How to get rid of Acne
Acne can be distressing, undermine our self-confidence and is often a reason why girls start taking the contraceptive pill earlier than they might otherwise.
There are many causes of acne, but the most common reason is changes in hormonal levels, such as when you are about to get your period or throughout puberty.
So, how might your diet help with preventing acne and improving your skin health?
Cut back on sugar
High sugar and high glycemic load (GL) foods may contribute to acne. Too much sugar or fast-releasing carbohydrates in cereals, white rice, white bread, sweets, pastries and sugared drinks, as well as too much fruit juice, leads to surges in your blood sugar level. This, in turn, triggers the release of the hormone insulin which promotes fat storage sebum production.
If you suffer from acne, you should focus on including wholesome, unprocessed foods in your diet, as they contain more of the vital vitamins and minerals that you need for energy production, detoxification and good skin. This means swapping to brown and wholegrain versions of bread, pasta and rice and eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. In addition, eating protein with carbohydrates lowers the GL of meals. For example, eating fish with brown rice, or fruit with some nuts, will help keep your blood sugar level more stable. This not only helps your skin in the short-term but it also helps with weight, as it reduces the likelihood of fat storage.
Increase your intake of zinc
The mineral zinc is very important for maintaining healthy skin (and the skin contains about 20% of the body’s zinc), especially for acne sufferers. In some cases acne is a symptom of zinc deficiency. This is because zinc acts to control the production of oil in the skin and can help to control some acne-causing hormones.
The need for zinc is especially high during the teenage years, because it is involved in growth and sexual maturation, but many people eat less Zinc than they need. Foods rich in Zinc include fish, eggs, meat, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils.
Try eliminating dairy from your diet for a while
Some studies have shown a link between dairy intake and acne. Try avoiding dairy products for two weeks, to see if milk and its products are a contributory factor for you. Only total avoidance can produce a result if it is contributing to your acne.
Essential fatty acids
If your skin is dry or inflamed, upping your intake of essential fatty acids (EFAs) may help. EFAs contribute to the moisture content of our skin and also help to repair it. The body can't produce its own EFAs, so you need to obtain them through your diet. Foods rich in essential fatty acids include: oily fish (e.g. salmon), nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.
If you are interested in finding out how to improve your skin health, asking a trained nutritionist to carry out a dietary evaluation is a sensible step, as they will be able to work out from your diet history how to improve what you are eating or if you may be low in certain minerals or vitamins, such as zinc. Furthermore, if you decide to eliminate dairy from your diet, it is worth seeking expert advice in order to ensure that you do not indadvertedly eat any dairy containing foods.