While there isn’t sufficient evidence to prove that diet and nutrition affect acne breakouts, several studies suggest that in fact intake of specific foods actually promotes these breakouts.
Additionally, it’s not new to hear people complaining about acne breakouts after consuming high glycemic index foods such as sugar, flour, rice, bread, soda or highly processed breakfast cereals among others.
Acne is a common skin condition that is usually characterized by inflamed bumps, pustules, papules, cysts, and nodules. The condition usually results from pores becoming plugged with excess sebum and dead skin cells.
It is quite common in adolescents due to the heightened hormonal changes, although it can affect anyone.
Although, the link between this skin condition and diet is considered controversial, at the same time it also suggests that a diet rich in a low glycemic load helps to reduce the outbreaks.
Diet and the skin
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Ever heard the phrase, you are what you eat? Well, when it comes to our skin this phrase plays a big role.
Typically, there are some foods that increase blood sugar levels quicker than others. This causes your body system to react by releasing the insulin hormone. Overproduction of this hormone causes a subsequent increase in the production of sebum which increases the risk of developing acne.
Foods with a high glycemic index (typically made of simple sugars) such as sugar, white rice, and bread are prone to accelerate the production of insulin.
While chocolate is considered to worsen acne, this is not true for everyone notes a study by the journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology.
According to the Journal of Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, the “standard American diet” which is composed of high glycemic carbohydrate, saturated and trans fats as well as dairy products stimulates the production of hormones which promote overproduction of sebum.
The best diet for acne
Several studies carried out indicate that a healthy diet and nutrition improves the likelihood of acne breakouts. Typically, a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables has shown significant decrease breakouts, other foods include;
Vitamin A, C, and E
Research indicates that people with skin that is prone to acne are because of decreased levels of vitamin A, C, and E.
Sources rich in vitamin A include salmon, carrots, spinach, fish oil, green leafy vegetable such as broccoli while, sunflower seeds, broccoli avocados, and nuts are good sources for vitamin E. however, nuts may cause breakouts in some people.
Sources of vitamin C include fruits such as citrus (lemons and oranges), papaya, tomatoes and grapefruit.
Generally, vitamin A, C, and E work as natural antioxidants thus combating the negative impacts of acne-which is the inflammatory phase of acne as well as sooth the skin.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids prevent molecules responsible for inflammation that cause skin problems. Additionally, they promote a normal cell turnover for a healthy skin thus preventing acne breakouts.
Sources of omega 3 fatty acids include; salmons, sardines, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds and flaxseed oil.
Zinc is considered to create an environment that does not facilitate the growth of P.acnes. Therefore, soothes acne prone skin.
Foods rich in zinc include; almonds, turkey, wheat germ, Brazil nuts, green leafy vegetables, beef, cashews, pumpkin seeds, seafood (crabs and oysters) and lentils.
Low glycemic diet
According to the Journal of the Academy of Dermatology, researchers indicate an improved acne breakout for people who consumed low-glycemic (oatmeal, sweet potatoes, most fruits, carrots…) and a high protein diet in a period of 3 months.
Diet and acne tips
- Keep on the lookout for foods that trigger or aggravate breakouts.
- Consider keeping a food diary, where you record what you eat and breakouts if any.
- Be patient, because determining the specific foods that contribute to acne and diet changes can take up to 3 months or more.
- Do not stop your regular acne treatment routine.