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Acne is one of those things that causes nothing but annoyance around the world. Often, we’re told that breakouts are from wearing oil-based cosmetics, stress, or eating bad food. It’s also possible that acne can be caused by a food allergy or a food sensitivity. Before you blame your favorite cosmetic or your mountain of stress, it might be helpful to take a look at what’s on your plate!

Acne, food allergies, and food intolerances

Acne is a physical result of inflammation in your skin. Inflammation can happen for quite a few normal reasons that will result in a breakout. Between inflammation and the build-up of oils on the skin, breakouts don’t need much prompting to pop up — literally.

There’s also the fact the acne can be a result of dealing with a food allergy. Since an allergy means your body is fighting off intruders and pumping itself up to do that (by getting your heart speeding up), inflammation can flare up as well, and you’ll have a breakout of acne as part of your allergic reaction. It often is after the fact, as it is different from hives (which tend to appear right as the allergic reaction happens)

Another explanation is that acne is a symptom of a food intolerance. A food intolerance is when your body is unable to digest food ingredients that you are eating. This can result in all kinds of digestive related symptoms as well as seemingly unrelated body reactions such as congestion or acne breakouts. 

How to know which one it is

It’s hard to see all of these potential options and know which one is the right cause. It’s important to take a look at the acne itself and its connection to the food itself. Are you noticing any other allergic reaction symptoms such as flushing, or a racing heart that are followed by a breakout?

Are you noticing, on the other hand, symptoms of food intolerance such as digestive issues, feeling sick or having flatulence? These could indicate a food allergy or food intolerance. If you notice these symptoms and acne happening around a certain food or even food ingredient, this is something to think about.

Taking a moment to think about what kind of reaction you’re having — allergy or intolerance — is important. However, if you want to know for sure, consider getting a food allergy and/or a food intolerance test done. That will tell you the results, the severity (in the case of the food intolerance), and help you avoid unnecessary, preventable acne breakouts in the future.

Whether it’s a food allergy, a food intolerance, or even just a lot of cosmetics use, acne breakouts are something to take as your body’s way of telling you something.  What it’s telling you will depend on why it’s flaring up, of course, but before you dismiss it as just being too much stress, you will want to consider any other symptoms of a food allergy or food intolerance to make sure that you aren’t missing anything vitally important.