If you want clear skin, say goodbye to your chocolate croissants.
A new study from France recently shed light on the association between diet and acne. More than 24,000 people participated in the study by completing an online self-questionnaire that asked about their acne status and diet. Ultimately, the results found a link between adult acne and the consumption of "fatty and sugary products, sugary beverages and milk."
Not ideal for anyone with a sweet tooth!
Still, those in the medical community are encouraged by the findings. Dr. Rajani Katta, a board-certified dermatologist who was not involved in the study but is part of the American Medical Association, said that the results were "exciting."
"A lot of the studies that we've had to date have been smaller, and I like the fact that they're trying to approach this from different angles," said Katta, noting that in the past, diet-related research has tended to involve putting small groups of people on specific diets for a period of time and recording the results. "This adds to that body of evidence ... It's an online questionnaire, so people are self-reporting this information, but I think it's important because it adds to what are suspecting."
The study also noted the need for "further large-scales studies" to more closely examine the link between diet and adult acne.
Katta, who focuses on the link between diet and skin health in her work, noted that multiple studies have highlighted the connection between food and acne.
"What we're finding is that certain foods impact hormone levels that seem to impact acne and the strongest links appear to be for foods that increase blood sugar levels," Katta explained.
Katta added that diet isn't the only reason that adults might have to deal with acne or other skin problems.
"Diet is only one component," she said. "Really, the biggest components are genetics and hormone changes, but diet can be one part of our treatment regimen."
If you are looking to minimize your acne, Katta recommends starting by eliminating sugary beverages, which the study specifically noted as a potential cause of adult acne.
"That's a high intake of sugar, if you're drinking sweetened coffee drinks or sweetened iced teas or sodas or sweetened sports drinks," Katta explained. "There's just a lot of hidden sugar in beverages, so I think that's a great place to start."
Katta mentioned that other foods to consider cutting out include anything with added sugars and processed carbohydrates.
The inclusion of milk in the study was also interesting to Katta, though the link to acne seemed less strong than for sugary foods.
"They did find an association, but it wasn't as robust as the relationship with the sugary products, and in other studies, there has been a suggested relationship with dairy for some people," Katta explained. "My personal belief is that it probably makes a difference for some people but probably not all, and right now we don't have a way to know which group of patients might be affected more by dairy."
So if you've cut out sugar and still find your skin isn't at its best, maybe try ditching the dairy, too.