Can You Cure Acne with Diet? Here’s What You Need to Know
Nutrition is a powerful tool for optimal health – but can it cure just about anything? With stubborn skin conditions, like acne, is changing up your diet really all it takes? Read on to learn how diet can affect acne and why – along with tips on managing acne breakouts, the holistic way.
What is acne?
According to Medical News Today, acne is a chronic skin condition that causes pimples and spots. It appears most commonly on the face, but also the back, chest, and shoulders. While acne isn’t dangerous, it carries a risk of leaving scars on the skin, and can negatively affect the quality of life and self-esteem of acne sufferers.
What causes acne?
Acne happens when your skin pores clog up with excess sebum (skin oil), bacteria, and dead skin cells. So what causes that to happen? There are a few known triggers for acne. For one, the condition tends to be linked with puberty, as well as hormonal changes in general. For women, that means acne breakouts can be influenced by the different phases of the menstrual cycle. Other causes for acne include: anxiety and stress, wearing makeup and using the wrong skincare products, certain medications, and diet.
How can diet cause acne?
The main way in which your diet can trigger acne breakouts is through the insulin-producing effect of high-glycemic carbs (aka sweets, pasta, and white bread). Why? Because these foods, while raising your blood sugar quickly, encourage the release of the hormone insulin into your blood. According to Dermato-Endocrinology Journal, elevated insulin levels may stimulate sebum production – and excess sebum oil is the top cause for acne.
The solution? Swap the high-glycemic foods for healthier, fiber rich, low-GI versions. Example: swap white potatoes for yams, white rice for wild rice, and white bread for multigrain.
Another way in which diet can worsen acne is through a high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. How? Because high levels of omega-6 fatty acids are associated with more inflammation in the body, which can worsen acne, an inflammatory condition. Omega-3, on the other hand, helps fight inflammation.
The solution? Skip the omega-6 rich oils like sunflower, corn, soybean, and peanut oils. Go for healthier, omega-3 rich oils like olive, palm, flax, and butter. And don’t forget the mighty flax and chia seeds!
Now, how can diet cure acne?
Recent research doesn’t present diet as a cure-all for all things acne. That being said, there are a few ways in which a healthier diet can prevent and also lessen acne symptoms.
A healthy diet rich in vitamins can help lessen acne severity. For example, vitamin A plays an essential role in skin health. This nutrient is found in the skin as well as the sebaceous glands. What’s more, both vitamin A and vitamin D support skin cell metabolism.
Lowering your glycemic load is another way to use diet to fight acne – whole grains, nuts and seeds, and legumes are always safe bets.
Inflammation-fighting foods are a top diet trend when it comes to banishing acne: antioxidants from fresh greens and berries, omega-3 fatty acids from fatty nuts and oily fish, and delish spices like turmeric and ginger root are at the top.
What to do when food isn’t enough
Diet alone might not be enough to really banish acne for good, or to help heal those stubborn acne scars. Here are other things you can do.
Relax! Stress is a risk factor for annoying breakouts.
Move your body! Increase blood circulation and boost skin health.
Drink more water to flush out toxins.
Stop using the wrong skincare! Comedogenic products that clog your pores, harsh cleansers that strip away face oil and push sebum production into overdrive, and chemical-laden fragrances that mess up your skin pH – chances are you’re making your acne worse by using these products.
What to use instead
Seaflora products are a top choice for those prone to acne. Why? Because our seaweed based skincare is naturally rich in healing vitamins and nutrients (including the all-important vitamins A & D as well as essential fatty acids!) Free of harmful chemicals, artificial fragrances, and petrolatum derivatives, Seaflora products support skin pH balance and cell regeneration. A number of species of seaweed we use also help to regulate the sebaceous glands, because those seaweeds display potent inti-inflammatory properties when applied topically.
“My skin has been described as glowing and flawless after using Seaflora. Before that I struggled with breakouts, oily skin, bumps, and even scarring. My favourite products are the Foaming Fucus Cleansing Concentrate and the Sea Spray Splash Toner.” – Mindy D