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  • What are High GI Foods and How do They Affect Acne?

    Benjamin Franklin once said that, “nothing can be more certain in life than death and taxes.” Having suffered with grade 3 acne myself and treated many clients with various forms of this skin disorder, I could quite safely say there are many of us that would agree acne is most definitely another “certainty” that we are likely to experience at one point or another in our life time.

    For those of us who have experienced acne, it may come as no surprise that it is considered to cause more psychological or emotional stress than any other skin disorder. Studies have indicated that 33% of individuals with acne believe that the reason that they have the condition is because their skin is not clean. Many clients feel socially ostracized and isolated as a result of having acne. The irony is that the emotional stress of acne has the propensity to exacerbate the condition, increasing its severity and the associated inflammation.

    For many of us, one of the first things we turn to when feeling stressed is food, and very often it’s those refined, sugary, High Glycemic Index (GI) comfort foods that we turn to, such as cookies, candy, chocolate, breakfast cereals, chips, white bread and processed foods. The problem with these foods, according to a report published in the Archives of Dermatology*, is that they cause large fluctuations in your blood sugar levels and have been linked to the development of many health problems, including acne.

    Research has indicated that consumption of high GI foods results in acne breakouts due to an increase in insulin levels and insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-1. IGF-1 and insulin have the ability to bind to receptor sites on the sebaceous gland and to stimulate sebum production by up to 60% in some instances.

    Sugar consumption increases blood levels of the androgen hormones by decreasing in the volume of a specific androgen regulating protein. The increase in androgen hormones directly stimulates the sebaceous gland to produce more of a thick, sticky type of sebum, which clogs the sebaceous follicle, leading to acne development.

    Some Food for Thought:

    When performing a consultation on your acne clients, it may be worth your while to investigate what types of food they are consuming. Educate them about the effect of high GI foods and how they could be exacerbating the problem. You may even want to refer your clients to a local nutritionist for a more thorough overhaul of their diets.

    By offering your client a more holistic approach to their acne concerns, combined with an effective homecare program that utilizes OTC actives (such as Salicylic Acid) and calming, hydrating ingredients, you’re guaranteed to get the best possible results.

    *Acne Vulgaris A Disease of Western Civilization Loren Cordain, PhD; Staffan Lindeberg, MD,PhD; Magdalena Hurtado, PhD; Kim Hill, PhD; S. Boyd Eaton, MD; Jennie Brand-Miller, PhD . Arch Dermatol. 2002;138:1584-1590.

    1 Comment

    • Vicki Says:

      A most interesting article – so true, we are what we eat!

      April 23, 2012 at 5:52 am

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