“Don’t drink milk! You’ll get acne!”
“Don’t eat bread! You’ll get acne!”
Blah, blah, blah. Do a basic search for “Does X cause acne?” and you’ll get lots of people saying that it does and lots of people saying that it doesn’t.
Here’s the truth
While all humans share up to 96% of identical DNA, that remaining 4% makes a huge difference. It affects our physical appearance, our emotional blueprint, and, yep, you guessed it – our skin.
Putting out a sweeping statement like saying a certain food causes acne is plain ignorant. All humans are different, and different things cause acne in different people.
To say that something like dairy causes acne is a lie. There are plenty of people out there who eat diets heavy in dairy and who have completely perfect skin.
Potential foods that cause acne
That being said, there are certain foods that cause skin problems for a lot of people.
- Dairy-based foods – milk, cream, butter, etc.
- Grains – white bread, pasta, etc.
- Foods high in sugar – candy, ice cream, etc.
^ Those are just a few.
Now, this isn’t to say that you need to completely cut out all of those foods in order to get clear skin. That would be unrealistic – creating a diet with no grain, dairy, or sugar would be nearly impossible for the majority of Americans. Also, you might be cutting out foods that don’t cause acne, which is just overkill.
How to determine which food is causing your acne
Here’s what you came for – a step by step guide to determining if food is causing your acne.
Before you start, make sure you’re doing the following:
- Keeping your face clean, day and night. This means that you should be showering every day, moisturizing, and sleeping with a clean pillow case every night. (Even though your pillow case might seem clean, if you haven’t washed it in a while, it’s likely coated with bacteria, oil, and grime.)
- Drink plenty of water. Water basically pushes toxins out of your skin – and it’s the first step to your journey to determine what’s causing your acne. (Acne can also form in the absence of water.)
Step 1: Start your water fast
Whaaat? I have to fast for this?
Yes, you do. Here’s why:
If you don’t start with an empty stomach, then the results from this test won’t be conclusive. You need a clean slate to determine if what you’re digesting is forming new acne.
A water fast means that you can drink as much water as you want – just don’t eat any food. You’ll be hungry for the first couple of hours, but humans are very good at rationing food internally. In fact, you’ll probably find yourself with more energy than you’d have if you were eating your regular diet.
Do a water fast for 24 to 48 hours. The longer, the better, but, if your lifestyle doesn’t allow it, don’t force yourself past your limit. If you see new acne forming during your water fast, then it’s likely that food isn’t causing your acne – something else is. If no new acne forms, continue to step 2.
Step 2: Start reintroducing foods
When your water fast is over, don’t go out to a restaurant and order a pasta dish.
Most food has a slew of ingredients in it. If you eat something like pasta sauce, there are probably over twenty ingredients in it, which isn’t ideal for this test.
You want to be eating plain foods – vegetables, fruit, chicken breast, etc. No sauces or spices allowed – yet.
If one of the plain foods you eat causes new acne to form, then you’ve found your culprit. If you find yourself with no new acne after eating all of the plain foods that you usually do, then move onto step 3.
Step 3: Start reintroducing spices
Believe it or not, some spices affect our bodies in weird ways. Ever feel your entire body get hot after eating a plate of wings? That’s because the spices in them are causing your body to heat up.
It’s not likely that spices are causing your acne, but it does happen. For example, garlic is a food usually recommended to cure acne, but, if you’re allergic to it, it’ll make things much, much worse.
It’s a little bit difficult to make all of your own food with individual spices. You try it by eating pre-packaged foods, though. Eat a bowl of pasta with your favorite pasta sauce and observe the effects after your meal. If new acne formed, then one of the spices inside of the sauce is probably causing your acne.
If the above happens, then start separating the spices out and eating them individually. Pasta sauce only has a minor amount of each spice in it, but if you eat a lot of the one that’s causing your acne, then you’ll know immediately.
It’s a relatively simple process – in a nutshell, start with a clean slate (by water fasting) and then introduce new foods one by one. Examine your face after every meal and see what’s happening.
At the end of the process, you should have pinpointed the cause of your acne – if it’s food at all, that is. There are a lot of different things that can cause acne, including lifestyle, hormones, and even things as simple as rubbing your face.
Fixing your acne can be a long journey, but it doesn’t have to be. Take a week or two off from your regular diet and execute the 3-step plan above and try to pinpoint the food(s) that are causing your acne. Once you do, cut them out of your diet, and you can be acne-free in just a couple of weeks.