Does Red Meat Cause Acne?


It has been scientifically proven that what you put into your body makes a massive difference in the quality and appearance of your skin. Gluten, dairy, and spices have all been linked to acne flares, along with a ton of other common food choices. Our bodies work as a well oiled machine and if one piece is out of sync, the entire system begins to back up.

This means that if something upsets your stomach and digestive system, your skin very well may feel the effects due to the irritation triggering an immune system response to help fend of the inflammation and bacteria. This may create some concerns as to what other foods cause skin reactions.

Can Red Meat Really Cause Acne?

Red meat gets a bad reputation due to being full of saturated fats and cholesterol. Both of these are fine in moderation but should be consumed carefully since they can cause some long term health issues. Many people have come to associate red meat with acne, as well. It makes sense; if it upsets your body it should cause issues with your face, too, right? Wrong. Amazingly, red meat may actually offer some incredible skincare benefits, according to many dermatologists. 

Red meat is rich in protein and zinc, making it excellent for treating acne flares. Zinc is an essential nutrient that your body needs in order to function properly. One of the most effective and highly studied acne treatments currently available, zinc helps to fight bacterial growth and acts as an anti inflammatory agent. Protein is amazing in helping your body to heal and become stronger. Consuming a high protein diet is key in keeping your skin clear, especially if you have fair skin, according to many studies

Alternatively, some people will experience negative reactions to red meat. Like any other acne variable, red meat’s effect on your skin is as personal as your fingerprint. One of the biggest concerns in consuming meat in any form is antibiotic exposure. Non-organic meats are procured from cows and pigs treated with antibiotic solutions to keep them healthy and disease free.

Continued exposure to these antibiotics can cause a host of rather serious health concerns in humans, especially in those with compromised immune systems. It is the same as taking unprescribed antibiotics regularly; it damages your gut health by wiping out both good and bad germs. This carries over to your skin, as well, wiping out good bacteria and creating an imbalance should the bad bacteria return first.

Consuming antibiotic fed meat can create an antibiotic resistance within your body, making it harder to treat bacterial breakouts in the future. The rise of so called “superbugs” has caused concern within medical communities; these are illnesses that are resistant to current antibiotics due to overuse and over-prescription. On a smaller scale, you can become resistant to once effective antibiotics through eating treated meat, making it much harder for your doctor to treat bacterial acne breakouts.

If antibiotics do not work your doctor will have to move on to harsher treatments that pose more serious side effects. To prevent this, source meat that is organic and untreated. It is more expensive but will benefit your health as a whole, including your skin. 

Many doctors are blaming the change in the butchered cows’ diets for the associated acne risks. Cows are genetically designed to feed on grass and other green plants but in farm settings they are often fed grain pellets and similar cheaper, more steadily available options. Grass dies as the seasons change or can be depleted through overgrazing but with grain pellets farmers can control the intake of their cattle at all times.

Unfortunately, there has been an associated rise in the cattle’s omega-6 ratios. Omega-6 is a natural inflammatory agent and has been known to trigger skin reactions when over consumed. To avoid this, try to only purchase grass fed beef, as grass fed cows have a healthier omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, making the meat less likely to create dermal reactions. 

A final potential issue with red meat is that it causes an insulin spike and an increase in the body’s pH. A healthy bodily pH sits at around 7.4. When your pH level increases, you are more likely to experience acne breakouts due to increased inflammation. An anti-inflammatory diet is key in preventing acne flares, especially if your diet is typically rich in dairy, gluten, and other triggers like sugar and oil.

Since beef and pork are both pH impacting, they pose a potential risk and, if advised by your dermatologist, should be avoided to prevent further breakouts and increased bacterial activity. 

Some people are particularly sensitive to meat derived inflammation. Those with diabetes are especially prone to acne breakouts when consuming red meat products. Certain types of red meat actually contains just as many insulin spiking agents as carbohydrates. In fact, researcher found that fish, beef, cheese, and eggs all caused a higher insulin response than many forms of processed carbohydrates.

When your body has an overabundance of insulin, you experience a series of negative health benefits including an increase in acne breakouts. To avoid this, try eating red meats in moderation if you are particularly susceptible to insulin spikes.

Conclusion: Does Red Meat Cause Acne?

All in all, while red meat is not a key to acne formation, it can cause some serious reactions if precautions are not taken or if you are particularly susceptible. Choose grass fed, organic beef that has not been treated with antibiotics to help quell any potential negative impacts from contamination. You can still enjoy red meat, just practice moderation!

Bethany

I'm Bethany, founder of LuvSkinCare. I created LuvSkinCare to help everyone get the healthy skin they deserve.

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