We've all heard it said time and time again: A diet full of chocolate and potato chips will wreak havoc on your complexion. I remember being skeptical of this in high school when I'd eat my lunch of carrots and peanut butter with a face full of acne next to a girl scarfing down a Hershey's with perfect, glowing skin.
Turns out, there's really no clear link between any one specific food and acne (chocolate lovers rejoice). After all, acne (and other skin irritation) usually isn't the result of any one thing. Persistent acne is generally a completely genetic predisposition that can be aggravated by other factors and calmed my medication and treatment, especially since it's usually caused by a hormone imbalance or changing hormone levels.
That being said, there are a few foods that have correlational relationships with acne (and maybe you've noticed this in your own diet). It should be noted that this is in no way a "guide" of what to eat or not to eat, just foods to be mindful of if you're suffering from breakouts and looking to locate a potential contributing factor.
Milk. I'm personally a huge fan of skim milk; I think it's delicious. I try not to overdo it, though, because even organic milk contains natural hormones. Most female dairy cows are pregnant (don't ask me why, I'm not sure either), so their milk contains natural (not added) hormones just by nature of their own bodies. If you're already susceptible to hormone changes or have sensitive hormone levels, the hormones in the milk can throw your own system out of whack. Not sure if your acne is hormonal? Most hormonal acne comes up on the jawline and chin.
Overly sugary candies. I have the biggest sweet tooth in the world, so trust me when I say I don't think anyone should sacrifice dessert. For any reason, ever. As much as I care about skin, I wouldn't give up sweets for a perfect complexion. I just couldn't. However, there are some candies with higher sugar counts than others. Take Smarties, for example: That candy is legitimately JUST sugar. Eating one pack of Smarties is no big deal, but if you consume five or six in one sitting (guilty) you may find yourself with a new zit in a few days. Again, these sugar overloads mess with your body's natural blood sugar levels and can spike oil production in your face.
Meat. This is a sensitive topic for some because meat can be a divisive food group. Some people (vegetarians) passionately advocate against it, while hardcore carnivores wouldn't sacrifice their steak even if their doctor told them they were allergic to it. The problem with meat is similar to the problem with milk, but varies slightly. Although meat contains natural hormones, most meat has added hormones (unless you're purchasing super fancy meat that's über organic and specifically says "No Hormones Added," but that's expensive and can be hard to find). Again, moderation is key. I eat bacon for breakfast every day, so it's not like I've cut it out of my diet,
The primary thing to keep in mind is this: Your diet's relationship with your skin is a tricky topic, because nobody's triggers are the same. One person may eat Smarties, milk and a quarter-pounder for every meal every day of the week and never get a single blemish. Someone else may merely glance at a ribeye and break out. It's really all about knowing what products have the potential to set your hormones or blood sugar off balance, then paying attention to how your skin reacts in the days that follow.
All things beauty.