Water. “It’s a good mantra for people to remember to drink water,” Marmur says. “Many of us have our morning coffee and then drink only one drink during the day and one at night.” Water helps hydrate your body and leads to plump, healthy skin. Adequate hydration helps flush out toxins that can cause skin problems. It is also essential for skin metabolism and regeneration.
That being said, Marmur cautions against attaching yourself to the water cooler. “By drinking gallons of water, you won’t clear up your skin; you’ll just dilute your blood and put yourself at risk for seizures.” Marmur suggests drinking five to eight glasses of water per day. “Athletes should drink more, however.”
Foods to Avoid When You Have Acne
Anecdotal evidence shows that certain food types increase the likelihood of an acne flare. These foods include the chocolate and junk foods to which Marmur refers.
There are also a few studies that scientifically support the role of two food groups in acne promotion: dairy products and simple carbohydrates.
Dairy. According to a review done at The George Washington University Medical Center, cow’s milk can spark or worsen breakouts in some people. The culprit is hormones used to encourage growth in cows.
“It is a complex situation. Put simply, through a series of interactions, the hormones in dairy products increase levels of male hormones called androgens. Androgens increase sebum production, which leads to acne,” Fusco says.
Simple sugars. Foods with a high glycemic index appear to cause acne breakouts in some people. High glycemic index foods break down quickly during digestion. They include white bread, potatoes, and sugary drinks and snacks.
Researchers at Colorado State University compared the skin of those eating a high glycemic index Western diet with the skin of two groups who eat traditionally low glycemic index foods. Specifically, they looked at the Kitivan Islanders, who eat a diet rich in fruit and fish, and the Aches hunter-gatherers of Paraguay, who eat lots of peanuts and wild game. Both groups had healthy skin and no cases of acne. In comparison, those eating a Western diet high in refined grains, sugary soft drinks, and processed baked goods had high rates of acne. Specifically, the study found that 79% to 95% of adolescents and 40% to 54% of adults 25 and older had acne.