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[5 min read] 6 myths your patients may believe about the diet-skin link

Skin-related concerns make up 11.5 per cent of GP consultations. Many patients believe popular myths about skincare, especially in relation to how their diet can affect their skin. These patients often follow home remedies that do little to solve their skin problems, and it is sometimes the GP’s role to intervene and debunk patients’ misconceptions. Here are six widespread beliefs about the diet-skin link.

Myth: Coffee is good for skin

Coffee is not dangerous in and of itself; however, it is a diuretic, which can lead to dehydration and dry, thirsty skin. It is best enjoyed in moderation.

Myth: Collagen powders will improve skin

There are many options available for patients seeking a collagen boost but ingesting it won’t directly affect patients’ skin as it will be digested by the gastrointestinal system and not make it to the skin.

Myth: Chocolate causes acne breakouts

Chocolate’s effect on patients’ skin depends on the source, ingredients, and type of chocolate. Dark chocolate can have a positive impact on skin and general health. Dark chocolate with more than 70 per cent cacao is an excellent source of antioxidants, which has a protective role for the skin and other organs. The myth that chocolate causes breakouts likely comes from some confections’ dairy content. For a minority of acne patients, dairy may worsen acne breakouts.

Myth: Greasy food causes acne breakouts

Eating greasy foods doesn’t necessarily cause breakouts, but it can physically clog pores and lead to acne. Additionally, greasy foods may have ingredients used in frying that promote inflammation, which is not good for the skin or other organ systems.

Myth: Avocado makes a fool-proof face mask

Although avocados, citrus fruits and nuts are frequently suggested as key ingredients in at-home DIY masks or exfoliants, that advice doesn’t apply to everyone. Patients with latex allergies can cross-react with avocado masks, as well as anything containing chestnuts, bananas, passion fruit, celery, potato, tomato, kiwi, or peach. People who’ve had poison ivy reactions will cross-react with mangoes, cashews, and pistachios due to the toxic protein substance, urushiol.

At the very least, topical application will cause a rash, and at the worst, blisters, or systemic symptoms such as shortness of breath, airway swelling, and anaphylaxis.

Myth: Kale, turmeric, cumin and vitamins C & E can improve skin appearance

Products with these ingredients and nutrients can be great to include in a balanced diet for better health. However, the scientific literature lacks studies showing that they are absorbed in the skin enough to exert an effect. Additionally, some products may have unwanted side effects, like yellow-tinted skin from cumin.

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