This is a rare question we usually get. When we get acne whether it is hormonal or not, we first think of topical treatment but we hardly think of curing it with diet. Very less people know that food may also cause acne breakout and among them, very less people are aware that a proper diet can prevent hormonal acne.
Researchers have proved the same in 2010 to some people. There was a report published in Skin Therapy Letter with results of a 27 study analysis with 21 observational studies and 6 clinical trials. They have found that cow milk can increase skin breakouts and the same was found with high GI. A similar result found by an earlier study conducted in 2007 by Australian researchers. That was conducted among young men of age groups between 15 and 25 with mid to moderate acne. When their diet was changed from typical American diet to healthy diet, a dramatic improvement was observed. This result is lot more than what you see with topical medication.
What Foods You Shouldn’t Eat?
- Cow Milk
We all know how healthy cow milk is. It is very rich in protein and is also a good source of many nutrients. It is complete food but unfortunately, it is linked to acne. Researchers have the link between the duo but are not yet sure of the reason behind it. The reason might be because milk spikes the BP as a result of which we get inflammation leading to breakouts. Milk helps in the production of insulin which in result increases the production of sebum causing acne. Moreover, milk that we buy usually comes from pregnant cows; this means this milk may contain other hormones which is usually not found in normal cow milk. This can also be another reason behind acne. Though the reason could be anything and it is not clear yet, researchers have proved that cow milk causes more breakouts.
You might have already thought of sugar as we already know that sugar is actually not so good for health but researchers have told that it has link with acne as well. This doesn’t mean that adding a spoon of sugar to your tea will give you that pimple but the amount of sugar you have at a time and in a day matters. Why having more sugar at a time is considered more than amount of sugar consumed in a day? The answer is simple; sugar is direct form of glucose which gets into the blood fast and raises blood glucose level at a time. If you eat lots of sugar at a time or if eat a large candy bar or a can of soda then your blood glucose level rises rapidly. That is why the amount of sugar you consume at a time is considered. If you eat more sugar then that could be the reason behind your acne; cut it down as much as possible.
- High GI Food
This is understandable now if you read the previous one. High GI food means the food items on consuming which the blood glucose level rises rapidly. That is why food with high Glycemic Index should be avoided as much as possible; you can however take those foods in less quantity. Such foods include white bread, processed cereals, white rice, pasta, potato chips, cookies, etc. Prefer whole grains over processed cereals. Get more vegetables and fruits which are rich in fiber.
- Junk Food
This is something almost everyone knows. Junk foods not only are bad for health but also for skin. Junk foods are those which lacks fiber. Even they fluctuate hormones and rise blood glucose levels rapidly causing breakouts.
- Fast Foods
Fast foods are greasy since they use so much of oil especially trans fats. You might have known the fact that trans fats can prove dangerous to health on prolonged usage. It is not only carcinogenic but is also not good for your skin. It triggers inflammation in your body and this can result in skin breakouts and acne. Avoid all those fast foods and choose healthy options instead.
A small study was conducted on few people whom blood samples were collected for four days before and after having chocolate. This blood was tested against acne causing bacteria and they came to conclusion that chocolate causes inflammation worsening the acne condition. This means that chocolate is also not good for acne; however as this was a small study the result is not yet finalized on how much chocolate is safe to eat. We all know that dark chocolate actually is healthy but we do not know if dark chocolate can be consumed. So, try experimenting on yourself by not eating it for a week and observe the changes.
- Iodized Salt
The reason behind this is not known but iodine and sodium seem to trigger skin breakouts causing acne. The amount of sodium that can be consumed in a day to avoid this problem is still unknown; so, it is recommended to take it as less as possible on daily basis.
What Foods You Should Eat?
- Fish & Flax Seeds
Now you know that inflammatory foods are not good. Most of the western foods contain omega-6 fatty acids which cause inflammation which is not good if you have acne. Eating more omega-3 fatty acids can actually reduce the inflammation and cure acne. So take foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as flax seeds, walnuts and fish.
- Green Tea
It is important to get rid of free radicals and body toxins and this can be best done by antioxidants. Green tea is full of antioxidants and so is well-known for providing healthy skin. You can drink more cups of green tea throughout the day to keep your skin healthy and refreshed.
Several studies have shown that zinc is associated to reducing inflammation and cure acne. Oysters are rich sources of this mineral and so should be added to your diet. However, never take it more than required since excess zinc may give side effects. Other zinc rich foods include roast beef, squash seeds, veal liver, roasted pumpkin, dried watermelon seeds, etc.
- Vegetables & Fruits
Vegetables and fruits which are rich in beta-carotene reduce the inflammation and cure acne. They reduce the skin oil or sebum production. Dark green leafy vegetables also help in eliminating skin impurities and keep skin healthy. Berries also provide good skin with the help phytonutrients present in them.
They can reduce the inflammation in the gut which results in reduced acne. Pre and probiotics reduce the oxidative stress and so can cure breakouts. You can get probiotics from yogurt, dark chocolate, miso soup, kimchi, kombucha tea, tempeh, microalgae, etc.
- Brazil Nuts
These nuts are rich sources of antioxidants which protect the skin by removing the body toxins. It is also rich in many other nutrients like selenium, vitamin E, etc.
- Vitamin C
All the citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are very rich sources of vitamin C. These fruits are also rich sources of antioxidants and so should be taken daily to get rid of body toxins and prevent skin breakout. Consider adding vitamin C rich foods to your diet.