8 Natural Foods to Combat Acne
Acne is a skin condition most commonly faced by dermatologists. Acne skin conditions include clogged pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, as well as deeper lumps (even cysts).
Acne is often found on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms. These areas have a high concentration of sebaceous glands.
But what causes acne, and why are some people more prone than others? The skin condition comes from acne-causing bacteria Propionibacterium acnes, hormonal imbalances, poor diet, stress, and even medications.
Dermatologists treat mild acne is with topical benzoyl peroxide, moderate acne with oral antibiotics, and severe acne with isotretinoin (Accutane) prescriptions. These treatments can work well but also do not always address the root cause.
However, a natural whole foods diet is an effective alternative acne treatment that does not have harmful side effects.
Before we share our list of foods that combat this unfortunate skin condition, do you know which foods are the biggest culprits? Recent studies reveal that diets with a high-glycemic-load worsen acne. This includes diets high refined carbohydrates and dairy products. Refined carbohydrates in junk foods such as soda, candy bars, donuts, fresh fries, and potato chips also lead to insulin resistance and increase androgenic hormones, proliferating sebum production leading to acne.
The American Journal of Clinical Dermatology published three studies that showed how milk and dairy are major contributors. One study revealed that teens that drank more than two glasses of milk per day had a 44 percent higher chance of having severe acne. This is due to the hormonal imbalance resulting from the combination of hormones naturally occurring in cow’s milk and the hormones fed to cows to boost milk production.
To combat acne with natural treatments, eat a diet rich in whole, organic foods. These eight acne-fighting foods can help you achieve clear skin.
Probiotic foods are fermented foods such as kombucha, sauerkraut, pickled foods, and miso. These foods heal your gut, which is the first step in improving your skin. Scientific studies show that people with a healthy gut microbiome have a better fatty acid profile in their skin. This results in skin that is moisturized and protected from damage.
Probiotics are living strains of bacteria that increase the number of good bacteria in your digestive system. On the other hand, prebiotics are specialized plant fibers that feed the good bacteria in your gut and promote their growth. Prebiotic foods include garlic, leeks, and asparagus, which feed and fertilize the healthy flora in your gut.
3. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc. In clinical studies, zinc has been shown to significantly reduce acne. You can also consider supplementing with zinc, with 15 to 30 mg per day.
Other foods rich in zinc include beans, cashews, beef, turkey, quinoa, and lentils.
4. Wild-caught fish
Fish such as salmon, tuna, cod, and sardines are high in omega-3. This essential fatty acid reduces inflammation – a primary cause of acne. Omega-3 also has the benefit of retaining your skin’s natural oils, protecting it against dryness.
Always opt for wild-caught fish from clean sources. Fish caught from their natural environment consume a more varied diet and therefore have a higher nutritional value. These wild-caught fish are also less likely to be polluted with antibiotics, medications, and pesticides which will harm your health.
Other foods high in omega-3 are eggs, spinach, kale, grass-fed beef, and nuts.
5. Citrus foods
Citrus foods such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruits nourish your skin with vitamin C. This vitamin improves your skin’s collagen and elastin levels, helping to increase its firmness. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant and protects your skin from damage from free radicals as well as inflammation leading to acne.
Women should consume at least 75 mg of Vitamin C daily, while men should consume at least 90 mg daily.
6. Green tea
Since ancient times, Japanese women have consumed green tea to improve their skin. Green tea is rich in antioxidants, soothing inflammation and reducing DNA damage. Green tea is often added to cosmetics, but you can ingest it directly and benefit from its immediate soothing effects.
7. Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are the best source of selenium, which is a powerful antioxidant, protecting your skin from free radical damage. Studies have revealed that selenium clears the skin and reduces breakouts.
8. Healthy oils
Good oils like cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil and avocado oil have a rich concentration of nutrients that enhance the skin, including essential fatty acids and vitamin E. Consuming these high-quality oils prevent dryness and skin damage from free radicals.
These acne-fighting foods will help improve your skin’s condition. Remember that the best anti-acne remedy is a balanced, organic diet filled with organic fruits and vegetables and healthy proteins.
Author: Jesamine Dyus
Images sourced from Unsplashed