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Insulin and Other Factors Linked to Acne

Insulin is commonly known to control blood sugar, but what most people dont know is that is can contribute to acne. Here are some simple tips to help control insulin and acne.


Foods with high glycemic loads, especially simple carbohydrates that can easily raise blood glucose and insulin levels, have been proven to trigger acne breakouts.

Important sources of simple carbohydrates include processed foods and soda drinks. By simply avoiding sugary drinks, especially those made from high fructose corn syrup, many acne sufferers have reported dramatic improvements in their acne symptoms. However, simple carbohydrates are not the whole story. Although complex carbohydrates take longer to break down in the body, some of them can also worsen acne.

Sources of complex carbohydrates like grains can trigger acne breakouts. Grains such as wheat may be more nutritive than simple carbohydrates but the body metabolizes them much faster and differently from carbohydrates found in vegetables.

How do grains cause acne?

Grains raise the levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factors such as IGF-1.

Insulin-like growth factors stimulate the release of growth hormones such as male hormones or androgens. Unfortunately, androgens are one of the two major causes of acne.

Androgens such as testosterone and its chief metabolite, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), cause the enlargement of sebaceous glands in the skin and increase sebum production.

The excess sebum secreted then blocks skin pores and traps dead skin cells as well as acne-causing bacteria. The population of these bacteria quickly increases as they feed on sebum. They cause infections in the skin and also local inflammation as the immune system reacts. These effects then appear on the skin as acne comedones, pustules and papules.

Gluten and Acne

However, the carbohydrate content of grains is not the only means by which they cause acne. Gluten, found in grains such as wheat, can also cause acne symptoms in those suffering from gluten intolerance.

Those who have gluten intolerance cannot properly digest gluten. Therefore, the body recognizes gluten as foreign and, believing that it is a toxin, tries to eliminate it through the skin.

Gluten intolerance is believed to be the leading cause of acne rosacea. Therefore, experts advise that you adopt a gluten-free diet for a month to see if your acne clears away.

Milk and Acne

Another relatively unknown secret for getting rid of acne involves milk. Although milk and dairy products have been blamed for acne because of their high glycemic loads and high content of natural and synthetic growth hormones, there is yet another content of milk that can trigger acne. This other milk constituent is iodine.

Pasteurized milk (and even raw milk to a lesser extent) is a good source of iodine because cows are raised on iodine-enriched feeds. Studies demonstrating that iodine causes acne date back to the 1960s.

If you suffer from acne, consider removing sugars, grains, milk and milk products from your diet to clear up your skin.Other equally effective ways to clear away acne include:

  • Drinking lots of water to help your body get rid of toxins through the urine and not the skin.
  • Exercising regularly to help your skin turn out the debris collecting in its pores as sweating washes them out.
  • Taking supplements enriched with acne-fighting vitamins.
  • Sleeping well at night and for 6 – 8 hours to help the body recover from the day’s activities and your skin renew itself.
  • Cleansing your face with skin products containing peroxides. Peroxides are some of the most effective anti-acne topical agents.


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