Struggling with acne can be a difficult, embarrassing problem. Many try almost anything possible to prevent bad breakouts.
23-year-old Keith German is in for his second visit with a dermatologist. The Watertown man has been battling cystic acne on his back.
"I had it when I was younger and it kind of phased out," German said.
But German is faced with the problem again after serving overseas with the National Guard.
"I got really sweaty and hot and it was dusty and dirty and it started coming back," German said.
Dermatologist Jenny Nelson says along with medication, German might also want to give up the whey protein he's taking. Research has shown the protein powder could cause acne.
Still, Nelson says it's likely not the number one reason for German's breakouts.
"Typically I don't even bring up diet during an acne visit. If someone is really struggling and not responding to the normal acne treatments, then we might talk about it," Nelson said.
While certain foods might not be the number one cause of acne, new research shows foods with a high glycemic index might contribute to the problem.
"Typically your white bread, so things with high carbohydrates, like potatoes," Nelson said.
While carbohydrate-rich products are the foods taking the most blame for breakouts, new research is also looking into the connection between milk and acne.
"Maybe because there are some natural hormones in milk and that triggers some growth factors to produce acne. The evidence on the milk is less so than the carbohydrate, but there is some evidence linking the two," Nelson said.
Aside from the whey protein, Nelson doesn't believe anything else German's eating is leading to the problem. Whatever the source is though, German hopes he finds a solution soon.
“In my work I wear cut-offs a lot. Now I almost have to wear a t-shirt because people look at it and are a little bit disgusted," German said.
Nelson also says acne is usually caused by hormones or genetics. You also might suffer breakouts if certain glands are overly-active.