Trendy acne treatments are prevalent on grocery and pharmacy store shelves, and some carry a hefty price tag. Is there a way to reduce acne through diet, in order to reduce the cost of treatment and avoid some of the nasty side effects of some of these products? According to some research, diet does play a role in acne prevention and, while not necessarily a cure-all, changing dietary habits just might help make an acne case more manageable.
Here are some tips to help anyone trying to reduce acne through diet.
Skip high-glycemic (sugary) foods
According to a Colorado State University study, high-glycemic foods, which cause blood sugar levels to spike and therefore raise levels of insulin, lead to an increased incidence of acne. Insulin affects hormones, which in turn can over-stimulate the production of skin cells and oil in pores, contributing to bacterial growth and clogging. It is this bacteria which leads to the appearance of the dreaded “white heads” or pimples on the skin.
High-glycemic foods include sugary soft drinks, refined flours, candy, and even fruity drinks. By switching to lower-glycemic foods, such as whole grains, juice with pulp, whole fruit, agave nectar and fresh vegetables, insulin levels tend to remain normalized and this might help prevent acne.
Avoid processed foods
Processed foods, especially snack cakes and frozen foods, tend to include large quantities of the very cheap industrial sweetener called high fructose corn syrup, as well as artificial colorants, preservatives and trans fats. As previously mentioned, high-glycemic foods affect insulin levels, which in turn can trigger acne if elevated. Sensitivity to artificial ingredients might also trigger an adverse response in the body, weakening the ability to fight bacteria and therefore increasing the likelihood of infection in skin pores.
For those trying to reduce acne, eating whole foods that are not full of synthetic chemicals which might affect their bodies’ hormone levels and bacteria-fighting ability makes sense. So skip the Twinkies and grab an apple instead.
Eat zinc-rich foods
The University of Maryland School of Medicine cites several studies that claim that zinc has been shown to reduce acne. Zinc reduces inflammation and kills bacteria, while also affecting antioxidant enzyme systems, all of which can reduce some of the precursors to an acne breakout.
Foods high in zinc include oysters, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, and lamb. Too much zinc can cause health problems and interact with medication, so consult with a physician before taking any zinc supplements to treat acne.
Acne has not been conclusively shown to be linked to any one specific food item, but the overall diet may play an important part in managing the production of oil and bacteria which are directly involved in acne. Pay attention to how your body reacts when eating certain foods, and avoid those that seem to make you break out, even if not covered in this article or any medical journal. You are your own best judge when it comes to the foods you eat and the effects they have on your body.
About the author: Debbie Sweet handles a range of acne treatments in Chicago, where she has worked as skin care professional for many years.