Diet is tricky, and when it comes to our skin there's a lot of confusion surrounding what we should and shouldn't be eating for acne-free skin. It's generally accepted that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains, which is rich in fiber and antioxidants, and diverse in the selection, is best for our health. Your parents told you to eat your veggies for a reason.
Making sure that you’re using the right quality of products on your skin is just the same as fueling your body with healthy foods. Keeping a healthy diet is a crucial part of having healthy and acne-free skin and being worry-free of breakouts as well as excess oil production.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences defines a “functional food” as one that encompasses potentially healthful products, including any modified food or food ingredient that may provide a health benefit beyond that of the traditional nutrients it contains.
Achieving clear skin is not just all about the products you’re using on your face -- no, it just doesn’t rely solely on makeup, skincare products and the like. Your diet plays a vital role in your skin’s health and reduce acne. Our stress levels, hormones, diet, skincare and genetics are clearly manifested. Combating acne starts with eating healthy and removing those unwanted junk foods from our plates.
Diets high in dairy, refined oils and high glycemic foods should be avoided as they can all can worsen acne.
We all know that acne is an inflammatory skin disease and filling our plate anti-inflammatory foods rich in antioxidants helps heal acne and keep them at bay.
BEST ACNE-FIGHTING FOODS - VEGAN-FRIENDLY
1. Vitamin A
Orange-colored vegetables include pumpkin, carrots and sweet potato and are rich in antioxidants like beta-carotene which converts to Vitamin A. They also enhance skin pigmentation and reduce inflammation.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your body, as well as your skin and they, help balance the good and bad bacteria. This acne-healing food helps with skin redness and reduces the life of cystic acne. Probiotics also help balance out the natural skin oils.
Foods rich in probiotics include kefir, kombucha, kimchi, and yogurt which are extremely beneficial when treating and preventing acne by working internally through the gut.
Balancing good and bad bacteria is important as too much bad bacteria taking over can lead to skin issues, poor digestion and lethargy. Probiotics help in re-populating good bacteria in our digestive tract and create a healthy balance between good and bad bacteria, resulting in healthy skin.
Acne can result from having lower levels of Zinc. Cashew nuts and almonds are rich in Zinc which has anti-inflammatory properties helping in relieving redness and irritation associated with a severe acne condition. This top 3 acne healing food can help fade acne scars before they can even penetrate deeply into your skin layers.
Foods rich in antioxidants are dark greens and berries. Just imagine a blueberry mask offered in numerous salons. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants help in boosting skin complexion and improving skin radiance. This helps protect your skin barrier and improve skin health, as well as combat your skin congestion and keep your skin oils at bay.
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C works great for making sure our immune system is operating at its best. Vitamin C also functions as a building block for our skin to create collagen. With many advantages, the body needs 75 mg vitamin C/ day. Here's a list of easy to find vegetables that provide vitamin c.
Fruits and Vegetables high in Vitamin C:
Tomatoes provide 24.7mg vitamin C, equivalent to 33% of daily needs. Red tomatoes contain lycopene antioxidants too.
Broccoli provides 81.2mg vitamin C, equivalent to 108% daily requirement.
Avocado provides 14.6mg of vitamin C and a lot of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats that always help cholesterol at a healthy level, and have a good effect on the brain.
Cabbage provides 12.7mg vitamin C that helps brighten the eyes, anti-aging. It also contains protein, fiber and calcium.
Watermelon contains 12.3mg summer vitamin C, equivalent to 16% daily needs and has high water content to provide hydration.
Strawberries provide 97.6mg vitamin C, equivalent to 130% of the daily requirement.
Pineapple provides 78.9mg vitamin C, equivalent to 105% of the daily requirement. It also provides 2.3g of fiber (10% of daily needs), and potassium.
BEST FOODS TO EAT AGAINST ACNE
1. Foods High In Omega-3's
Fatty Fish like Salmon, mackerel or herring are just a few of the fatty fishes which are good for healthy skin. These types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which keep your skin thick, moisturized and they also help reduce your skin’s overall inflammation, reduce acne and overall sensitivity to things such as the sun’s UV rays, wind and pollutants or irritants.
They also contain Vitamin E which is one of the most important antioxidants which help protect your skin against damage from inflammation as well as free radicals.
Vegetarian or vegan options for omega 3 include flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and hemp seeds.
Avocados are rich in healthy fats and benefit different functions in the body which is noticeable in your skin. Having enough healthy fats helps your skin stay flexible, supple and moisturized. They also contain specific compounds that protect your skin from UV damage. Avocado oil has a lot of skin benefits too.
Just like the fatty fish, avocado also helps protect your skin from free radicals which damage (Vitamin E). It also contains Vitamin C which is good for producing collagen to rejuvenate your skin, prevent scarring and decrease hyperpigmentation.
3. NUTS AND SEEDS
Eating nuts and seeds such as walnuts, almonds, chia, flax, pumpkin and hemp seeds can be good for preventing acne as they are a great source of omega 3 essential fatty acids which are great for reducing body inflammation.
But a diet too high in omega 6 fatty acids can worsen inflammation, psoriasis and acne and so it is crucial to maintain a ratio of higher omega 3s to omega 6s.
4. CRUCIFEROUS VEGGIES
Cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, kale, chard and Brussel sprouts are some examples of cruciferous vegetables you can add to your anti-acne diet. These vegetables contain sulforaphane which is an antioxidant and highly anti-inflammatory and help reduce acne breakouts.
Cruciferous vegetables contain indole-3 carbinol which is good and helpful in detoxifying excess estrogen from your body. Dominance in estrogen is being linked to high DHT levels as well as skin issues such as redness, excess oiliness and acne. Rising hormone levels cause the oil glands under the skin to grow. The enlarged gland produces more sebum. Excessive sebum can break down cellular walls in the pores, causing bacteria to grow.
*@Veganacnesufferers contributing author