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My Attempt To Clear Up The Diet And Acne Debate...

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This is a giant pet-peeve of mine....and I hear it all the freaking time. "Diet doesn't affect acne, it's completely unrelated." Now, before you reply and tell me I'm full of crap....let's approach this logically - because there are already 1,000s of people that swear their diet affects their acne; and people just dismiss them as being paranoid and uniformed.

I'm even going to label each of my points - so if you disagree with any particular point you can address it directly.

A.) Testosterone causes (or is at least correlated) with acne in many people. (http://www.internethealthlibrary.com/Health-problems/Acne.htm). Increases in testosterone levels occur naturally during puberty (when acne becomes a problem for many people) and can increase with the use of steriods (a common side-effect of steriod use is acne).

B.) Accepting point A to be true - we can reason that anything affecting the levels of testosterone in a person (especially anything that increases test levels) is going to have the potential to affect acne.

C.) Diet affects testosterone levels!!! You can Google for yourself, you will find plenty of studies (http://www.afpafitness.com/articles/EnhancingLBM.htm). From the linked site:

"Diet and caloric intake influence the amount of Testosterone produced. Diets higher in protein, cholesterol, saturated fat, and total fat content tend to maintain higher Testosterone levels. One study[1] showed that decreasing fat calories from 40% to 25% while decreasing saturated fat and increasing polyunsaturated fats led to decreases in both total Testosterone[-18%] and free unbound Testosterone levels[-15%]. Upon resuming the original higher fat intake, Testosterone levels returned to original values. Subjects in this study ate -500 fewer calories on the lower fat diet, implicating both fat selection and caloric restriction with decreased Testosterone"

D.) Diet affects testosterone levels, testosterone levels affect acne. Changing what you eat affects your acne.


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Outside of extreme cases, diet wont have an impact on testosterone levels anywhere near what chemical manipulation (steroids) will.

a + b*10^3000 /= c

Diet can have impact on acne... but in 99.99999999999999% of cases, it wont have a noticable or sustainable one. Now certain high-body-stress events like serious blood sugar spikes can be reflected in surface changes to skin health (greasyness, dryness, flushing, etc) which combined with acne dysmorphia or simple neuroticism will lead to percieved or literal changes in acne condition.

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In my opinion diet can have a very short term effect.

e.g. If you eat garlic your skin clears up a bit the next day, but if you eat it for a week your skin goes back to it's normal acne amount.

e.g. If you drink alcohol you get extra acne in the morning, but if you continue or stop drinking your skin doesn't freak out or clear up.

Remember testosterone induced and teen acne are very different to those cases of us, who've used every cure in the book for years and can't get rid of it and who've never had abnormal levels of testosterone.

Diet may get rid of one or two pimples, but it won't do much to a face full of acne.

It'll help you if you are the kind of person who gets one pimple once in awhile. But for the rest of us, and I've said this before in the washing face debate, it's like spitting on a bush fire.

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diet does not affect acne at all.

what does affect acne is lifestyle changes.

you wana stop eating fast food/chocolate/milk watever for a month? go for it! what will it do NOTHING

you need to maintain this lifestyle for a long long time (months and years) and you will start clearing up

my personal experience.

since my freshman year( i'm a senior now) i have slowly cut out


junk food(chips/cookies/ etc that you buy at supermarket),

fast food (mcdonalds burger king etc, NOT INCLUDING IN N OUT love it too much and it's fairly healthy compared to the rest.)

caffeine(cofee energy drinks w/e)

never had much of a sweet tooth but reduced that even more


for some people milk affects them, not me so i drink away.

fried foods does not seem to affect me, but i still keep that on a low.

also - regular excercise, includes jogging, weight training, sports.

people always ask me why i'm on a diet all the times, the thing is i'm not on a diet, i'm changing my way of living.

of course it's not like i completely cut out all of that stuff, there are exceptions(parties etc. but if i go out to eat or whatever, i'll take water over the soda)

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