Food, Diet, and Your Skin
In some cases, the food you consume can affect your skin. It works like this, some foods can raise a person’s blood sugar level drastically, which in turn, triggers the body to release insulin, a hormone in the body. This hormone can affect the amount of oil your oil glands produce, so, more insulin means more oil, which in turn, means your chances of developing acne are greater.
There are some key foods that might cause your insulin levels to increase, they include:
- Refined sugars
- White starches, including rice, bread, and pasta
These foods are known as high-glycemic foods, specifically carbohydrates; they increase the production of insulin in the body.
There have always been questions about whether or not chocolate also affects the development of acne, but according to the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, the results are inconclusive as not everyone reacts the same way after they have consumed the sweet treat.
Other studies have tried to link the “Western” or “American diet” with acne. This diet is believed to include starchy, high-glycemic foods, dairy, as well as trans and saturated fats.
As believed by the Journal of Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, a diet rich in these foods may increase the levels of insulin and oil that are thusly produced as a result. This diet is also believed to cause more inflammation in the body, and therefore more acne.
A Diet to Help Decrease Acne
If high-glycemic foods increase insulin production, then it is fair to say that the inverse is also true. Foods that have a low-glycemic index, those made up of complex carbohydrates may have the opposite effect. These low-glycemic foods include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains, grains that contain the endosperm, germ, and the bran of any whole grain
You may also want to consider certain foods that help to lower inflammation of the body.
- Foods that are high in antioxidants; they fight off free radicals in the body
- Zinc found highly in red meat and poultry
- Vitamin E found in almonds, spinach, and sweet potato
- Vitamin A found in beef liver, carrots, and kale
Other foods to add to the list are:
- More dark and leafy greens
- Dark-colored fruits rich in antioxidants
- Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, oats
- Fatty fish, high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon
- Nuts and seeds
The best way to tell how a food is affecting your body is to keep a journal and record the reaction of your skin, recall that it may take a bit for your skin to flare or adversely, clear up. You may have to go without a food for a few weeks to fully see the difference it makes.
Studies to Support Various Diets
The Low-Glycemic Food Diet
If you are willing to give it a try, there are promising results that have stemmed from a diet that avoids or has low levels of simple sugars. One study found that Korean participants who followed a low-glycemic diet for two and a half months show drastic improvement in their skin. Another similar study, that of men, stated the same and that it also resulted in weight loss.
The Mineral Zinc
As Zinc is believed to be an anti-inflammatory, the belief is that by consuming food high in this mineral, you may help treat any acne flare-ups. Foods that are high in this mineral are:
- Seeds and nuts
- Beef and poultry
- Whole grains
- Seafood, that includes crab and oysters
One particular research study that the BioMed Research International Journal published, examined the levels of zinc in the blood and its relationship to acne. They argued that since zinc is important in skin development and is important for regulating hormone levels and the metabolism of an individual, that it could help with the severity of acne development.
The results indicated that if an individual had low levels of zinc in their body the acne was more severe. By simply including 40 mg every day would help to treat severe cases of Acne Vulgaris. This can also help those who don’t typically suffer from acne.
As previously mentioned, both vitamins A and E are important for clear skin. Those who have low levels, as reported by the Journal of Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology, suffered more severe bouts of acne.
Simply increasing food consumption high in these vitamin levels will help to alleviate the development and severity of acne in an individual.
Supplements are available, but if you choose to take a vitamin A supplement be aware that Vitamin A toxicity can occur and cause severe and irreversible damage to your internal organs; be sure to talk with your doctor beforehand.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Combined with Antioxidants
Some plants and certain foods, like fish and eggs, contain high levels of this fat. Studies have been conducted to study the effects of combining these fats along with foods high in antioxidants to drastically reduce inflammation in the body.
Not only can you combine these two elements to help with inflammation, but they are also believed to help improve mental health. Often, those who suffer from severe forms of acne have lower self-esteem, a boost in emotional health would be a great help on top of the acne treatment.