Acne: Healthy Foods for Your Skin
Acne is a condition that causes the skin surface to develop several bumps. Often, these bumps occur on the face, shoulders, back, and neck. It’s believed that acne is triggered by changes in the body’s hormonal structure, and that’s why it is highly prevalent in children and teens going through puberty.
Mild acne will gradually go away without any treatment or medication, but sometimes, more pimples can develop after the disappearance of others. Severe cases of acne are hardly harmful, but can result in emotional distress and detrimental scarring of the skin. Depending on the severity of your condition, you might choose no treatment, prescription medications, or over-the-counter drugs.
What Causes Acne?
The skin surface is covered with small pores that connect to the sebaceous glands underneath the skin. The oil glands are responsible for producing sebum, which is an oily substance that is sent to the surface of the skin through hair follicles.
Acne develops when the skin’s pores are blocked with bacteria, dead skin cells, and excess oil. During puberty, certain hormones trigger the sebaceous glands to release excess oil, which elevates acne risks.
Three Types of Skin Acne
- Blackheads- these are pores that get completely clogged but stay open. They look like dark spots on the surface of the skin.
- Whiteheads- once these pores get clogged, they close but stick out of your skin. Whiteheads appear as tough or hard, whitish bumps.
- Pimples- refer to those pores whose walls open, making it possible for oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria to penetrate the skin. They appear as reddish bumps that sometimes get filled with pus.
Healthy Foods for Your Skin
Consuming low-glycemic foods consisting of complex carbohydrates might reduce the occurrence of acne. Examples of foods that are highly enriched with complex carbohydrates include whole grains, unprocessed vegetables or fruits, and legumes.
Foods containing vitamins A and E, antioxidants, and zinc are also beneficial to your skin since they reduce inflammation or swelling.
Antioxidants and Omega-3s
Omega-3s are fatty components found in fish and eggs while antioxidants are chemicals that destroy harmful toxins present in the body. Together, antioxidants and omega-3s are believed to suppress inflammation or swelling triggered by acne.
Several low-glycemic diets have proven to improve the symptoms associated with acne. Korean studies found out that a low-glycemic load taken for 10 weeks can significantly alleviate acne. In other studies, researchers established that a low-glycemic and high-protein diet observed for 12 weeks relieved acne in men, which also contributed to their significant weight loss.
Vitamin A and E
Medical experts suggest that acne patients may lessen the severity of their condition by increasing their intake of vitamin A and E. Consult your doctor before consuming vitamin A supplements since it’s highly toxic and can permanently damage your body organs.
Other anti-acne diets include:
• Yellow or orange vegetables and fruits such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and apricots
• Spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables
• Salmon, mackerel, and other types of fatty fish
• Tomatoes, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, and brown rice
• Whole-wheat bread, quinoa, and turkey
• Beans, lentil, nuts, and peas
Certain foods can trigger acne in some people. Under your doctor’s observation, it can be useful to experiment with your daily diet to identify what works better for you. When planning to eat, always avoid food allergies or sensitivities that could worsen your acne.
The Bottom Line
Research suggests that some foods are helpful in terminating acne and improving your skin health, but there’s no specific "food cure". Before adjusting your diet, it is advisable to consult your doctor to make sure that any alterations you make won’t hurt your health.
The surest way to deal with acne is to take a healthy balanced diet enriched with fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and nutritious protein sources.