Diet plan for cystic acne works for everyone, there are just some rules that you need to follow. To succeed you must make this plan a habit and do it every day without exception for two months!
What is cystic acne?
Cystic acne is a type of inflammatory acne that causes painful, pus-filled pimples to form deep under the skin. Acne occurs when oil and dead skin cells clog skin pores.
With cystic acne, bacteria also gets into the pores, causing swelling or inflammation. Cystic acne is the most severe type of acne. Acne cysts are often painful and more likely to cause scarring.
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What’s the difference between an acne cyst and an acne nodule?
Nodular acne and cystic acne are very similar. Both cause deep, painful bumps under the skin. And both can scar. Differences include:
- Acne cysts are filled with pus, a fluid.
- Acne nodules are more solid and harder than acne cysts because they don’t contain fluid.
SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES
What causes cystic acne?
Pores in the skin can clog with excess oil and dead skin cells, causing pimples. Bacteria can enter the skin pores and get trapped along with the oil and skin cells. The skin reaction causes swelling deep in the skin’s middle layer (the dermis). This infected, red, swollen lump is an acne cyst.
Cystic acne causes include:
- Age (teenagers are more prone to cystic acne).
- Family history of cystic acne.
- Hormone changes during the teenage years and sometimes during menopause, and stress.
What does cystic acne look like?
Acne cysts resemble boils, a type of skin infection. An acne cyst may be:
- A red lump under the skin.
- Painful or tender to touch.
- Small as a pea or big as a dime.
- Oozing pus from a whitish-yellow head.
Where do acne cysts develop?
A cystic acne breakout may cover a large area of skin. Cystic acne tends to appear on the face, which has a lot of oil glands. But you can also get acne cysts on your:
- Upper arms.
Five Lifestyle and Diet Changes to Combat Cystic Acne
Cystic acne can occur anywhere on your body, including your face, neck, back, shoulders and upper arms. Though genetics and hormones play a role, other factors under your control — such as diet and lifestyle choices — also can contribute in a big way.
The truth is, you can improve your cystic acne by combining medical treatments with some simple everyday lifestyle changes.
#1: Avoid high-glycemic foods.
High-glycemic foods have added sugar or extra starch and include items such as ice cream, soda, candy, potato chips, white bread and pasta (think junk foods and processed foods). These types of foods aren’t good for your body or your skin and can worsen your acne.
#2: Eat less dairy.
Even dairy products can sometimes make acne worse. Changing your daily dairy intake — or substituting almond or coconut milk for cow’s milk, for example — can help improve your acne. But before you throw away all of your milk, make sure the substitutions you choose still have plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Both are good for your body and skin!
#3: Eat more “whole” foods.
As you cut down on processed foods and sweets, increase the number of “whole” foods you eat, such as whole grains, vegetables, beans, and fruits. These kinds of foods are the basis of a healthy diet, and your skin will visibly improve as you move away from “bad” foods and start eating healthier overall.
#4: Take it easy.
Stress is a proven contributor to acne. When you’re stressed, it literally shows. Stress takes a toll on your body and causes an increase in the hormones released, which can make acne worse. Take a break and lower your stress level by doing activities you enjoy, relaxing and staying calm! This isn’t just good for your skin — it’s good for your heart and overall quality of life.
#5: Keep your hands off!
Picking at cysts and pimples only makes them worse. Even if they are swollen and irritated, fight the urge to touch your acne. Don’t try to “pop” pimples or cysts. This can lead to infections, which can cause acne to deepen and spread and also contributes to scarring.
How does the diet affect the skin?
Acne develops when pores in the skin become clogged with dead skin cells, bacteria, or both. This clogging also occurs when the body produces too much sebum, an oil that keeps the skin from drying out.
Clogged pores can lead to inflammation and cause pimples and other types of lesion to form.
During puberty, the body produces more of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Some studies suggest that IGF-1 may increase the production of sebum and worsen symptoms of acne.
Certain foods can also raise IGF-1 levels. Avoiding these foods may help improve symptoms of acne and help prevent breakouts.
Foods to avoid
According to the results of a 2016 study, the following foods are most likely to increase a person’s IGF-1 levels:
- dairy products
- foods with a high glycemic index (GI) and a high glycemic load (GL)
Measuring GI determines how fast and how high a type of food can raise levels of blood sugar.
Measuring GL allows a person to compare types of food with different GIs and portion sizes.
A person can calculate GL using this formula:
GL = GI x the amount of carbohydrates per portion (in grams) / 100
Several online lists provide the GIs of various foods. As a very general rule, more processed foods tend to have higher GIs and GLs.
According to the American Diabetes Association, the following are examples of foods with high GIs:
- breads, especially white bread and bagels
- sweetened breakfast cereals, such as those with corn flakes, puffed rice, and bran flakes
- instant cereals, such as oatmeal and grits
- some fruits and vegetables, including melons, pineapples, pumpkins, and potatoes
- enriched pastas, such as rice-based pasta
- short grain white rice
- snack foods, such as pretzels, rice cakes, and popcorn
Examples of dairy products include milk, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt. Some people with acne may benefit from avoiding these foods.
However, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests that avoiding foods with high GIs may be more helpful than avoiding dairy products.
Eating chocolate may also worsen symptoms of acne. This effect is likely the result of chocolate’s high sugar contents. However, results of a small study suggested that unsweetened chocolate containing 100 percent cocoa may also worsen symptoms in young men with a history of acne.
Currently, there appears to be little evidence that greasy foods cause acne. Overactive sebaceous glands cause oily skin, not the fat and oil in food.
Which foods might help to improve acne?
The research is even less clear when it comes to identifying foods that may combat or prevent acne.
However, while more research is needed, a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce inflammation and improve symptoms of acne.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include:
- fish, such as mackerel, salmon, and sardines
- pastured eggs
- soybeans and soy products, such as tofu
- spinach and kale
- navy beans
- grass-fed beef
- nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
- mustard seeds
- wild rice
Though further studies are required, limited evidence suggests that foods rich in antioxidants and dietary fiber may also fight acne.
Putting together an anti-acne diet
With so much uncertainty surrounding the effects of the diet on acne, it can be hard to know which foods to try and which to avoid.
Also, certain strategies may work for some people but not for others.
Keeping a food diary can help a person to identify foods that trigger or worsen acne breakouts. Log every meal and snack and record the type and severity of acne symptoms that develop each day.
A person should do this for a few weeks or longer and bring the diary to an appointment with a doctor or dermatologist.
The doctor can help to find links between the timing of breakouts and entries in the food diary. They can also advise about dietary changes.
When changing the diet, it is important to be patient. According to the AAD, it can take up to 12 weeks for a dietary change to have a noticeable effect on the skin.
General tips for treating acne
A variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications are available.
A doctor can advise on an appropriate course of treatment, which will depend on the severity of symptoms. For severe acne, the doctor may refer an individual to a dermatologist.
General tips for managing acne include:
- washing the skin and face twice a day and after sweating or playing sports
- washing the hair, especially oily hair, with shampoo regularly
- using gentle, oil-free skin care products and cosmetics
- avoiding picking, scratching, or touching pimples
- avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun
According to the AAD, a person should also consider the relationship between stress and acne. Stress causes the body to produce more of a hormone called androgen, which stimulates the sebaceous glands in the skin. They then produce more oil, and this can cause acne.
Acne can also affect a person’s self-esteem and lead to depression, especially in teenagers and young adults. The AAD recommend taking the acne seriously and emphasize the importance of managing stress and watching for signs of depression.