Acne is one of the most common chronic skin disorder affecting millions of people across the globe. It is characterized by the outbreak of pimples, whiteheads, blackheads and inflammations along with redness and marks on the skin. It mostly stays limited to the face and neck region. In case the inflammation reaches deep down the skin, it develops into cysts and nodules which then cause severe cystic and nodular acne respectively. According to one survey, acne outbreaks affect 17 million people in the United States alone.
The primary cause behind acne breakout is rise in the level of androgens. Higher androgen levels induce the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. With age and over time, a lot of new medicines have been developed to prevent, if not completely cure, the problem of acne. These include medicines like anti biotic, anti retinoid, oral contraceptives and accutane. However on way in which this can be approached is not by taking in extra things but by restricting certain things in your diet. In this article we will discuss the significance of cutting out a protein namely gluten from the diet and its effectiveness in treating acne breakouts.
Table of Contents
- What is Gluten free diet?
- How does gluten free diet treat acne?
- Benefits of going on a gluten free diet
- Possible Side effects and Precautions
- Does gluten free diet help in acne – what users are saying
What is Gluten free diet?
Gluten is a protein found in large quantities in grains like wheat and barley. It has been noticed that a lot of people are sensitive to gluten in the sense that their body cannot digest or process gluten once taken in and therefore treats it as an alien substance, affecting an immunity response.
A gluten free diet is therefore a kind of diet that completely excludes taking any food item that contains this protein. This diet particularly has been medically recommended for the treatment of celiac disease. In people who suffer from this disease, gluten causes inflammation in the small intestine. This affects a response from the immune system attacking the small intestine. When such conditions arise in an individual they are called gluten intolerant.
Though there is a lack of scientific argument to support the theory, it has largely been established on experience that a gluten free diet helps in the reduction of the frequency and intensity of acne breakouts and various other skin conditions.
How does gluten free diet treat acne?
Gluten free diets affect acne breakouts in several ways. A number of links have been established which are as follows:
Firstly, the damage that it causes to the small intestine, leads to the release of toxins. This increased toxic content of the body contributes towards inflammation and bacterial accumulation in the body.
Moreover, when the immune system attacks these “alien substances” in the body which the body is unable to digest, the white blood cells release histamine, which contributes towards increasing inflammation. This not only supports the acne induced inflammation but also increases insulin resistance.
Gluten free diet specification
Given below is a list of food items you should avoid and you should take when planning to go on a gluten free diet:
You must avoid the following food items:
- Durum flour
- Graham flour
You can include the following items:
- Beans and seeds
- Eggs, meats and fish
- Dairy products
- Fruits and vegetables
- Corn and flax
The gluten free diet regime usually goes through two phases. These two phases are:
The first phase involves complete exclusion of gluten from your meals. There are various ways in which you can include non gluten in your diet plan
The second phase involves re-introducing gluten in your diet. As the digestive tracts start to heal, your body starts becoming less sensitive of gluten and will affect a larger acceptance of it in your body.
Benefits of going on a gluten free diet
Going completely gluten free is known to help your health in many ways and is as such considered a healthy practice. Here are some of the benefits of going gluten free:
- People have reported an increase in their level of energy after they adhered to a gluten free diet
- In children who have autism, gluten free diet helps in affecting a positive behavior
- It will make you rely mostly on fruits and vegetables that is in general good for your health
- It will also lead to an elimination of unhealthy oils from your diet
- The above mentioned elimination as a result will keep you at a lower risk of various diseases including cardio vascular disease
Possible Side effects and Precautions
Though going on a gluten free diet is usually considered a healthy practice. However it may have its own faults. Mentioned below are some issues related to this diet:
- It can lead to the loss or deficiency of certain important vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium and fiber among others
- Switching your diet to something absolutely new can at any time cause nutrition deficiency
- It can lead to weight loss
In order to ensure complete effectiveness of your diet practice, you must follow certain precautions. Some of these precautions are enumerated below:
- You must ensure healthy substitutes for all the nutrients being lost as a result of going on a gluten free diet
- You must be careful about the portion of food you will be eating in such a diet plan
- Be careful while buying gluten free products from the market because while some products claim to be gluten free, they actually are not
- Going gluten free does not mean that you can start on other junk/unhealthy food that might otherwise harm you.
Does gluten free diet help in acne – what users are saying
We did an analysis of online consumer reviews to determine the effectiveness of a gluten free diet in preventing acne breakouts, based on what the people have experienced. Here is a summary of what they liked and disliked about it:
What they liked about it
Cystic acne: Many of the consumers affirmed that a gluten free routine was effective in dealing with even cystic acne. Since it worked internally, its effect is not limited to the surface of the skin but leads to general improvement in the health of the skin.
Health: A gluten free diet is known to have contributed towards the general bodily health too. It makes you more reliable on fruit and vegetable. A lot of consumers affirmed to this healthy life style
Extremely effective: Most people following this diet routine were of the view that it proved extremely effective in their acne treatment. In some cases it showed 90% improvement in a matter of just few months. Significant improvement was noticed in just 2 to 3 weeks in many cases.
What they did not like about it
In our survey of the analysis, no person expressed dislike or problems from the treatment. There is therefore no point included under this segment. But, there may still be reservations which might have not been expressed online.
A gluten free diet is generally considered to be part of a healthy lifestyle. It is extremely beneficial in many ways towards your skin and bodily health and has been effective in treating even deep cystic acne. The side effects are negligible and it will mean you do not have to swallow pills or suffer from their side effects. A change in your diet plan is all you need to be acne free now.
Antra is a seasoned writer and has written for several health and wellness topics especially related to skin problems. When not researching and writing, she loves to travel and explore the world.