Anti-Acne Diet Guide: Choose Best Foods for Pimple-Free Skin

Anti Acne Diet

Having great-looking skin free from blemishes, pimples, and Acne is the desire of every individual. Every body activity is connected with what you eat daily, and your skin health is no exception. Acne is a complex skin issue caused by various lifestyle and health factors, and your everyday diet is one among them. So, incorporating an anti-acne diet by avoiding certain foods while including healthy food choices is essential to manage the symptoms of Acne. While eating nutritious foods will not make your Acne disappear overnight, it will be beneficial in improving your skin health in the long run. Read on to learn the influence of diet on Acne, their underlying relationship, and the list of foods to avoid and include to get a problem-free skin.

Impact of Diet On Skin Health

Skin health is directly related to the nutrition you get through food, as each biological process will impact your skin and body through an illness or infection[1]. Both nutritional profile and consumption pattern can damage and heal your skin. Study indicates that making modifications in the diet will help in curing a lot of skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, Acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and more[2]. Specific foods or ingredients in your foods perform as a trigger of illness while others will help in enhancing skin health[3]. So, avoiding certain foods from your diet will be beneficial to get relief from acne and pimple breakouts. It is essential to follow a diet that includes wholesome foods rather than processed foods to treat your skin disorders while preventing comorbidities associated with them.

Causes of Acne

Causes of Acne
Various factors contribute to acne breakouts, which include:

1. Changes in Hormones

During puberty, mensuration, or pregnancy, women often experience acne flare-ups, as the levels of progesterone will be high, which will stimulate sebum production[4]. No matter what age group you are, fluctuating hormones can cause acne breakouts. The interaction of three hormones – cortisol or stress hormone, estrogen, and progesterone usually triggers acne flare-ups among people of all ages.

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    2. A lot of stress

    As already discussed, experiencing stress due to personal or work-related issues can lead to an increase in the production of stress hormones called cortisol[5]. Stress can lead to an array of changes in your body, and in response your body spikes the cortisol hormone levels to prepare for the stressful experience[6]. The side effect of this hormonal change is an increase in sebum production, leading to acne breakouts[7]. It can also hinder your skin’s wound-healing ability, lower the repair rate, and cause premature aging signs.

    3. Genetics

    Genetics have a pivotal role in causing the development of Acne as soon as you reach puberty. The specific genes that you may have inherited from your parents would affect your immune system and make your skin prone to acne breakouts[8]. Genes can also influence how your body reacts to hormone changes, stress, and sebum production.

    4. Poor Hygiene

    After a gym session, sitting for long hours without changing your dirty and damp workout clothes or skipping a shower after sweating a lot can make your skin prone to bacterial infection[9]. Sweat is an act of detoxification, but when the toxins reach your skin’s surface and are not cleansed immediately, your skin reabsorbs it to cause Acne. To prevent this situation, wear breathable workout clothes, wipe your face using a wet towel after workouts, and shower after your gym session. For some, consuming milk products

    5. Poor Nutrition and Diet

    If you are into eating many instant foods with ready-to-eat formulas, then your body will lack certain nutrients essential for your skin health. Studies have revealed that specific foods can contribute to the development of Acne due to their adverse effect on your hormones or triggering skin inflammation[10]. Consuming packaged and processed foods with lots of sugar is considered the main trigger of Acne [11]. If your diet includes foods prepared with dairy, it can also cause severe Acne [12].

    The Relationship Between Diet and Acne

    The link between your diet and acne breakouts is complicated and has triggered much debate, leading to many studies. Several studies have indicated that the foods you consume have a role to play in provoking frequent acne breakouts[13]. Various foods can lead to different reactions, like inflammation or hormonal fluctuations. So, don’t be surprised if your favorite food that has carbohydrates[14], chocolate or dairy[15] is causing severe acne breakouts or its severity. Studies also show that foods rich in probiotics[16] and omega-3 fatty acids[17] are loaded with protective properties and can prevent or treat Acne [18].

