I’ve been told that my acne may be related to a food allergy. Is this possible?
Acne develops in the pores (follicles) of the skin, (typically occurring in areas where they are numerous, such as the face, upper chest and back), as a result of several factors, including the production of excess oils, which, along with dead skin cells, plug the pore and contribute to the growth of bacteria. The plugged pore becomes inflamed, which may give it a red and swollen appearance.
The main cause of acne is an underlying genetic predisposition, but it can be aggravated by a number of factors, including hormones, cosmetics, fabrics that do not allow the skin to “breathe”, perspiration, some medications (for example, steroids, lithium and drugs used to treat seizures) and bacteria transfer from the hands by touching the face.
That said, it is possible for an allergic reaction to a food or even a topical exposure (for example, make-up, metal items such as jewelry or fabrics) to result in skin reactions and lesions that are similar in appearance to acne lesions. However, it is often difficult to link a particular food to the development of a skin reaction as it sometimes takes days for the reaction to occur after consuming the offending food.
If you do notice a pattern of worsening of skin lesions after eating a particular food, try avoiding that food to see if there is an improvement. Testing for food or other allergies is an alternative if you feel that you would like to rule out the possibility that the lesions you are seeing are due to an allergy, rather than acne.