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Do Greasy Foods Cause Acne?

By Lisa Sefcik ; Updated July 18, 2017

Acne is skin condition that's a cumbersome rite of passage during the teen years--and a bigger bane when it lasts well into adulthood. Acne forms as the result of certain underlying causes, and one of the more common notions is that greasy foods is one of them.

Acne & Diet

The assertion that greasy foods such as pizza and french fries cause acne is largely an old wives' tale. Food types have little to do with acne formation, according to experts at the Mayo Clinic and the American Academy of Dermatology. In fact, the AAD notes that scientific studies have proven that there's no link between food and acne.

Other Acne Myths

Another common myth is that dirt and surface oil on the skin cause acne. The AAD notes that scrubbing the face too hard and too vigorously can actually exacerbate the sebaceous glands and cause more acne to form.

What Causes Acne

Acne is caused by excess oil produced by the sebaceous glands, bacteria and dead skin cells that clog the pores, notes the Mayo Clinic. Other factors that cause acne or make acne worse include hormonal fluctuations, taking certain medications, use of greasy cosmetics and a genetic predisposition for acne.

Acne Treatment

Acne can be treated with over-the-counter and prescription topical treatments, oral antibiotics or oral contraceptives (for females). When acne is particularly severe, a dermatologist may recommend a course of strong oral medication called isotretinoin.

Improved Diet

The AAD advises those who adhere to the belief that greasy foods cause acne to avoid eating them. Although there's no need to worry about eliminating food types when acne is being treated appropriately, the AAD notes that "eating a balanced diet always makes sense."

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