AUG 22, 2022
Acne (Acne vulgaris) is the most common dermatologic condition affecting nearly 10% of the worldwide population1. Many intrinsic factors, such as inflammation and hormones, can mediate acne development, but other extrinsic factors, such as diet, play a significant role that can be altered without medical intervention. This blog will discuss the relationship between food and acne and highlight how certain foods can trigger breakouts in those suffering from acne or with acne-prone skin. Continue reading to find out how your diet may trigger acne breakouts and which foods promote healthy, clear skin.
Do certain foods have an impact on skin health?
How does our skin react to what we eat?
What foods are known to contribute to acne?
Why do these foods cause acne?
What foods are known to be good for healing acne?
- Complex Carbs: While refined carbohydrates can be poor for health, carbohydrates are still necessary for proper bodily function. Complex carbohydrates serve as some of the best foods for skin repair and can be found in whole grains (whole wheat bread, quinoa, brown rice), fruits and vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, apricots), and legumes (dals, beans, peas).
- Vitamins A: The Mayo Clinic suggests vitamin A supplements and rich foods (such as vegetables) to help reduce fine wrinkles and roughness and to treat acne12.
- Vitamin E: People with acne often have low levels of antioxidants like vitamin E, which can be maintained with almonds, peanuts, and Brazil nuts13.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D also has incredible anti-inflammatory properties and was found to be present in low levels in patients with acne14. To get the proper amount of Vitamin D, experts suggest consuming fish and/or fish oil supplements, which are rich in Vitamin D, instead of increasing sun exposure, which can dry skin and disrupt oil production.
- Turmeric: Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin known to reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugar levels, and inhibit acne-causing bacteria15.
- Zinc: Acne patients often have decreased levels of zinc in the blood. Zinc has been shown to effectively treat acne by reducing inflammation in pimples16. Foods rich in zinc include oysters and other shellfish, chickpeas, beans, and seeds like pumpkin and sunflower.
- Oils rich in Omega-3 and low in Omega-6: Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with a decrease in inflammatory factors, contrary to inflammatory omega-6 acids17. “Healthy” oils contain larger amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, including flaxseed oil. Avocado, olive, and sesame oils are the lowest in omega-6 fatty acids. Epidemiological studies have also shown that increasing the intake of omega-3 fatty acids through fish and seafood reduces rates of inflammation 18.
How long does it take to see improvements in the skin after changes in diet are made?
Everyone’s body has different rates of regeneration and repair based on nutrient absorption, so your results may vary. This time may be greater for those suffering from hormonal acne, as it takes time for the endocrine system to equilibrate to a controlled diet.
- Increased sebum and hormone production directly correlate to acne and inflammation in the skin.
- Foods with a high glycemic load or other inflammatory properties contribute to increased sebum and hormone production.
- Avoiding these foods and focusing on healing foods can help reduce acne severity in just a few weeks.
- Routinely cleanse your skin with a daily face cleanser, followed by a peptide moisturizer to lock in hydration.
- Avoid acne-causing foods to promote skin health and acne-free skin.