If you have acne, it is largely due to your genetic makeup. Many things can impact the chemical compounds in your body; diet, what you're drinking, vitamins, supplements, etc. So it's no surprise that these components can and do affect your acne as well.
Let's take a look at some of the different aspects of food and nutrition and how it affects clearing up your skin.
1. The American Diet
You've probably heard about omega-6s and omega-3s but what does it all mean when it comes to your acne?
Omega-6 oils are fatty acids that, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, "help stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism, and maintain the reproductive system."
Sounds all well and good, right?
The only problem is, American diet has incredibly high amounts of omega-6 (corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil) and not enough omega-3 (flaxseed, egg yolks, fish oil) to balance it out.
When you have a diet high in omega-6, your skin overproduces the bacteria and skin cells that inflame acne and make breakouts worse.
As stated by Alan C. Logan, a naturopathic physician and Valori Treloar, a certified dermatologist, "The North American omega-6 intake is now outnumbering omega-3 intake by a ratio as high as 20:1. This current ratio is quite a distance from the ideal ratio of 2:1 (omega-6 to omega-3) recommended by an international panel of lipid experts."
2. Iodides and Your Skin
Foods high in iodides include iodized salt, fast food, shellfish, seaweed, kelp, vitamin supplements, and recovery drinks.
But do they make your acne worse?
Abnormally high amounts of iodine-iodides in an acne-prone individual can trigger breakouts and inflammation in acne-prone skin. Some research suggests that iodides do not affect the severity of skin conditions, while others prove that keeping a low-iodide diet can help keep your acne under control.
But all in all, it doesn't hurt to be cautious. Especially if the solution to keeping your skin clear is as simple as exposing yourself to fewer iodides.
3. Milk and Your Hormones
Researchers have been keen to understand the underlying causes of acne for many years. Through a study done from 1996 to 1999, there was a definite correlation found between acne and milk.
In this study, Harvard researchers examined more than 6 thousand girls ages nine to fifteen and found "the relationship between greater milk consumption and the occurrence of acne. The researchers theorize that milk promotes acne through a hormonal effect."
Milk contains growth hormones, reproductive hormones, and many other factors. It's no wonder that it throws off hormones in many cases, causes breakouts!
4. Sugar and Your Body
The Canadian Medical Association Journal has described acne as "diabetes of the skin." The reason being that the vast majority of participants in their studies have shown similar spikes in insulin as diabetics without the symptoms of diabetes--just worsening of their acne.
According to their study, "after a glucose tolerance test the skin levels should drop back to baseline in approximately 60 minutes--in patients with acne, the time to recover to baseline levels was 226 minutes."
It's no secret that sugar intake and acne are closely linked. Be aware of all the simple sugars you consume and find out how badly they affect your skin and clearing up your acne.
5. Androgen Foods
As we discussed in number 3 of this article, hormones can do a lot of damage when it comes to your acne. Androgen foods are hormone foods such as peanut butter, soy milk, peanut oil, and organ meats such as liver.
These foods increase inflammation and make clearing up your skin a longer, more difficult process than it would be without.
The typical Western diet is high in sugary, fatty foods; the exact foods that make acne worse in many studies around the world. Help yourself and your acne by avoiding many of the foods (especially milk and fast food) that we talked about in this article and try eating more omega-3 foods.
However, just changing your diet alone may not be enough to clear your acne. What helps most in clearing acne is a consistent daily regimen of what goes on your skin. Our clinic reviews your skin and recommends a customized treatment plan for you. Not only is this the best way we've found to get skin clear, but our clinic works diligently to make sure you're educated with all the tools you need to help keep it clear.
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