Tip: Can eating certain foods cause breakouts? For me, certain foods can!

by Paris B on · 73 comments

in Discussions,Health,Musings,Tips

food breakouts Tip: Can eating certain foods cause breakouts? For me, certain foods can!

Some of you may remember me whining about this sudden outbreak of acne I had rather recently. It isn’t related to anything topical because I hadn’t used anything new when my skin erupted. I’ve been working hard these 3 months to bring things under control (I can’t forgive Vichy for pulling out of Malaysia because I swear, the Normaderm moisturisers and face wash have been instrumental in helping me fight the breakouts! icon sad Tip: Can eating certain foods cause breakouts? For me, certain foods can! ).

A while ago, I reminded myself that I am what I eat, and so, upping my intake of fruits and vegetables and cutting back on dairy and wheat products have helped. I also started incorporating fresh fruit and vegetable juices in my diet and they have all done their little bit to help.

But just a week or so ago, I set everything back when I suddenly experienced a flare up of cystic acne and breakouts on my chin. It was mind boggling, and I was quite distressed until I sat myself down and thought about what I’d eaten. And I realised that just the night before, I’d eaten a rather large amount of beef.

The co-relation between beef intake and breakouts has been something I’ve been pondering over for a while but this latest incident sort of sealed the deal for me. Indulging in a rather large amount of barbequeued beef the night before (so delicious!), and waking up to 2 giant painful cystic acne the next morning was too much of a coincidence.

Have you noticed any co-relation between your breakouts and what you eat? Do you think its just a coincidence or maybe even a myth?

I looked up information online but there isn’t much on this. I am not allergic to most food except dairy for which my stomach rebels against. So I don’t eat a lot of dairy or its derivatives. I have read about a co-relation between dairy intake and pimples or acne but I can’t test that.

What I did notice based on a few recent incidences was my tolerance towards beef. Rather, my skin’s intolerance towards beef. If I take in a lot of beef, I will break out the next day. Not just breakout, I develop cystic acne that takes forever to go away and is painful as heck!

I first noticed this after indulging in this excellent all you can eat shabu-shabu restaurant with really good paper thin beef slices. I realised a few days later after indulging in far too much good food, that I was breaking out around my chin and even a stray one on my cheek. I didn’t think very much of it, treated it and watched them go away.

It happened again the next time I had beef, but again I didn’t think too much of it. I’m not intolerant towards beef so there was no real reason for me to suspect it at all. The most recent flare up was, as you might say, the icing on the cake. I personally feel that it was too coincidental to be accidental.

When I tweeted this, Rinnah gave me her insight.

She was allergic to beef, but I thought it interesting.  If indeed certain foods can trigger allergies in some people, is it not possible that it too can trigger breakouts?

This might perhaps be a mild form of “allergy” or intolerance towards something in the particular food. Instead of reacting in a more physical manner e.g. hives, swelling, itching etc, I break out. It might be how my body reacts to the meat.

I haven’t noticed a similar co-relation between breakouts and other foods, or maybe I just haven’t noticed it yet. I have also noticed that I can eat beef, just not in large quantities so a steak is out of the question, but a few slices of shabu-shabu or beef bolognaise is fine. That said, its not something I will miss terribly so I’m not averse to giving up beef in exchange for well-behaved skin! icon smile Tip: Can eating certain foods cause breakouts? For me, certain foods can!

Have you noticed a similar co-relation between certain foods and your breakouts? Are you allergic to any foods or are there foods that can cause your skin to go haywire?

Beef is the only one so far for me that I’ve noticed can cause me to break out. Since dairy and its derivatives make me bloat, I wonder if there might be a co-relation between the cow and me in general. Maybe I just don’t get along with Bessie icon razz Tip: Can eating certain foods cause breakouts? For me, certain foods can!

Paris B

Disclaimer: I am not medically trained, and these are just my thoughts and observations based on my skin and its reactions. Your skin may react differently.

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[ 73 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Hanny Daforcena March 26, 2013 at 8:40 am

My poison is shellfish. It makes my eczema flare up like a monster all over my body. I know that this sounds like an old wife’s tale (Chinese believe that shellfish are “poisonous” and will cause wounds to be infected) but I really am allergic to them. In fact, eating shellfish will cause my mom’s mucus in her sinus to clump up and coagulate. >.< So yeah…

I LOVE EATING SHELLFISH THOUGH! So whenever am on a dose of antibiotics, I try to sneak one crab or two into my tummy for dinner :)

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Kay March 26, 2013 at 11:52 pm

Because seafood they live in polluted waters and for shellfish they filter the water for planktons for food so poisonous metals do accumulate overtime. You will have to make sure the seafood you take is fresh and shellfish MUST BE cooked thoroughly before consumption to reduce chance of inflammation.

