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- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin A and Carotenoids
- Eatright.org – American Dietetic Association: Healthy Eating for Women
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After 30 years of doubting that food plays a role in acne, some conventional medicine practitioners now believe there is a connection. Food doesn’t cause acne; the culprits are excessive oil production in your skin, clogged pores, inflammation and Propionibacterium acnes, bacteria that live on skin. But some food may worsen acne -- by triggering hormonal or allergic reactions -- and some foods can be good for acne. Carrots may fall into either category.
Carrots and Vitamin A
Carrots are among the richest food sources of vitamin A, a nutrient that’s essential for healthy skin 1. Vitamin A is a key ingredient of some topical acne remedies known as retinoids, such as tretinoin 1. It’s also available in oral form in the medication isotretinoin, which must be taken under a doctor’s supervision. Eating more carrots will help to boost naturally the amount of vitamin A available to keep your skin healthy. However, no research studies exist that examine the effect of consuming carrots on acne specifically.
Food Allergies and Acne
If you are allergic to carrots, your acne may become worse. Although allergies to foods such as peanuts and shellfish get a lot of attention, it’s possible for you to develop an allergy to any food, including carrots. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, food allergies may play a role in adult acne. If you’ve ever suffered with symptoms such as an itchy throat, hives or nausea after eating carrots, you’re likely allergic to them and should avoid eating them or eating them only when they’re cooked.
Testing Carrots' Role in Your Acne
To determine whether carrots are good for your acne, keep a food diary or log. Make note of whether your skin improves — such as having fewer breakouts — when you eat carrots. The American Dietetic Association recommends adults eat 2 1/2 cups of vegetables daily, and carrots can be part of that intake. On the other hand, if you notice that your acne becomes worse, try eliminating carrots for three to six months to see if your skin improves.
Keep in mind that even if carrots help to alleviate your acne, there may be other foods in your diet can aggravate acne. For instance, refined carbohydrates, dairy foods, nuts and chocolates have been linked to acne breakouts, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Foods such as carbohydrates and nonorganic dairy may disrupt hormonal activity in your body, such as insulin production, and aggravate acne. Limit your intake of these foods. Instead, opt for a nutritious, balanced diet with foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and organic meat and dairy to help purge your skin of pimples.
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