maintain their current diet and a group eating a diet full of foods which had a low glycemic load. Both groups followed their diet for 10 weeks.
The people in the low glycemic group were instructed to replace high GI foods with lower GI foods like whole grain bread, fruits, vegetables, beans, fish, and barley.
It was suggested that the participants substitute protein for the reduction in carbohydrates in order to maintain energy levels so the breakdown was 25% proteins, 45% low GI carbohydrates, and 30% healthy fats.
Using software, the researchers recorded daily caloric intake, the mean GI and GL, and the total amounts of lipids, proteins and carbohydrates.
The patient’s acne was measured through clinical assessments where they counted the number of acne lesions, the size of sebaceous glands, as well as overall severity ratings using the Leeds revised acne grading system.
Overall, the results of this 10-week study show that there is an improvement that occurs to both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesions when a person consumes a low GL diet, both histopathologically and clinically.
The acne was reduced and sebaceous glands reduced in size. The final conclusion reached is that diet does have a direct effect on acne and a healthier diet of low glycemic foods can help to reduce breakouts and other skin related issues.
Why the Paleo Diet May Be a Good Option
The traditional Western diet is full of foods that have a high GL which is very likely a key cause in the rising of acne cases.
The main culprits are breads, potatoes, processed foods, and refined sugars.
Potatoes and bread are a staple at just about every meal so when eating this diet, you are constantly flooding your system with increased androgens and sebum.
The Paleo diet, cuts out grains and processed foods, and is full of food choices that have a much lower GL than the Western diet.
There are loads of fruits and vegetables, healthy meats, and no refined sugars meaning there will be fewer androgens, a lower production of sebum, and fewer breakouts.
There is also no milk allowed on the Paleo diet which is a big contributor when it comes to the body’s response to insulin as diary is highly insulinogenic.
Being able to keep insulin levels moderate through the Paleo Diet will indeed help to reduce hormone related acne.
Furthermore, part of the Paleo diet also involves balancing out O3 and O6 fats.
The reason for this being it reduces the inflammation that occurs within the body. The balance is also going to reduce the red, irritated, and inflamed areas that may occur around hair follicles.
There may be other reasons why the Paleo diet helps in eliminating acne that have not been discovered yet besides the lower GL and reduction in inflammation.
For example, a healthier gut is possibly the answer to a reduction in inflammation and an improvement in acne symptoms.
Give Paleo a Try
I know we have only looked at one study in this article and that further research is needed into how diet can be managed to help control or reduce the seriousness of acne.
However if you are struggling to live with your acne and not following any type of nutrition plan then what have you got to lose.
Before paying for more expensive prescriptions and in-office treatments from your doctor or dermatologist to reduce the appearance of acne, why not take some time to look at what exactly are you putting in your body.
Always be asking is this going to harm me or help me.
By consuming foods that are naturally safe, healthy, and clean, there is a much better chance you are going to see big changes in the amount of breakouts that you have than if your diet is full of processed food, sugar and unhealthy fats.
Even if the Paleo diet is not the solution to all your acne problems, it is a good first step to try using the process of elimination to find out if diet can help control your acne.
With hormonal acne doctors will often say diet is not an issue but there is research appearing that suggest there is a definite correlation between high GL foods and acne.
Why not commit now to giving Paleo a try for the next 30 days and see what happens with your acne?
Just download our free paleo food checklist and start from there.
It may just be what you need to finally get rid of your acne problem once and for all.