Gluten and Acne: Putting an End to the Affair

By: Trevor Mulholland

Gluten is a protein found in many foods - specifically rye, oats, barley and what. Gluten and acne may not seem related, but they may in fact be having a sordid, destructive affair that is costing you the health of your skin!

Gluten products bear a remarkable resemblance to dairy products, in that they cause digestive disorders that are signs of a food intolerance. It is characterized by a painful inflammation of the gut, as well as other health problems, including acne. Seeing it in this vein, the existence of a relationship between gluten and a chronic case of acne is not so hard to spot. "Gluten intolerance," as a matter of fact, is a common condition - around 30% of all people are estimated to have gluten intolerance in some form or another.

Acne, on the other hand, is a very common condition. It often occurs during adolescence, when a hormone rush triggers a buildup of sebum in the skin's pores, resulting in the pores clogging and producing skin growths that fall under the category of "acne." Acne comes in many forms - sometimes it appears as blackheads or whiteheads, papules (red and tender bumps with no head), and pustules (a pus-filled bump similar to a whitehead, but with a more prominent white or yellow center; better known as the garden variety zit), or a combination of all of these. More than one type of acne may be present in a single area, and this area is almost always the face.

Acne is a hormonal condition, which means any imbalance in the hormones causes this condition to occur. Adolescence is not the only time in one's life when acne frequently occurs; pregnancy is another. The rush of hormones that takes place in these periods paves the way for the overproduction of sebum, which is the medical cause of acne. This means that gluten intolerance, or any other kind of food allergy, cannot cause acne.

However, certain conditions can worsen acne. Stress and an unhealthy diet have been known to be among the main culprits that aggravate an already existing acne condition. A clear relationship has been drawn between gluten allergy and acne outbreaks, so if you are experiencing a severe acne outbreak, try to look at the foods you eat. Do any of them contain gluten? Or perhaps any other substance that you may be allergic to?

Allergies don't always have to be severe. In fact, the symptoms of allergy are not always the same; one person may exhibit a seafood allergy by swelling up in the face and hands, another person may exclusively experience breathing difficulties, and yet another person may suffer from a combination of both. Gluten and acne may be interrelated, so if you've noticed that the foodstuffs that you eat when you experience severe acne outbreaks contain gluten, doing away with them may well be the best thing you've ever done for your skin.

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