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Haha many people I know are allergic to shellfish and yes, I do believe a little in the “poisonous” element of certain foods. Beef is also known to be “poisonous” or toxic and I think there is merit in that theory. Can’t discount everything the old wives tales tell us ;)

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Tracy March 26, 2013 at 8:50 am

Huh! I never even thought about this. I guess it’s entirely possible!
I should pay attention and see if I notice anything like this. But it better not be beef for me too-I’m anemic and need beef in my diet! Although now that I think about it, I’ve recently decreased my milk consumption and replaced most of it with soy milk. I’ve noticed a decrease in flareups too. WOW YOU JUST OPENED UP MY EYES!

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Its so weird that its unbelievable Tracy! I do believe in the dairy connection but I don’t remember breaking out from them. That said, I used to have bad skin when I was a student and I was consuming a lot of dairy back then. Maybe it didn’t help! :P

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Angelina March 26, 2013 at 9:01 am

Mine is beef. Whenever I consume beef, pimples will make its dreadful appearance. So yes, it is related.

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Ah you too, Angelina!

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fanny March 26, 2013 at 9:06 am

Yes, i am sensitive to beef as well. it caused me having those cystic acne on my chin too.

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Fanny, I’m quite happy to know I’m not alone in this! Honestly, I never expected something I ate to actually cause me to get cystic acne! Who knew eh?

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Esther March 26, 2013 at 9:14 am

Mangoes!! I have a heaty body so eating a heaty fruit like mango worsen it….but its my favourite so I eat anyway.

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Haha maybe chase it down with something cooling like barley water? ;)

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JackieA March 26, 2013 at 9:17 am

For me it’s pork….the fatty kind. I will get a few tiny dots in my chinny chin chin the next day. Pop….wash…..and go! (I know…you are cringeing right??!!)

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Eww! :P So no fatty roast pork for you then, Jackie!

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Wong Yi Lian March 26, 2013 at 9:19 am

Hi, Paris. From what I learnt in medicine, there are several food products that can cause acne, which are high sugar food and dairy products (except yogurt and cheese). But the level of evidence about these statements is II to III (best level of evidence is level I). So i think it depends on certain people’s body reaction. Chocolate, nuts, and oily food do not cause breakout. It is also best to avoid food that you are allergic too. For me, my acne got worse is I eat spicy food. @@ So, yes, food can be related to acne. :)

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Thanks for sharing, Yi Lian :) I have heard about sugar and dairy causing acne so I think to be on the safe side, its just best to cut back on those. I’m quite pleased that I don’t do sugary foods nor do I eat dairy so its quite easy to eliminate that form my diet :)

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Germs March 26, 2013 at 9:30 am

Hey Paris! Think i’ve heard my mum talk about how in chinese medical theory beef is a “poisonous” kind of meat, not poison poison but rather just unhealthy or something. Not a beef eater myself, but my sis once broke out from ikea’s swedish meatballs which contained beef too!

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Hiya Germs! Yeah, the Chinese consider beef “toxic” so I’m not surprised either that it can cause me to break out. Its just the first time i’m noticing it so maybe its the increased hormones in the meat or maybe its just my body telling me to cut back on all that red meat! ;)

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Jenn March 26, 2013 at 9:44 am

Ouch… i hope your cystic acne is healed by now!

Liqueur gives me cystic acne, especially on my back! Tried, true and tested for myself – happened too many times now to be a sheer coincidence! Strangely, wines are alright though… maybe my body is telling me to give up on them cocktails! Haha! :P

That slab of steak looks soooo yums :O~~

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Laura March 27, 2013 at 1:15 am

I couldn’t think of anything until I read this comment! Alcohol really messes with my skin too! I don’t break out in cystic acne, but my pores get enlarged when I drink (side effect of the vasodilation and increased blood flow?) and I may get small flare ups/whiteheads and I notice that in the days after, my skin texture and tone is nowhere near as nice as it would be otherwise. My keratosis pilaris seems to flare up a bit too! Shame, since I really like wine, but I guess it’s no great loss since I don’t drink often anyways.

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Hi Jenn, yeah, its on its way back to normal skin but man! Cystic acne sucks balls >.< Its funny about the alcohol! Maybe your body doesn’t like its alcohol too neat. Red wine is more “natural” after all hehe…

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Rin March 26, 2013 at 9:49 am

Hello Paris!
I cannot take crustacean because my skin will react almost immediately. Rashes will develop mostly on my back and body but if it gets worse, sometimes on the face too! I cannot take beef in a large amount too. If I do, my skin reacts. I’ll develop spots on my back but they tend to be not so small though. And sometimes they look like cystic acne but I think they are cystic acne but on my back instead? Again, if it gets worse, they’ll develop on my face too.

