Carbs and Acne

“Your carbohydrate intake can affect your acne, whether you are a 17 year old girl or a 55 year old woman,” says Doctor Simon Ourian, Medical Director of Epione Beverly Hills. “Normally we think of carbohydrates as a category of foods for our diet, or the main ingredient of our favorite comfort foods. Everything done well is done in moderation, however, and carbs are no exception.” Yes, the idea of an elderly woman still having trouble with acne may strike most as odd, but it happens, and it is just as irritating at retirement as it was at puberty.

“Yes,” continues Doctor Ourian, “I’ve written before about certain foods causing acne as being a myth. Specifically, people are often told to stay aware from certain types of food such as chocolate or junk food. Greasy food may not be good for your waistline or overall health but it, like the other foods mentioned, is not a cause of acne.”

“I stand behind what I said earlier but there is a school of thought that the glycemic levels of food may impact the acnes of some patients,” states Doctor Ourian. “In this article we will discuss carbohydrates and acne in this article, as well as how the GI (glycemic index) comes into play.”

The way carbohydrates work is that they provide quick fuel for the body. You would eat, say, an apple, and your body would break it down into its components, one of which would be carbohydrates. The carbs would then travel throughout the body and give your cells the energy they need to function. The problem comes when you eat carbs that are high on the glycemic index scale. These tend to increase the insulin in your body, which increases the oil and sebum in your skin. The oils and sebum are food for the bacteria that naturally live in your pores; if there is more, then the bacteria will increase. This results in clogged pores and, of course, acne. But there is a way to avoid this.

The GI index was created by a doctor who wanted to help diabetics find carbohydrates that didn’t greatly upset their blood sugar. Notice that when you eat a bowl of sugary cereal, for instance, your body will have a lot of energy, but then suddenly crash around lunch. This is due to the refined sugar in the cereal, which tends to be absorbed quickly. The GI index ranks foods according to their impact on blood sugar levels. The lower the impact, the less insulin has to be used to use the carbohydrate. If a person with acne chooses low GI carbs to eat instead of high GI, they will be better able to manage their insulin level, and as a result, their acne as well.

Examples of low GI foods include things like plain wheat flour muffins or coconut flour pancakes. Lest you think that every low GI food has to be made from scratch or with unusual ingredients, Coca Cola and V8 Splash smoothies also count on the list. These items might surprise the average diner, but they do count.

Done correctly, low carb dieting can help anyone with acne problems, and will also help create a healthy diet.