Over the years I have had many patients who have opted to remove gluten from their diet in the hope that this would clear their skin. For some patients they have felt the benefit but for others it made no difference whatsoever. Some people blame gluten for everything – but does gluten cause acne?
In the 9 years I have been working at my clinic the only link between gluten and acne I have found relates only to fluctuating blood sugar.
Carbohydrates especially refined carbs such as white bread, bagels, cakes, or even white rice for that matter, all enter the bloodstream very quickly in a very similar way to eating sugar or fruit juice or carrot juice with the fibre removed.
When glucose enters the blood stream quickly, it makes us feel good, gives us energy but if the blood cannot naturally balance blood sugar, after a carb fest the blood sugar can drop very low. It is when blood sugar drops low that spots can appear.
Blood sugar spots tend to be very small red spots, often appearing on the forehead or cheeks or around the mouth. They are never painful never more than 2mm wide. They can often appear like a rash/cluster and take weeks and weeks to eventually clear.
Gluten in this case is not the problem, the problem is the refined carbs entering the bloodstream too quickly due to a lack of fat or fibre. When gluten is removed it may feel like it was behind the skin issues but it can be too easy to pinpoint gluten when in fact we need to see it often from another angle.
The symptoms for fluctuating blood sugar which fluctuates and drops to such an extend to cause spots are:
- Feeling irritable and anxious when needing to eat or leaving it too late to eat
- Low self esteem
- Feeling uncomfortable in your own skin – constantly changing clothes through the day
- Feeling a high after drinking coffee or a caffeine drink but followed by shaking and a low thereafter
- Slight depression
- Open pores
- Struggling to turn off to sleep – mind always active
- Night sweats
- Cloudy brain / memory problems
There can be many reasons for blood sugar imbalances but before seeking help it is worthwhile to make a few changes to your diet as follows:
- Eat good quality wholemeal bread containing seeds
- Always eat bread or pasta or rice with fat which can be in the form of full fat cream, cheese or avocado and sprinkle in some sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds on salads or vegetables
- Opt to blend fruit or vegetables rather than juice. Carrot juice without the pulp can cause many problems with blood sugar.
- Have a bowl of porridge or half an avocado before going to bed to balance your blood sugar through the night and in the morning make sure you have a good size of breakfast swapping sugary cereals for eggs with ham and cheese or avocado and seeds to sustain your blood until lunch time.
Does gluten cause acne? – I have worked with 100s of patients over the years and I have never found any evidence to support that gluten causes any type of spots. The removal of gluten can however be beneficial to improve energy levels for some patients.
If these changes are still not enough to balance you out you may have an under active thyroid, or stomach issues or be deficient of specific minerals or vitamins. Seeking the right advice from the Elaine Mummery Acne Clinic can resolve the issue allowing you to feel and look great again.