By Dr. Shilpa Sankpal, Dermatology
Truth be told, the food itself typically doesn’t cause acne, but the side effects of eating spicy foods like hot peppers certainly increase the chances of a breakout occurring. That’s especially true if you’re not used to eating spicy foods.
Hence, acne is not caused by foods, but certain foods can trigger the underlying conditions which lead to breakouts. One of the most recent topics of controversy has been whether spicy foods cause acne. Let check how are spicy foods linked to acne…
How are spicy foods linked to acne?
It’s sweat. Spicy foods cause an inflammatory reaction in the body which causes a rise in temperature, followed by that spice sweat any hot pepper fan knows so well. The sweat increases the likelihood of a breakout, and the less comfortable you are with spice in general, the more likely you will sweat. That sweat triggers oils to be released in the skin, and it’s those oils that trap the dirt and bacteria which cause acne.
The jury is still out on this, but the following points can help you make up your mind:
- Oil Glands: Acne is caused by overactive sebaceous (oil) glands. Chilies and certain spices are inflammatory foods which help in the production of digestive acids. They also raise your temperature, which gets your glands to become hyperactive. They produce excessive oil which clogs your pores, leading to breakouts.
- Sweating: The other factor contributing to the whole spicy food vs acne debate, is the production of sweat after eating spicy food. The sweat too clogs up pores, traps dirt and oils, which cause acne.
- Allergy: Sometimes, spicy food can trigger allergies (factors that cause allergic reactions) in some people. These can lead to a breakout as well.
It is still not very clear if there is a link between acne and spicy food as there is still research going on. But if you do discover you are having breakouts due to spicy food, here is what you can do:
- Wash your face if you sweat after eating spicy food to remove the excess oil on your face.
- Use clay masks to clean pores and tighten them.
- Or, the best you can do is cut down on spicy foods as much as possible.