Is Your Diet The Direct Cause Of Your Acne?

As acne is often linked to puberty, many of us thought we'd leave it behind with other awkward rites of passage in our youth. However, not everybody's pimples and zits went away with their teen years. In fact, adult acne can be even more painful to endure than adolescent acne, and it can be even harder to figure out why it occurs.


If you experience an influx of acne as an adult, you are not alone. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, adult acne affects 50 million Americans a year. Despite being common, it's a frustration many of us would like to end, and luckily, there are several products on the market to help with adult acne.

Now that our puberty days are over, the reason for breakouts as adults tend to be complex. Adult acne has been attributed to changes in hormones, behavioral and lifestyle factors, and widely, diet. But does diet alone have the power to cause excessive pimples?

What causes acne?

Although there are varying beliefs circulating about what causes adult acne, the answer isn't as easy as we'd like to believe. In many cases, it can be a combination of factors that makes your skin break out. Who What Wear explains that while diet can play a part in skin breakouts, it is not likely to be the only culprit.


Generally speaking, what you eat is only a part of the cause of your acne. Pimples are more likely to be caused by oil build-up, bacteria, genetics, or a systemic condition needing a physician's care. One area where diet might play a part, though, is inflammation. Certain foods like dairy, fried foods, soda, and candy can cause inflammation throughout the body, including on our skin, which might make acne caused by other factors redder or more irritated. 

Hormonal changes in the body are more likely to be the cause of acne, as they can produce oil build-up in the pores, creating irritated skin. Some women who experience excessive acne may be suffering from a hormonal condition like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which can lead to the production of too much of the androgen hormone for a healthy body (via Mayo Clinic).


In addition, the products you use on your hair and face might be the culprit. Makeup and hair products can irritate your skin and clog your pores, causing a break out, per Harvard Medical School.

How to get acne relief

Although diet isn't the only factor at play when it comes to adult acne, it might be the easiest approach to getting some relief. Consider substituting inflammation-causing foods with low glycemic foods instead. Vegetables, fruits, oats, and legumes are foods that are low in sugar and can decrease inflammation (via American Academy of Dermatology Association). 


As for the other factors at play, make sure you are washing your face thoroughly each morning and night. Double cleansing can also help to completely remove makeup and other products that can clog pores. Look at the ingredients in your hair care and face products as they may contain chemicals that cause skin allergies or irritations. Finally, if your attempts to get control of your acne aren't working, you may need to seek medical attention. There may be something more systemic going on that is making it impossible to seek pimple relief. 

Adult acne is very common, but thankfully, there are steps you can take to relieve it.