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Find Out What Foods Are Making You Break Out

With this smartphone app, making smart choices for flawless skin is as easy as one tap of your finger.

| April 4th, 2014
Find Out What Foods Are Making You Break Out

The connection between diet and acne has been hotly debated for a while now. Studies have claimed sugary, greasy and fatty foods cause acne, while others have turned around and deemed this a myth. Now, there’s an easy way to hone in on all the available research to help you make smart decisions and eat for healthier, clearer skin.

The “diet & acne” app, created at Northwestern University by Diana Cohen, M.D., pulls from research on specific foods to tell you whether or not they have ever been linked to acne. It also tells you what foods have been shown to decrease acne.

A quick cheat sheet in the app breaks down which foods have been associated with acne, which haven’t been shown to affect acne, and those which have actually been shown to improve acne:

Be Careful: Dairy (especially skim milk), 100 percent cocoa, omega-6 fatty acids (mayo, shortening, vegetable oil), high-glycemic index foods, whey protein

Neutral: Chocolate less than 100 percent cocoa

Go Ahead: Antioxidants (e.g., resveratrol, vitamins A and E, selenium), fiber, omega-3 fatty acids (fish, flaxseed, walnuts)

Another screen gives you explanations and research-based info for each individual food listed, so you know where the recommendations came from.

There’s also a list of the four key factors that influence acne production, including inflammation and increased sebum, and other known causes of acne such as hormones, drugs, genetics and stress. By clicking on each category, you can find quick and digestible scientific explanations of what’s happening in the body and on your face.

While many of the studies are small and simply point to associations instead of definitively saying that a food will or will not increase acne production, this information is invaluable. If you suffer from moderate or severe acne, why not try to isolate a potential trigger and eliminate it? Fixing the root problem is really how you’ll avoid breakouts, but watching what you eat is an easy, risk-free way to actively improve your skin.

"Oil production and hormones have more of an impact on acne than diet, but I don't dismiss dietary intake when I treat patients," says Roopal Kundu, M.D., associate professor in dermatology at the Feinberg School, corresponding study author and an attending physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, who sees this app as a tool she can give her patients to make better choices. With all of this knowledge at your fingertips, you make improve your skin without even stepping into your derm’s office, and you’ll be healthier for it, too.

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