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm

A lot of people I know can’t take shellfish or seafood because of allergies and eczema. I suppose I’m quite lucky in that I’m not allergic to it, but I don’t take too much – all that cholesterol can’t be good for me either! ;)

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Victoria March 26, 2013 at 9:59 am

Never knew that beef could cause such a reaction. I do not take much beef anyway so I guess I would not be affected if I decide not to eat the meat at all. But I did notice if I were to eat the fried peanuts that comes together with nasi lemak, I would get the odd 1-2 pimples. So I avoid it all together and just consume the fried anchovies. I cannot take dairy products as I am lactose intolerant so I cannot really comment if that particular food would give me pimples.
Hope your cystic acne clears up soon :-)

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm

My skin is on the mend, thanks Victoria! I didn’t make the beef connection too till recently but now that I know about it, I’m cutting way back on my beef intake. I took some the other day, but only in small quantities and sharing with a friend and it seemed ok. Would hate to totally cut it from my diet!

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Bugs March 26, 2013 at 10:21 am

My lips are allergic to shellfish, but only the shell. Strange? Yeah, I think so too coz if I peel the prawns or crabs with my hands and send the flesh to my mouth, then I’m ok. When I was younger I used to peel prawns with my teeth and my lips would swell and red and itchy like sausage lips… So sexy. Haha. But thank goodness after some time, like half a day, they go back to normal without needing medication. I just need to endure the burning and itchyness. But now as I grew older, seems like my minor lip allergy has upgraded itself also to other type of allergy. I got rashes on my lipline, red itchy dots whenever I use lipstick.

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Maybe there’s something in the shell that makes your skin react? Its not surprising but at least you get to pop the tasty morsels straight into your mouth without reacting ;) Sorry to hear about the lipstick. Maybe there’s something in the ingredients that your lips dislike. What do you use for lip makeup then?

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Bugs April 2, 2013 at 10:05 am

Thank goodness that when I was still an OL and had to apply lipstick, my lips would just flakes off and that lip balms are my best friends. Now, I am at home most of the time , so no makeup issue here… until the next wedding dinner or something.

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onnjaejun March 26, 2013 at 10:22 am

oh my! i did wrote about my suspicion about beef and my acne and my sister thought that i’m weird..i’m going to paste your entry at her fb wall..haha..

have a nice day Paris!

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Hahaha I’m happy to know I’m not alone in thinking of this connection and yes, you can tell your sister you aren’t alone either! :D

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Dee March 26, 2013 at 11:09 am

I think the beef might have caused your breakouts. I, on the other hand, breakout when I eat chocolates! XD so i’m very careful to not eat too much choc, a piece of choc indulgence will result in pimples mushrooming on my face.. :P but thank God I’m don’t have a sweet tooth to begin with and beef doesn’t cause me to breakout cuz I love BEEF!! :P

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Ah chocolates! Another thing I don’t eat. I know, I’m a bit weird ;) I sometimes take dark chocolate but I rarely eat any. I wish beef didn’t break me out too. I enjoy my sukiyaki and shabu shabu and now, won’t be able to eat as much as I like! :P

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Julia March 26, 2013 at 11:25 am

Hm, my skin actually got better when I turned vegetarian – but healthy fruit like oranges breaks me out badly. O_o

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Maybe your skin doesn’t like all that citrus acid :) I have been told that going vegetarian helps skin look better too and is healthier, but I can’t give up my meat, sorry! >.<

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Sharon March 26, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I guess I am lucky that I don’t break out from beef just yet *toes n fingers crossed*
cos I love my beef especially steak! Give me a nice steak anyday and I am ready to chomp it down. I like chocolates though but they cause constipation especially dark chocolates and then I break out as an after effect of that. I also can’t take spicy food such as the Mcspicy from McDonald’s cos it gives me an equally fiery butt lol but that’s on the topic of IBS.

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Yeah, pity about the beef, but I guess it means I have to be more adventurous with my cooking! ;) I’ve heard of people who get IBS from very spicy food! Someone I know was like that but couldn’t give up the chillies and curries LOL!

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Su March 26, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Dairy products like milk give me very bad acne. Eating too many oranges causes me to get more mucus.

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I think the dairy-acne connection is quite well established although it does still differ in severity from person to person. I’m sort of glad to be lactose intolerant sometimes :D

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casey23 March 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I am sure you already know but I think you should try LaRochePosay or Bioderma if they are in anyway available to you, both of their acne series are awesome! I’m sure you’ll benefit them.

