Do you suffer from bad acne? If so then you might have cystic acne. This is a severe kind of acne that involves the skin’s pores getting blocked. This can result in various issues like inflammation and infection. Acne can be tough to deal with. We usually consider it as a health condition that only teens experience. However, adults can also need a cystic acne diet and the skin condition is generally worse for them. It’s important to know the symptoms, causes, and treatments of this type of acne. In fact, you can even take some steps to help prevent acne. For example, a high-sugar diet can boost your chance of acne.
It’s important to know what foods you should and shouldn’t eat to avoid cystic acne. Certain ones like dairy and bread can increase your chance of acne breakouts. Another food you should definitely try to avoid eating is sugary snack foods like cookies, cakes, and candy. Meanwhile, there are also skin-friendly foods you should try to eat including green leafy veggies. You can also take steps like washing your face 2x daily and shampooing hair every-other day. Other steps like avoiding long-term sun exposure are also helpful. This doesn’t mean there’s a 100% chance you won’t have acne but it reduces the risk.
What Is Cystic Acne?
There are several myths about what causes acne. They include ones like eating candy, chocolate, or oily foods. As with other skin conditions, it’s important to separate fact from fiction. Sometimes such myths are true and other times they’re only partially true.
Cystic acid involves the skin’s pores getting blocked, which causes infection/inflammation. People usually experience this skin problem on their face, but they can also have cystic acne on the arms/upper trunk.
We usually consider acne to be a problem that only teens experience. In fact,4 out of 5 adolescents/young adults have acne between the ages of 11 and 30.
The most serious type of acne is cystic acne. The good news is fewer people experience this severe acne so you’re more likely to experience other types.
Still, people visit a skin doctor for different kinds of acne. In fact, the USA’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2009 that it’s the main reason people visit dermatologists’ offices.
Cystic-type acne can be very painful. It can also be tough for sufferers since it affects a person’s facial appearance.
The main causes of cystic acne are hormone changes teens experience during puberty. However, people in older age groups can also experience this severe acne.
Let’s get back to those myths about acne. Contrary to what you might hear, oily foods, chocolate, and nuts don’t cause acne. It’s also not caused by bad hygiene.
It’s important to know the symptoms of cystic acne. You can notice this kind of acne more easily because it’s more serious and causes skin bumps and holes along with inflammation. All kinds of acne can also result in visible scars.
It’s important to note that most people who have acne don’t have any physical symptoms. However, the appearance of the skin can result in emotional stress. In the case of cystic acne, this can cause greater stress and painful cysts.
Cystic Acne Diet: Foods to Avoid and Eat
Foods to Avoid
- Instant cereals (oatmeal)
- Fruits/Veggies (e.g. pineapples, potatoes, melons, and pumpkins)
- Snack foods (rice cakes, pretzels, and pop[corn)
- Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream)
- White rice (short-grain)
- Enriched pasta (rice-based)
- Breakfast cereals (corn flakes, bran flakes, and puffed rice)
While chocolate doesn’t cause acne, studies show it might worsen acne’s symptoms. This is likely due to high-sugar chocolate. However, at least one study shows that even unsweetened chocolate might worsen acne symptoms among young men who had acne in the past.
Another issue is whether certain foods are better than others to avoid or prevent acne. It seems that foods with high glycemic indexes (GI) might be better than ditching dairy products. However, more research is needed in this area.
Another issue is greasy foods. There isn’t any solid proof that’s the case since it’s skin glands that result in oily skin instead of eating high-fatty/oily foods. However, this doesn’t mean that you should eat a bacon double cheeseburger every day.
Foods to Treat Acne
- Free-range eggs
- Wild rice
- Mustard seeds
- Grass-fed beef
- Nuts (almonds and walnuts)
- Green leafy veggies (kale and spinach)
- Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, and mackerel)
- Navy beans
Some other foods that might help to improve acne include foods high in fiber and antioxidants. However, more research is needed about these foods since there’s less evidence they’re anti-acne.
If you want to create an anti-acne diet it’s a little more complex than it might seem. That’s because some foods/methods might be more effective than others. One effective method is a food diary. This can help to find trigger foods that make acne breakouts worse.
Here’s how to do it. For 2 weeks track everything you eat for every meal/snack. You should also record the kind and seriousness of acne-related symptoms you experience every day. Then have a skin doctor review the food diary.
Tips to Treat or Prevent Cystic Acne
1. Avoid heavy makeup
Women who apply makeup should pick types that are water-based instead of oil-based. You should also be sure to remove all makeup before you go to bed.
2. Don’t pick pimples
This might seem like a helpful thing to do but it’s not. In fact, if you pick/squeeze acne it will probably result in worse acne.
3. Don’t scrub your skin harshly
This can actually worsen your condition so it’s something you should avoid. You should also avoid using stuff like:
- Abrasive soaps
- Cleansing granules
- Exfoliating agents
The problem with these products is they contain strong chemicals that could worsen your symptoms.
4. Avoid washing your face often
This might seem to oppose conventional wisdom and especially if you always have oily skin. However, it’s better not to watch your face more than 2x per day.
How should you wash your skin? Use lukewarm water and mild soap/cleanser. This will help to clean your skin gently and avoid harsh chemicals worsening your acne.
Ways to Prevent Acne
1. Avoid touching the skin. Fun Fact: People touch their skin up to 5 times per minute. If you want to help prevent conditions like acne then you should try to minimize doing this. It can result in pores getting clogged with dirt, which can trigger acne.
2. Reduce sun exposure. This can have negative effects in terms of health/performance.
3. Soften beard prior to grooming. You can do that with soapy water. Make sure to find the comfiest shaving technique. Another helpful tip is to only shave your beard when needed.
4. Shampoo regularly. If you have oily hair it’s a good idea to shampoo daily. Otherwise, alternating shampooing/conditioning is a better option.
5. Clean skin in AM. Do this gently prior to going to sleep and after heavy exercise to benefit your skin, unlike a cystic acne diet.