Fats make up one very important part of your diet. Question is, does eating fat cause acne? If you chow down on oily, high fat foods (like an Indian takeaway drenched in Ghee) will acne be springing your way? When you eat oily fats (like a fried Mars bar), do they make your skin more oily and acne prone? Should your acne diet be low fat to be effective?
What you’re about to learn here is almost definitely not what most people will tell you…
Can Diet Cause Acne?
Eating food is like topping up your body at a petrol station – only much more exciting and with very enjoyable, yummy side effects. Now imagine trying to run your car on blackcurrent juice instead of diesel fuel #DoNotTryThisAtHome.
Benefits: Your car smells great plus you save money.
Side effects: Your car’s now best described as a stationary couch, moveable only with 5-powerful women run-pushing from behind.
The choice of what fuel to put into your beautiful body is much more important than most people realise. And it’s a choice you make everyday. When what you eat isn’t a match made in heaven for your engine type your skin begins screaming skin code aka you may develop a dermatological condition like acne. However when you go back to eating the right foods for your very special engine type, what seem like un-shakeable skin conditions, can clear.
Yes – really!
Because when you eat food, you don’t just give your body energy. You also send it on a journey of change. Every meal you eat is like a poised finger on domino #1 of a carefully stacked hormone/enzyme/growth factor and more domino train.
Does Eating Fat Cause Your Skin to Get Oily?
A top searched for no more acne diet tells you eat fat and your skin will be more oily/there will be more fats on your skin. You put fat in and fat-waterfalls spring from your pores. I mean how awesome would this be. Put chocolate in and out comes homemade chocolate fountain. Put orange juice in and out comes natural tan. Put oatmeal in and out comes a soothing pre-mixed face pack.
Your skin is absolutely effected by what you eat, but what goes in gets broken down first.
Every kind of food including fats get broken down by your body in different ways. Every food tastes different ‘eh and in that very same way, every food is also processed uniquely.
First step: digestion aka the breakdown team.
Second step: Absorption aka the eating team.
Third step: Making use of what you’ve eaten aka the feeling alive team.
Some foods race through steps 1, 2 and 3 like a computer can run through the calculation 1546 times 5421231 divided by 5444795 (did you get there? *winks*). Other foods channel slow-but-steady (…and always wins our race) snail pace.
Taking all 3 steps at different speeds, changes your end result. Imagine trying to put makeup on in 60 seconds instead of 5 *cough* 10 minutes.
Foods which love to race send your body on a roller-coaster ride of hormone changes. Foods preferring a sun, sea and sand beach vacation help keep your hormone levels stable.
…And dear friend, what makes your skin oily is not eating fat, but the types of fat/foods you’re eating. Eating fat does not cause your skin to get oily but eating foods which trigger oil making hormones – does.
Oily Skin + Acne + Hormones: What’s the Crack?
To really understand your acne, you need to strip skin down to naked biology. And it can all start with oily skin. Oily skin types are like Venus fly traps for acne volcanoes because oily skin plays directly into the acne causing triangle.
Take 1 unsuspecting pore. Add in acne bacteria mix in dead skin aka acne food and add a dollop of sticky sebum holding dead skin cells like glue.
Begin to take away any acne cause and acne symptoms die.
Following an acne diet can help tackle #3 – sticky sebum. Because what you’re eating, changes your hormones and hormones can send your skin into oily making over-drive.
The aim of all and every food you eat is to end up in your bloodstream as energy aka blood-sugar. But staying in your blood isn’t what gives you energy. Instead your cells need to feed. Think of a baggage carousel going round and round full of bags, if no-one takes them – dangerous bag pileup. So to let the sugar/bags of energy from your bloodstream feed your body, a hormone called insulin is released. Think of insulin like a grabby hand on a toy vending machine. Insulin comes down, grabs up some sugar-energy and releases it into your cells.
If you eat foods which breakdown inside your body like a computer superspeed calculates – your body gets huge insulin spikes.
And insulin is a hormone associated with;
- An increase in sebocytes aka the cells which make sebum and therefore make your skin oily
- Increase in the amount of sebum your skin makes
- Larger pore size
Acne diet rule: to help stop acne, follow an acne diet which helps control sebum production aka helps stop insulin spikes.
Does Eating Fat Cause Acne?
Now dear friend, here’s the interesting part – eating fat could actually help get your acne diet working. See fat helps slow down your digestion and a slower digestion helps stop insulin spikes.
Your baggage carousel’s being loaded and moved slowly and your grabby insulin hands only need pop in steadily and surely.
The benefits of eating fat when you have acne do not stop here. High fat diets are also shown to help control testosterone levels – another hormone strongly associated with acne and oily skin.
Does eating fat cause acne? Spoiler alert – not if they’re the right kind – more about this soon.
In fact, doing the opposite and following a low fat diet full of pre-prepared low-fat foods could be a cause of your acne.
— Cheryl Woodman (@HonestyForSkin) 26 February 2018
Fats taste yummy so when food makers create low fat foods, they have to add in extra bits to make the new low-fat versions taste yummy. Usually what gets added is sugar. Eating low fat foods packed with sugar is a VIP fast pass to the largest insulin roller-coaster at your body’s theme park.
Which goes from insulin spike to oily skin to acne. Doh! Instead steer clear and be sure your acne diet has a happy portion of digestion slowing healthy fats.
Healthy Fats for Clear Skin
Fats are a food family and exactly like all families, every member – daughter, brother, mother, grandfather has a unique and special personality. Some are the kind you love to see every day and others are the kind reserved for special occasions. Here’s exactly how you should treat fats. Eat healthy fats every day and save not so healthy fats for treat time.
Does eating fat cause acne? The key to deciding which to eat comes by knowing some fats are inflammatory and acne my friend is an inflammatory skin condition. These kinds of fats are a no-go.
They’re like adding fuel to fire.
Instead to help switch your diet from acne causing to acne fighting you want to eat healthful anti-inflammatory fats with a focus on omega-3 aka the kind of fats you get from salmon, mackerel, walnuts and flaxseeds. Yummy for your tummy and yummy for your skin.
To get more acne diet yes and no foods grab your free acne diet foods list here.
How does your diet match up my friend? Do you have a magic portion of healthy fats in your acne diet? Have more acne diet questions? Come chat to me in the comments below…
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.