Now onto the subject… For about 8 weeks now I’m on a diet. I had food intolerance test and it turns out I’m intolerant to yeast (high level), rice and cocoa (low level). So I’m doing a diet without eating all these food (so sad!!). But for about 4 weeks now I am having all these cystic acnes around my chin area and now I read this and I’m like woooww is it because right now meat consists a big part of my diet?! Ohhh what the hell, first I need to lose all the excess weight and then I can take care of my skin :)

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm

You know what Casey? I ordered La Roche Posay online because we don’t get it here, and I still haven’t received it! On the bright side, acne is almost gone so I’m not sure what I’ll do with the products when they get here LOL! :D I have read about yeast intolerance too and also gluten. I have cut down on carbs and breads because of that and I do feel better. I still eat them, just not too much. Meat forms a large portion of my diet too but chicken and pork are fine for me so I stick to those. Good luck with your testing!

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Firn March 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm

I eat Greek yoghurt every morning and I love ice cream, cakes, pastries and chocolate but I don’t tend to break out a lot. I tend to break out due to stress and not so much due to consumption of particular foodstuffs.

But I do notice my skin improving when I’m back at my parents’ house due to the high intake of fruits/veggies/fish there. :)

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Grr stress is another huge breakout factor! Worst of all, it could strike at any time :P I’m trying to maintain a high fruit/veggie diet too but man, its hard! LOL

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Eli March 26, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Red meat doesn’t give me breakouts but it triggers my insomnia. Which is really sad because I love lamb chops and a good medium-rare steak. I haven’t had red meat for about 5 years now.

Fast food and too much dairy does give me pimples though so I alternate between dairy and soy-based products.

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm

What sucks, Eli is that I hate soy based products. I absolutely dislike the taste of soy anything which is why I’m very sure I can never be vegetarian LOL! I didn’t know about the red meat – insomnia thing but it could well be the case if you subscribe to the Chinese theory of “heaty food” which beef/red meat come under.

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Makeup Morsels March 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Read a post on A Model Recommends recently, where she described the same thing happening to her w/ milk (but she’s not lactose-intolerant, and said she can still eat cheese and things without breaking out). Sounds like there’s a correlation to me! Today someone asked me why their skin was acting up so I asked them what they’d been putting their body lately and finally I hear ‘oh yeah I’ve been smoking a lot of weed’ um well…ok there you go -___-

Sad you can’t eat beef anymore, but at least you’ve pinpointed the cause!

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm

LOL!! Weed! :D I’m surprised they even noticed the breakouts :P I can still eat beef, just not in the large “all you can eat” quantities I used to be able to. I just had some Vietnamese pho the other day but shared it with a friend and I was fine (whew! I love beef pho!)

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Siti March 26, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Paris,
I have never noticed it but recently, whenever I am having sugary sweet stuff like ice cream and donuts, big pimples will come out from my mature skin. I guess something changed inside my body because I never have an issue with food before! My skin has been breakout free since my teenage time but now?!! It is so ugly. I am trying my best to avoid sugar in my diet and eating more ulam and fruits.

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I’m the same, Siti. I used to not react to food but now I’ve developed lactose intolerance in my dotage, and now, beef. Weird huh how our bodies change? On the bright side, cutting back sweet food helps with keeping fit too ;)

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lisa March 26, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Too much sugar and dairy give me cystic acne i discovered.

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Seline March 26, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Me, too!! It’s extremely distressing because they’re two things I absolutely love. I believe that my reaction towards it is getting worse as I grow older. I just had half a cup of milk the other day and I am totally broken out.

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm

On the bright side, Lisa, cutting back on those foods will help loads with staying trim! ;)

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Becca March 26, 2013 at 7:51 pm

The cause of this may be synthetic growth hormones that the cows are sometimes given. Hormones are one of the main causes of acne (like when you hit puberty and all of the sudden you’re covered in pimples!) so when these cows are injected with high amounts, it ends up in our meat and diary products and we are consuming them. I noticed that for a while, I was eating a LOT more cheese than I regularly do (and I already eat cheese quite often!) and I started breaking out really badly all over my chin area–consistent with the location of hormonal breakouts. Of course, some people believe these growth hormones are harmless so this is just my opinion. Maybe try eating organic or look for labels that say “hormone-free” on your meat and dairy??

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm

I did think about that Becca. We just don’t know what goes into animal feed these days so it could well be my body reacting to something that has been fed to the cow as opposed to beef in general. If I cook, I am more careful with the meat I buy but when you eat out, its hard you know to ensure just where your meats come from :(

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May March 26, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Having too much dairy products like cheese and milk would increase breakouts on me but love pizza so much :(

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Dairy seems to be a common factor in causing acne in many people. Can’t be a coincidence there! I now eat cheeseless pizza. I know people think it weird but I get all the fun of eating pizza without the bloatedness I get with eating cheese :D

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