    Foods to Avoid or Limit to Prevent Acne

    Foods Avoid Acne

    Substance/Food Type Foods to Avoid or Limit
    High-Glycemic Foods Potato fries, milkshakes, white bread, pastries, cornflakes
    Dairy Products Cow’s milk, low-fat milk, skimmed milk
    Fast Foods Fried chicken, hamburgers, pizzas, fries
    Chocolate Chocolate bars made with dairy ingredients and sugar (except dark chocolates with cacao nibs and no sugar)
    Alcohol & Caffeine Coffee, alcoholic beverages
    Energy Drinks Energy drinks and soft drinks with high sugar content

    What you eat matters in your pursuit of glowing and flawless skin. From chocolates to French fries, there is a long list of foods that you should avoid. They are:

    1. High-Glycemic Foods

    High-glycemic foods will instantly increase your blood sugar levels, making your body increase insulin hormone levels, which sends the signal to your body to hike blood sugar levels[19]. High blood sugar levels will lead to increased inflammation and cause Acne. The rise in the rate of insulin release and blood sugar levels causes excess sebum oil production, which leads to Acne. So, avoid foods that have a high glycemic index like potato fries, milkshakes, white bread, pastries, cornflakes, and more[20].

    2. Dairy Products

    Researchers have revealed that consuming products made with cow’s milk causes acne outbreaks [21]. Another study showed that low-fat milk and skimmed milk would also lead to Acne [22]. The proteins in milk, which are responsible for stimulating the growth hormone levels when ingested, release IGF-1 hormone, which causes acne breakouts[23]. People with lactose intolerance will also face acne breakouts from an allergic reaction when consuming dairy products. So, vegan options like almond or soy milk will be beneficial.

    3. Fast Foods

    Even though fast foods might be tasty, they are loaded with high glycemic ingredients, sugars, and fat – all of which are contributing factors to Acne [24]. Fast foods like fried chicken, hamburgers, pizzas, and fries have refined carbs and less nutritional value, which cause inflammation, excess oil production, and severe acne breakouts[25].

    4. Chocolate

    There is only limited evidence about how chocolates may be contributing to Acne [26]. But chocolate bars are made using dairy ingredients and sugar, which are known for causing Acne. However, you need not sacrifice dark chocolates that contain cacao nibs and no sugar. Dark chocolates contain vitamins like E, C, and zinc, which benefit your skin.

    5. Alcohol & Caffeine

    Caffeine caffeine can spike your cortisol levels, leading to acne breakouts by increasing sebum production. According to a study, coffee can lower your body’s insulin sensitivity, which will increase inflammation and cause acne breakouts[27]. Regular consumption of alcohol can spike up your hormones, causing a high amount of sebum production and painful Acne. It also hikes up estrogen hormone imbalances, which can increase the frequency of acne breakouts[28]. Another study revealed that people whose diet included low amounts of dairy products, alcohol, and coffee did not develop Acne [29].

    6. Energy Drinks

    Energy drinks are developed with high amounts of sugar to improve your blood glucose levels[30]. A study showed that sugar from your drinks can make you prone to developing Acne. So, avoid energy drinks and soft drinks with excess sugar.

    Foods to Eat to Prevent Acne and Get a Clear Skin

    Foods to Eat to Prevent Acne

    Substance Foods
    Omega-3 Fatty Acids Sardines, trout, salmon, cod, mackerel, kippers, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, rapeseed oil
    Antioxidants Bell peppers, strawberries, kiwi, citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, green tea
    Vitamin E Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, hazelnuts, avocados, almonds
    Selenium Brazil nuts, broccoli, tomatoes, wheat germ, eggs, shellfish, fish
    Zinc Shellfish, seeds, nuts, poultry, wholegrains, lean red meat, fish
    Probiotics Kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, yoghurt
    Phytoestrogens Flax seeds, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, tempeh, tofu

    1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Foods that contain polyunsaturated fat known as Omega-3 fatty acids are very beneficial for promoting skin health[31]. Eating foods rich in these fatty acids will help in preventing skin issues like Acne, psoriasis, and eczema, prevent skin inflammation, and build healthy skin[32]. Consuming oily varieties like sardines, trout, salmon, cod, mackerel, and kippers will cover your Omega-3 fatty acids requirement. If you don’t like seafood, substitute it with plant sources like walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and rapeseed oil.

