Eating too much sugar can aggravate your acne

Eating too much sugar can aggravate your acne

By Dr.Trevor Erikson

25 years ago I was told by a dermatologist that my diet was not to blame for my acne problem. You would think that my daily intake of candy bars, pastries, cookies, and a can of soda pop would have to be affecting my skin. But the dermatologist insisted that no amount of sugar was responsible.

Well, recent research shows that he was wrong. A study comparing the severity of acne in teens who ate healthy diets versus those who ate lots of sugar and fast foods, found that a definite link between diet and acne does exist. The more junk food in the diet, the more acne was expected.

Basically, too much sugar in the diet leads to hormonal imbalances that trigger our glands to produce more oil. This oil then clogs the pores, which in turn leads to the formation of white and blackheads, with subsequent inflamed acne the end result. This is why so many people find that topical lotions do not always clear up their acne. The issue is coming from inside them, with sugar being a major contributor.

Chinese medicine has always seen a relationship between what one eats and the health of our bodies. It was well known 2000 years ago that eating too much sugar will aggravate damp conditions, much like the greasy complexion of an acne sufferer. A diet full of whole fresh foods with lots of vegetables was thus seen as the superior diet for healthy skin.

I tell all my patients with acne to lower their sugar intake, which often leads to dramatic improvements of their skin. When the acne is more severe however, I will also prescribe a mix of herbal medicines to more strongly clear the skin from the inside out. The herbs also help correct underlining hormonal imbalances and digestive weaknesses.

A few years ago, a 35 year old woman came to see me with widespread facial acne. Her face was very greasy and full of little white and blackheads. Each month before her menstruation she found her acne worsened. She also suffered with constipation. I instructed her right away to lower her sugar intake and to eat more fresh vegetables. As well, I gave her both a herbal wash and an internal tea to drink.

Over the course of a few months we watched her skin become less and less greasy, with less acne spots appearing. Her skin didn’t flare up as much premenstrually and she was able to have easier bowel movements. After 5 months of treatment, her skin was about 95% clear. It was obvious that the combination of eating less sugary foods, eating more vegetables, and drinking a herbal tea designed specifically for her constitution lead to a higher level of well being, both at her skin level and deeper. As well as your sugar intake, something else that can help your acne is the comfort level of your sleep. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you need a new mattress or need to change your pillows as they are old, you can look into sites like Leesa, who provide high quality products such as mattresses, sheets, blankets and more, to give you a comfortable night’s sleep. This all relates to your health and the outcome.

Dr. Erikson uses Chinese herbal medicines to treat a variety of skin conditions. He can be reached by phone at 778.886.1180 or through his website at