Eat Right for Your Skin Type: Acne-Prone Skin

Although Atopalm caters to dry, sensitive skin types, many of our customers also experience acne breakouts! Skin dryness is actually a cause of acne, and keeping skin properly hydrated and protected can keep breakouts at bay.

Another way to keep skin clear and healthy? Eating well. A poor diet is a well-known trigger for blemishes and even oily skin, so check out these skin care tips for how to eat right for your acne-prone skin type.

Do Eat:

Fish and flaxseed
Besides sounding like a hipster restaurant, fish and flaxseed go together because they’re both high in omega-3 fatty acids. The common western diet contains too many omega-6 fatty acids, which are known to increase inflammation, a common trigger for acne. Instead, up your omega-3s to balance things out.

Green tea
Studies have shown that EGCG, a potent antioxidant found in green tea, is capable of reducing the size of sebaceous glands, as well as diminishing sebum production. Since those with acne typically have enlarged sebaceous glands and higher sebum (oil) production, the belief is that diminishing those things will lead to clearer skin.

A second study used an 8-week randomized, split-face clinical trial to test whether EGCG could help clear acne. The results showed a significant improvement in acne appearance when using EGCG, making green tea a great dietary choice, or topical application, for acne-prone and oily skin types.

Oysters
If you haven’t tried oysters yet, now may be the time! Many studies have shown that zinc may help reduce the appearance of acne, and that food sources are the best way to get more zinc in your life. Guess which food has high levels of zinc? That’s right, oysters!

Good news, though; toasted wheat germ, roast beef, pumpkin seeds, and dried watermelon seeds also boast high zinc levels, so you may be able to get away without the oyster shots.

Source: flickr.com user Lilia Ann
Source: flickr.com user Lilia Ann

Fresh juice
We all know that fruits and veggies help keep us healthy, but sometimes it’s hard to eat the recommended amount. That’s why fresh juice is so great! Add some dark, leafy greens, berries, and citrus to your juicer or high-powered blender, and let the produce’s beta-carotenes help control oil production and inflammation.

Probiotics
It’s becoming more and more obvious that gut health is related to whole body health, and that inflammation is the villain in most poor health stories. Eating healthfully is extremely important when it comes to gut health, but another high priority is making sure to consume probiotics.

One study showed that intestinal microflora may have a direct affect on whole body inflammation, including acne inflammation. Similarly, another study showed that those with acne were more likely to have toxins within their gut. The belief now is that gut health is indeed directly related to skin health, and that prebiotics and probiotics are essential to both.

You can boost your probiotics consumption by eating high-quality yogurt (no sugar added is preferable), keifir, dark chocolate, microalgae, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, and kombucha tea.

Now that we’ve taken a look at things you can eat to help your skin, check out this list of foods to avoid if you have acne-prone skin.

Don’t Eat:

Cow’s milk
Many studies have shown a link between cow’s milk consumption and increased acne, but scientists haven’t pinpointed the exact reason why. One theory is that cow’s milk spikes blood sugar and insulin levels, which increase inflammation and skin oil, both risk factors for acne breakouts.

Another theory is that, because commercial milk often comes from pregnant cows, it contains hormones that can trigger unhealthy sebum levels and skin cell overgrowth, both things that lead to clogged pores.

Lastly, milk allergy can actually present itself in the form of skin conditions such as acne and even eczema. While cow’s milk may not be the cause of your acne, it’s worth eliminating it for a time (4-6 weeks) to see if your skin improves.

Sugar
This one is kind of a no-brainer since sugar is linked to many health issues. One thing that sets sugar apart is that a sugar-related breakout often occurs within a day or even hours of spiking your blood sugar with a high amount of sugar at once. This means that you’ll probably be fine eating a small amount of sugar any given day, but that soda and candy bar combo is a no-go. (It should be anyway, but I digress.)

High-glycemic foods
High glycemic foods are foods which break down quickly after being eaten. They raise blood sugar levels similarly to sugar, and also trigger hormone fluctuations and inflammation. These foods include white and refined carbs, like white bread, boxed cereals, pretzels, chips, etc. Instead, choose complex, low-glycemic carbs like product and whole grains.

Artificial food
Artificial colors and flavors cause similar issues to the ones linked with high-glycemic foods. They increase your risk of inflammation and hormonal imbalance, both of which are directly tied to breakouts and other skin issues.

Fast food
Fast food is an interesting one, because it all comes down to inflammation. Greasy fast food has already been shown to increase any inflammation-related conditions (including asthma!) so it’s a given that it would increase your risk of acne breakouts. If you must hit a drive-through, try a salad instead of the fries.

What about chocolate?
Does eating chocolate cause acne, or is that an old wives tale? Well, the jury’s actually sill out on that one. First it was said to certainly increase your risk of a breakout, then it was thought that chocolate didn’t have an impact – negative or positive – at all. THEN it was said to actually help acne! And now? One recent study showed it may slightly increase your risk, but the study was small and more evidence is needed.

Our advice? Eat chocolate like you would any other indulgence — moderately, and as part of an otherwise healthy and balanced diet.

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