    2. Antioxidants

    Foods loaded with antioxidants are a powerful choice to protect your skin from the damage caused by free radicals, which can cause Acne. It neutralizes toxic molecules and prevents inflammation and the effects of oxidative stress. Vitamin C foods are loaded with essential antioxidants to improve collagen production, speed up skin healing, and lower the appearance of acne scars. Vitamin C foods like bell peppers, strawberries, kiwi, and citrus fruits are excellent choices for problem-free skin. You can also include berries, leafy greens, and green tea every day.

    3. Vitamin E

    Including foods rich in Vitamin E will help shield your skin against cell damage caused by oxidative stress and photo-aging effects. Your everyday diet should have foods like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, hazelnuts, avocados, and almonds loaded with vitamin E to get acne-free skin.

    4. Selenium

    Selenium, a potent antioxidant, teams up with vitamins E and C to give you clear skin[33]. A study revealed that consuming selenium-rich foods every day will help protect your skin from age spots, cancer, and sun damage[34]. Increase your selenium levels by eating up to three Brazil nuts, or include broccoli, tomatoes, wheat germ, eggs, shellfish, and fish.

    5. Zinc

    Zinc is an essential mineral that helps maintain the suppleness of your skin by maintaining the functions of your oil glands to prevent acne breakouts[35]. It also aids in repairing skin damage and promotes the healing process[36]. Your diet should have zinc-rich foods like shellfish, seeds, nuts, poultry, wholegrains, lean red meat, and fish.

    6. Probiotics

    A healthy gut is essential for acne-free skin, as any imbalances in your gut flora can cause acne breakouts and inflammation. Probiotics, fondly called good bacteria, restore your gut microbiota balance and promote the digestive process. Including probiotic-rich fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt will help achieve radiant skin and a healthy gut.

    7. Phytoestrogens

    Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that possess a structure that mimics estrogen hormone to maintain the hormone levels in your body[37]. Including foods rich in this plant hormone will help lower skin damage and support its natural structure. You can include phytoestrogen foods like flax seeds, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, tempeh, and tofu in your diet.

    Hydration and its Role in Skin Health

    To get healthy, glowing, and acne-free skin, it is crucial to stay hydrated, making it an essential habit that everyone must follow. Rather than dabbing on expensive moisturizers, keeping your skin hydrated by drinking enough water is more accessible. Hydration is the key to healthy skin, as it affects how your skin looks and feels. A well-hydrated skin can prevent inflammation, Acne, pimple breakouts, and blockages by regulating sebum production and flushing out toxins. Drinking at least 3 liters of water daily is beneficial for your skin and improves your overall well-being.

    You can also drink water infused with hydrating fruits and vegetables like cucumber and citrus to optimize your skin’s health with nutrients. You can also introduce hydrating products as a part of your skincare routine. Water-soluble creams, serums, or lotions will help your skin absorb the ingredients better and breathe well. Choose products with water-binding ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid to renew cells and hydrate them to prevent signs of aging and Acne. When integrated inside and outside your body, hydration can keep your skin glowing all day until your lifetime.

    Lifestyle Factors that Complement a Healthy Diet

    • Monitor your body weight by tracking it each week to help you know whether you are gaining or losing weight after following a healthy diet.
    • Choose nutritious meals with high protein and fewer calories, even when dining with friends.
    • Avoid sugar-loaded drinks and opt for naturally infused water, tender coconut water, and normal water to keep you hydrated throughout the day.
    • If you live in a cold region, bathe in lukewarm water instead of hot water to optimize skin health and remove toxins.
    • Regular exercises or yoga are important to stay fit and physically active.
    • Avoid spending much time on your laptops or computers. If you have a desk job, take frequent breaks to walk and grab water to break the sitting patterns and reduce screen time.
    • Get enough sleep, as it can promote your immune levels. Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night and stick to the same time each day to have a restful sleep.
    • Speak with your loved ones and let out your emotions like fear, anxiety, or sadness when you are down, as stress can cause skin issues like Acne and pimples.

    Concluding Thoughts

    For those of you having a tough time with acne breakouts, remember that food is not your enemy. Achieving acne-free skin is not a big deal; you must focus on what foods to avoid and include in your diet. Follow a healthy lifestyle and stay hydrated to flush toxins and prevent skin issues. If you are facing severe acne breakouts despite following a healthy diet and lifestyle, fix an appointment with the skin expert of Kolors Healthcare to discuss the treatment options to get acne-free skin.

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