Acne. The nightmare of virtually all teenagers, and even some unlucky grown-ups as well.
(I’ve been in those shoes, oh, I’ve been there.)
Sometimes it seems that no matter what fancy product you try, it does not help much. Sometimes it feels as if the problem isn’t going anywhere soon, if going anywhere at all. Sometimes it seems as if there’s no cure to the matter.
However, there are quite a few natural ways to alleviate acne without resorting neither to some heavy chemical magic nor cosmetic procedures that cost a fortune. The approach I’m talking about is an inside-out one: delicious FOODS that fight acne. And (what a coincidence!) the same foods help in losing weight.
Excited to put them into your menu? We’ll get to it, but first let’s do a quick recap on what acne is to begin with. You know what they say: know your enemy!
What is acne?
Also known as acne vulgaris, this long-running disease of the skin takes place when the pores of one’s skin get clogged with remnants of dead skin cells, external dirt, and the oil produced by the skin’s sebaceous (oily) glands. It’s not hard at all to imagine what happens next.
The isolated skin pores become an easy prey for bacterial infection. The oily glands continue producing secrete. The pore becomes red, inflamed, and painful. When it ruptures, its contents evacuate, and a wound is left—a wound that can also get infected, and often even leave a scar.
Nasty stuff, in other words.
Sorry to make you go through the gross description, but it was necessary to pinpoint the main things weCAN do to alleviate the course of acne:
- Keep the pores unclogged. No food will help you in this: find a cleanser and/or scrub that works good for you and use it regularly. Period.
- Control your oily glands. The more oil your skin produces, the higher the chances are that some dirt will get trapped in it, clogging your pores. Some foods listed in this article will help you to achieve that!
- Reduce inflammation. Ultimately, this will result in less skin damage, smaller post-acne wounds, and lower risks of long-term scarring. Foods rich in antioxidants and specific “omegas” are you best friends in this matter, and we’ll take a good look at them.
Is there a link between acne and excess weight?
Short answer: yes, most likely.
Long answer: yes, but the link isn’t very direct or clear, and scientists are still having passionate discussions on the matter. What we can say for (almost) sure is that there is a correlation between sugar intake and severity of acne.
For example, studies have shown that a low-glycemic-load diet can significantly improve acne. Some papers even go so far as to state that carbs could be the main culprit behind this disease altogether. And one more thing: chocolate is extremely likely to exacerbate acne.
All in all, while we cannot be 100% sure that the link between acne and excess weight is a solid one, it turns out that the foods and approaches that help with the former tend to have a positive effect on the latter as well. Luck or physiology? Who knows, but it could be great to kill the two birds with a single stone!
On this positive note, let’s move on to specific foods that could become your powerful allies against both acne and some excess pounds.
- Brazil nuts
Chances are you’ve already heard that nuts make terrific snacks for one trying to stick to a healthy diet, right? Well, it turns out that some of them can be extremely beneficial specifically for someone dealing with acne.
An old study back from 1984 researched whether a daily supplementation of 0.2 mg of a micronutrient called selenium (twice per day) could alleviate acne symptoms, and the results were highly encouraging, especially in patients with pustular acne. Now guess what is the best natural source of selenium? Brazil nuts!
A single ounce (about 6 nuts) of those have as much as 542 micrograms of selenium. In other words, if you eat just 4 Brazil nuts per day, you are on the right track to improve your acne.
Or lamb. Or pumpkin seeds. Or poultry. In other words, everything with a good amount of zinc in it. This micronutrient has shown fantastic results in patients suffering from acne, especially because they often turn to be deficient in zinc. So, how much do you need of it?
The RDA for zinc is 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women—that’s roughly 30 g of oysters (1 ounce) or some 200 g (7 ounces) of turkey.
In terms of weight loss, oysters are great due to their absurdly low calorie count for the amount of proteins and healthy fats they are packed with, and the same goes for turkey!
- Fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines)
Omega-3 fatty acids are loved by healthy eating adepts all around the world for dozens of fabulous reasons, but the one that interests us the most in this article is their ability to inhibit inflammation.
When a skin pore is blocked, it soon gets inflamed and riddled with bacteria, so alleviating this fire could be extremely beneficial in the management of acne. A 2018 study researched whether omega-3 supplementation could reduce acne symptoms and received positive results documented in photos. (Really, check the link, it’s worth a thousand words.)
The cherry on top is that omega-3s also help in losing weight and reducing waist circumference!
- Orange & red vegetables (carrots, pumpkins, bell peppers)
The rule of thumb is that all orange and red vegetables have a high amount of vitamin A in them, and this is an essential nutrient for the health of your skin. Multiple studies have confirmed that there is a dose-dependent inverse correlation between vitamin A intake and acne severity: the more you take, the less acne you have!
And guess what? The same goes for excess weight!
Yep, one more nut in the list, but for a whole different reason: vitamin E. Almonds are among the richest foods in terms of this nutrient, which is a powerful antioxidant able to relieve the inflammation going hand in hand with acne.
Other great sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds (and vegetable oil), hazelnuts, and eel. Ensure you have enough of them in your diet, because studies have confirmed that there is a link between low vitamin E and risk of obesity!
Also, almonds make fabulous healthy snacks to help you stay away from junk food when a sudden bout of hunger appears out of nowhere.
Looking for an even easier way?
Over the last few decades, just two or three diets proved to be consistently effective and safe the long run. One of them is the legendary diet drops, which relies on natural oral drops that suppress hunger and make your body burn previously stored body fat. People often ask how safe is it to use these diet drops for weight loss? Let’s visit the site for more details.
Part of its 20+ ingredients are powerful anti-inflammatory agents that could dramatically improve your acne, while the nutritional course itself is guaranteed to help you shed the excess pounds in a matter of weeks. Double benefits! Visit the site for more info.
Bonus: Lifestyle Changes to Improve Acne
- Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is one of the primary causes of chronic stress, during which a whole lot of specific hormones are produced in abundance. Some of them are prone to mess up with your skin functions and destabilize the sebaceous glands in it, causing acne.
- Stop touching your face. Your hands (or, to be more specific, your fingernails) are some of the dirtiest parts of your body, thus by making them come into contact with your face, you are drastically increasing the risk of certain pores to clog and turn into acne.
- Sanitize your cellphone every once in a while. Let’s be honest for a second: your smartphone is like a paradise for germs. You touch it hundreds of times per day, it lies on all sorts of places, and its worm. A perfect incubator for germs! Then someone calls you, you bring your phone to your ear and cheek… And spread the dirt over your poor skin. To minimize your chance of subsequently developing acne on your cheeks, opt talking via headphones whenever possible and de-germ your phone at least ones every few days.
- Start using sunscreen. Ultraviolet is a well-known damaging factor of the skin, and damaged skin is much more likely to be affected by acne. Find a sunscreen that’s suitable for your type of skin (dry, oily, etc.) and use it regularly.
- Eat a lot of vegetables and fruits (even those that aren’t listed in this article). All plant-based foods are GREAT sources of antioxidants, thus all of them contribute to alleviating inflammation and scavenging free radicals. The more vegs you eat, the calmer your skin will be!
- Stay hydrated. Dry skin is also quite susceptible to all kinds of damage and health issues, so make sure to drink at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day (roughly 4-5 cups).