How Food Intolerance Testing can Help your Adult Acne

Last Updated: 12th January 2023 · Written by Kate Young

One of the worst parts of puberty was how our skin would produce a seemingly endless onslaught of spots. Okay, maybe it was just me, but the majority of us have some memory of an untimely pimple or two ruining a weekend or event.

We can’t prevent the undesirable effects puberty, acne is just a part of growing up, but when the skin condition persists well into adulthood might be time for a change. Could testing for food intolerances help you fight off adult acne?

What is Acne?

Let’s first cover what acne is, before going into how intolerance testing can help get rid of it. Acne is a common skin disease with a variety of potential triggers and causes. 

Our skin is covered in hair follicles, some which are visible to the naked eye, and some that aren’t. These hair follicles are attached to tiny glands that produce sebum to help stop your hair from drying out. Sometimes, your hair follicles produce too much sebum, which can then mix with dead skin cells and, usually, harmless bacteria. As a result, the hair follicle gets clogged up, causing pimples, and by extension, acne.

Why does Acne develop?

While there’s still debate on the definitive cause of acne, academics agree that genetics is the primary cause in the vast majority of cases. A good rule of thumb is, if either of your parents had acne, you’ll probably develop it throughout puberty as well. The determining factor, on a genetic level, is how your skin and sebaceous glands are structured. If these glands don’t function quite the way they should do, it can cause a predisposition to acne.

Hormones can also play a large role, which is why pimples are so common throughout adolescence. It’s suspected that hormones like testosterone and cortisol can cause the glands to produce significantly larger amounts of sebum, triggering acne. Stress is also a potential cause, as our body produces more hormones when we’re stressed or aggravated.

Diet has also been shown to have an impact on individual cases of acne. It’s fairly common to develop acne seemingly out of the blue, if you have a food intolerance, without any previous symptoms. The foods we eat also play a significant role in general skin health. If your diet isn’t well-balanced, or you’re eating foods that don’t ‘agree’ with you, then this could trigger a rapid outbreak of spots.

How can Intolerance Testing Help Acne?

If you suddenly break-out in pimples, without warning, it could be that you’ve recently developed a food intolerance. While food intolerances are usually seen as a digestive issue, skin conditions such as acne are a common symptom of food intolerance.

All kinds of foods have the potential to trigger acne if you develop an intolerance to them, but there are a handful of common problem foods. These include;

  • Alcohol
  • Corn 
  • Nuts
  • Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Wheat
  • Yeast

food intolerance test can be effective at narrowing down the potential cause of your adult acne, by identifying foods you’re intolerant to.

How can Your Diet Improve Acne?

Vitamin A, zinc and Omega 3’s are vitamins and minerals that are known to contribute to good skin health.

Vitamin A is beneficial for all of our organs and helps your skin self-exfoliate. You can find Vitamin A in foods like; cod liver oil, eggs, carrots, broccoli and even spinach.

Zinc is especially helpful for people with naturally dry skin. It’s used to help keep your skin moist and prevent your body from overcompensating the dryness with extra sebum. 

Dry skin quite a common cause of acne, so keep yourself hydrated and enjoy a well-balanced diet with zinc-rich foods to help prevent it from getting worse (and even combat it). You can find plenty of zinc in most meat cuts as well as lentils, chickpeas and beans. 

Omega 3’s can also be effective in battling acne. Not only do they possess anti-inflammatory properties, but they help with hormone production too. You can get an abundance of omega 3’s from a portion of fish, but the vegetarians among you can also find these fatty acids in Flax seeds, Chia seeds and walnuts.

Attack Adult Acne on Multiple Fronts

Use a combination of avoiding foods you’re intolerant to and eating more skin-nourishing foods to help deal with stubborn adult acne. If you’re going through an unexpected flare-up, try commencing an elimination diet to identify potential problem foods.

It’s recommended that your elimination diet lasts for at least 4 weeks, to allow time for your body to flush out the offending foods and see the benefit. Afterwards, you can try reintroducing foods individually to see how your body handles them individually.

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