Acne Vs. Your Diet

hands on faceEvery time a client comes to see me to get a problem skin facial I find I can’t stress enough the importance of a proper diet in the treatment and improvement of their acne prone skin.  Good skincare products are key but by themselves you will not be able to clear up your skin.  Strong ingredients like benzoyl peroxide may work temporarily but I can’t tell you how many clients get discouraged when all of a sudden their acne is back.

Your skin is a reflection of everything that is going on in your life, from how much sleep you get to any emotional stress you’re experiencing, to the amount of exercise you get plus all your other lifestyle choices. The foods you choose are right up there on the top of the list.  Feed your skin well and it will thrive.  If you’re eating enough antioxidant vitamins it will help you fight off acne causing bacteria.  If you consume calming foods you can lessen the risk of skin inflammation.  If you choose the right type of fat you will effect the viscosity of the oil (sebum) you produce which means less blackheads and clogged pores. Change your diet and you will change your skin.  Then maximize your effort with great calming and pore clearing skin care products but remember what you put on your skin will provide only half the answer.  Many of my clients who have made significant dietary changes found that they were eventually able to get off their acne medications and finally feel comfortable facing the world wearing less makeup.

STEP ONE
AVOID REFINED CARBS: Refined carbohydrates are foods where carbohydrates turn quickly into sugar in the blood stream.  This includes processed foods like white bread and and sweets. It’s a good idea to start reading ingredient labels to become aware of exactly how much sugar is in the foods you choose.  The problem with sugar is that sugar causes insulin to spike.  Insulin is a hormone connected to androgens like testosterone that increase oil production and inflammation of your skin.  This is a huge and important change to finally calm those acne lesions.

STEP TWO
EAT YOUR VEGGIES:  Antioxidants found in highly pigmented veggies help you fight off acne by calming the skin’s inflammation potential.  Vitamin A: found in the pigment in spinach, carrots and sweet potatoes helps build stronger cell layers that are more organized and less likely to get clogged pores.  Vitamin C: found in oranges, tomatoes and broccoli helps boost your immune system and strengthen your cells walls (reducing the risk of scaring and cysts).  Most veggies are high in fiber which helps clean out your intestines and your skin.

STEP THREE
AVOID DAIRY PRODUCTS:  Most dairy products are filled with growth hormones which boost acne-causing testosterone levels.  High fat dairy products are even more of a problem because when eaten they can change the viscosity of your sebum to become thicker which means it flows more slowly out of the pores and is more likely to get clogged.  Some people can get away with fat free yogurt that is organic (not fed hormones), but if you have an acne problem you may no be able to tolerate even this.  Better stay clear until you find your skin clears.  Then you can slowly add yogurt to your diet to find out if you can tolerate it.

STEP FOUR
EAT MORE FISH:  Oily fish such a salmon contains omega 3 fatty acids which has a calming effect on the skin.  Inflammation is a huge factor as to why some people get those large, red, sore pimples.  Red meat on the other hand contains Omega-6 fatty acids which is actually highly inflammatory.  Add to that the fact that cows are often fed growth hormones so they will get fatter.  Eating beef increases your risk for skin that becomes easily inflamed.   Choose instead natural, grass fed meat products which are hormone free.

Give this diet a good three months to work.  Even though most client start to see a difference after just a few weeks, if you really want understand the full effect that diet plays for your personal chemistry you need to give it time.  Remember, with a little determination you can have good skin in a relatively short period of time.  Good skin from the inside out!

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