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Diet for Clogged Pores

author image Barbara Diggs
Barbara Diggs is a freelance writer living in France. A former corporate lawyer, she has been writing professionally since 2006. She has been published in numerous print and online magazines, specializing in travel, parenting, history and law. Diggs is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Stanford Law School.
Diet for Clogged Pores
Close up of pores on face. Photo Credit: Rusudan Mchedlishvili/iStock/Getty Images

Few people can get through life without ever having clogged pores. Clogged pores are a harmless but annoying cosmetic condition that is particularly common in adolescents. Although for decades the dermatological community has insisted that there was no link between diet and acne, recent research has indicated that the foods you eat can indeed give rise to clogged pores, which in turn gives rise to acne.

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What are Pores?

Sweat comes through pores.
Sweat comes through pores. Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Lightwavemedia/Getty Images

Pores are the tiny openings through which hair follicles can rise to the surface of the skin. The hair follicle itself remains deep beneath the surface, in the dermal layer of skin. In addition to allowing hair to break through the skin, pores permit oil, also called sebum, and sweat to rise to the surface of the skin.

Cause of Clogged Pores

Wash face to unclog pores.
Wash face to unclog pores. Photo Credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Pores become clogged when the oil-producing glands, or the sebaceous glands, in your skin begin to produce higher than usual amounts of sebum. So much oil is produced that much of it cannot exit through the pores, which causes them to become clogged. Dead skin cells and dirt can also get trapped in the opening, causing pores to become clogged.

Effects of Clogged Pores

Acne occurs from clogged pores.
Acne occurs from clogged pores. Photo Credit: ron sumners/iStock/Getty Images

Clogged pores are a major contributing factor to acne. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a certain kind of bacteria called P. acnes thrives in the excess oil from clogged pores and causes inflammation. Whiteheads are inflamed, clogged pores in which the surface of the pore is closed. Blackheads are clogged pores in which the surface of the pore remains open. In dermatology terminology, whiteheads and blackheads are called closed and open comedos, respectively. Both are forms of acne.

Clogged Pores and Diet

Sugary food can clog pores.
Sugary food can clog pores. Photo Credit: Howard Shooter/Dorling Kindersley RF/Getty Images

Recent studies have demonstrated a link between clogged pores and nutrition. According to a 2002 study published in the journal "Archives of Dermatology" and led by Loren Cordain, a high-glycemic diet results in acne breakouts. The researchers concluded that the increase in acne was due to a rise of insulin levels and insulin-like growth factor, which in turn caused an increase of testosterone, which, in its turn, caused on overproduction of sebum. Excess sebum can result in clogged pores. In short, a high-glycemic diet -- one rich in simple carbohydrates and sugars -- might trigger the overproduction of oil that causes clogged pores and acne.

Low-Glycemic Foods

Cherries are low glycemic foods.
Cherries are low glycemic foods. Photo Credit: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

To eliminate or prevent clogged pores through diet, avoid eating high-glycemic foods and maintain a low-glycemic diet. Low-glycemic foods include whole grain foods, cruciferous and dark leafy green vegetables, dry beans of all varieties, and certain fruits such as cherries, plums, grapefruit and peaches. Foods to avoid include junk food, such as chips and candy, bread, grains and cereals made with refined grains, and foods with a high sugar content. Milk and highly processed foods are also items to avoid.

Other Treatment for Clogged Pores

Orange peel can help exfoliate.
Orange peel can help exfoliate. Photo Credit: Anna Sirotina/iStock/Getty Images

Eating well is only part of the equation for getting rid of clogged pores. You also have to treat your skin right. The website “Care Fair” recommends gently washing your face with warm water and soap every day to get rid of excess oil. It also recommends exfoliating dead skin with products containing natural ingredients such as oatmeal, ground almonds or orange peel. You should also make sure that products you use on your skin, such as sunscreen and other toiletries, are oil-free.

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