What is the Main Food Source for Acne Bacteria?

key food sources for acne bacteria

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that a lot of people suffer from. Unfortunately, there is no cure for acne. There are also different types of acne and they can be a result of different causes.

One of the constant causes of acne is bacteria.

By achieving a better understanding of acne-causing bacteria and how to prevent promoting the growth of the bacteria, you will be better able to fight it.

Below, we will be going over the primary factors that can directly cause acne to become a major problem.

Why Does Acne Occur?

proactiv solution before and after picture

Your skin is full of tiny microscopic holes known as pores. This is where your hair comes out of your skin. Along with this, your skin secretes sebum which is natural lubrication/oil for your skin.

When operating as it should and without any other factors, this is not a problem at all. Your skin will operate as normal and you will not suffer from bacteria-related acne.

The issue crops up when bacteria get trapped at the base of your hair follicles and inside of your pores. Bacteria thrive in this environment because it offers a moist environment with little oxygen. This bacteria is known as ‘P. acnes.’

The reason your natural oil production of sebum comes into play is that the bacteria consume excess sebum for food.

Because of this, it can cause the numbers of bacteria to increase on your skin and reduce in a direct immune system inflammatory response.

When you have dead skin cells, bacteria, excess sebum production along with inflammation, you have a recipe for acne. Essentially, things get so clogged up in your pores that nothing can escape. Therefore, it forms a ‘pimple’ on your skin.

“Food Sources” That Can Make Acne Worse

1. Excess Sebum Production

a woman hides her face because of acne

As you can tell from above, having too much oil production can be a bad thing.

Because acne bacteria thrive in moist environments and because they use sebum as food, having too much oil on your skin can result in acne formation.

This is why treatments like Accutane which essentially shrink the sebaceous glands are so effective because they work to minimize any excess sebum production which acne bacteria need to survive.

Unfortunately, there are a variety of factors that can contribute to the overproduction of sebum including but not limited to poor dietary habits, increased stress levels, and more.

2. Hormones

a woman with acne

Another issue that a lot of people are faced with which can lead to a worsening of acne symptoms is hormone fluctuation.

This is a big one which is why you typically see acne symptoms worsen during stages of puberty when hormones are fluctuating rapidly.

During these stages, various things can happen which can cause a worsening of acne symptoms including but not limited to heightened stress levels, overproduction of sebum oil, and even hail follicles getting shifted which can lead to them getting stuck.

3. Diet

As mentioned previously, your diet can play a critical role in whether or not your acne gets worse. One of the primary culprits when it comes to your diet is your insulin levels.

An insulin spike is only going to cause increased sebum production which can lead to a worsening of acne symptoms because you will be providing bacteria with the food it needs to thrive.

By sticking to low-glycemic foods that do not cause the same spikes in your insulin levels, you will be able to reduce the chances you have excess sebum production as a direct result of your diet.

Now that we have gone over some of the things that can cause acne, we will be going over the best way to effectively control bacteria related acne.

How Can You Properly Control Acne?

1. Stay Hydrated

drinking water can help with acne

The less hydrated you are and your skin is, the more chances you are going to suffer from dead skin cells.

You want to keep the number of dead skin cells on your skin to a minimum because they can result in your pores getting trapped which can cause increased bacteria formation and inflammation.

2. Try Benzoyl Peroxide

This is a particularly effective acne medication that you will be able to use to combat acne because it is an antimicrobial ingredient. This means that it can effectively reduce the total amount of P. acne bacteria on your skin.

By being able to effectively control the number of bacteria on your skin, you will be in better control of your acne breakouts. Along with helping minimize the number of bacteria on the skin, it can also be a good option for keeping pores clear.

See our list of the best benzoyl peroxide treatments here.

3. Retinoids Can Also Help

free proactiv acne scrub brush

Another good option to consider if you are looking to minimize the severity of your acne condition would be through the use of topical retinoids.

By using this, you will be able to combat acne by turning over your skin cells at a faster rate.

Your skin naturally renews cells. Therefore, by getting your skin turnover rate to increase, you will be able to minimize the chances you end up with pore buildup and inflammation.

Instead, acne-causing bacteria will not have a suitable environment to live and breed. You can check out our top-rated retinoid treatments and cleansers here.

Final Thoughts

Overall, there is a lot to learn about acne. Acne causing bacteria can directly cause acne in anyone no matter your age. While there is no official cure for acne, there are plenty of things that you can do to minimize it.

The best way to do so is by attacking the acne bacteria at its root source which is through its food source. By limiting the total food available and by reducing the appeal of the environment (your skin) you will be able to reduce the total number of bacteria that are able to live on your skin.

Everyone has acne bacteria.

However, the issue really starts when you create a breeding ground for this bacteria. By following the tips above, you should be able to limit the total number of acne bacteria on your skin and reduce acne flare-ups in total.