Problem skin is a complicated condition that requires a multi-faceted approach to get positive results. It all comes down to your bodies chemistry which is influenced by factors such as hormone levels, inherited characteristics, skin care choices and lifestyle. Among lifestyle choices, what we choose to eat is a primary factor that can either aggravate your acne condition or reduce it by creating a healthier, more resilient skin. You’ve heard about foods (like dairy and sugar) that can increases the probability of developing zits, but did you know there is an arsenal of acne fighting foods you can find right in your kitchen? Here are my five top choices.
1. Water. Water is a great hydrator so make sure to get your eight glasses each day. This will keep skin cells soft and pliable (less likely to get clogged). Water also helps flush out harmful toxins from the body that can contribute to problem skin. It stimulates metabolism that cleanses skin from within and helps rebuild it to a healthier state. Toxins can damage cells and increase the amount of inflammation. Inflammation being one of the key causes of acne, so the more you have it, the worse your acne will be.
My recommendation is to start every day with a cup of hot water and lemon juice (fresh is best). Vitamin C in lemon water increases the production of glutathione, which is the main antioxidant your liver relies on during detoxification. As a result, it enhances the removal of toxins from your body, helps lower inflammation and clears your skin.
2. Green Tea. This is a superfood that should be used as part of your water consumption goals for the day. What you as an acne sufferer should take note of is the fact that green tea fights all three underlying causes of acne:
- Inflammation: which causes red, sore blemishes and reactive skin.
- Insulin resistance: which creates higher sugar levels that bacteria loves to feed on.
- Hormone changes: green tea helps limit testosterone converting to DHT, a harmful hormone that is a major acne contributor.
My recommendation is to drink several cups of green tea during the day. It’s best to brew it yourself because the benefits of bottled green tea are often lost due to the huge amounts of sugar added to it.
3. Whole grains. I say this with caution because there are so many overly processed and refined grains out there that actually add to problem skin by contributing to inflammation. But, unless you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance there are some extremely beneficial effects for acne sufferers if you carefully choose the whole grains you include in your diet. True whole grains contain the entire grain seed, including the bran, germ and the endosperm. These are chock full of fiber (to detoxify), vitamins (including B Vitamins to reduce stress related flair-ups), minerals & antioxidants. And contrary to processed grains, true whole grains have a lower glycemic index which helps stabilize sugar and reduce inflammation.
My recommendation is to learn to stay away from white flour and whole wheat breads that are not 100% whole “grain”. Learn to carefully read labels. Don’t be fooled by wheat bread that is really white bread with a little whole wheat thrown back in. If the bread you choose is light and fluffy you can bet there is very little whole grain in it. Sprouted wheat is the healthiest choice because the wheat has actually become a vegetable. It has more protein and is easier to digest. My favorite healthy bread is Ezekiel Sesame Bread which contains no flour just the goodness of sprouted wheat.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables. These veggies, which include broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and kale, are also loaded with antioxidants. But they provide one other ingredient — sulfur — that which the body needs to make its own high-powered antioxidants.
My recommendation is to eat these veggies raw. Add them to a salad at least one a day. You can stop blemishes in their tracks by using a topical product which contains sulfur. Check out Elizabeth Renee Esthetics’ Detox Clearing Masque or Blemish Buster (a spot treatment).
5. Purple and deep red foods: contain anthocyanins which are high in antioxidants and help maintain blood flow to the skin, promoting optimum cell turnover (essential for keeping pores clear) and they have wonderfully calming anti-inflammatory responses. Acai, pomegranates, purple carrots, black grapes and beets are all great choices.
My recommendation is, in addition to adding these foods to your diet, back up their skin calming properties with reinforcing skin care products. Remember that acne products are often overly harsh. If you don’t calm the inflammation first you’re just aggravating the acne. Consider trying Cool, Calm & Collected, a serum based on Japanese Green Tea which is a great hydrator for super sensitive skin. You can also benefit from an acne masque that makes calming its first priority, as well as killing acne bacteria and clearing pores. An excellent example is Elizabeth Renee Esthetics’ Clear Comfort Masque with super soothing sea whip extracts.
Stay focused on lifestyle changes that will improve your skin. Calm and feed your skin with these effective food choices. Back them up with amazing acne products and get regular facials to calm, clear and heal your skin.