I think one of the most important changes I made to clear my skin was my diet. Digestion plays a vital role in those who are suffering from acne, if you have bad digestion and an unhealthy gut, this could definitely be contributing to your acne.
One of the first things suggested to be cut out from the diet is DAIRY.
Dairy- There is very conflicting evidence that dairy can contribute to acne, however, in my case I suffer from “hormonal acne” and this is why I decided to cut dairy out. Milk and dairy products have a content of hormones produced by cows during pregnancy, it is the insulin-like growth factor contained in the milk that is said to be the possible cause of acne. IGF-1 is higher in women who suffer from acne than those who do not. It is for this reason I would rather avoid dairy. Once I cut out the dairy I noticed a difference in my skin, less inflamed breakouts and my digestion also seemed to be a lot better.
Gluten- Gluten is also highly suggested to be cut out of the diet if you are suffering from acne. I have now been on a gluten free diet for over a year and have noticed a drastic change with my digestion. I use to always be bloated and get stomach pains, now I am hardly ever bloated and feel great after I eat. (I use to think it was normal to feel sick after I ate a meal). Due to the importance of having a healthy gut to help reduce acne, I have given up gluten and follow a “diet” which encourages digestion. Not to mention a lot of foods that contain gluten are considered high GI.. this brings me to my next point.
Sugar- Diet based on products with a high glycemic index leads to hyperinsulinemia. Elevated insulin levels stimulate the secretion of androgens and cause an increased production of sebum, which plays a fundamental role in pathogenesis of acne. I aim to eat rather paleo based, so I avoid any refined sugars and stick to sugars found in fruits. Hyperinsulinemia affects the level of circulating IGF-1 and insulin-growth factor binding protein which has an impact on the the skin cells ability to proliferate.
Kombucha- Back to talking about a healthy gut. The stomach has good and bad bacteria and when this balance is disturbed it can wreak absolute havoc on your skin. Kombucha is full of probiotics and enzymes which aid in restoring the balance by adding the “good” bacteria in your gut. One study showed that patients who drank a lactobacillus fermented beverage experienced inflammatory acne reduction by 40% and another study found that 54% of acne sufferers suffer from bad bacteria overgrowth in their small intestine. I say, why not give it a go??
Greens- Now, your parents always told you to eat your greens, but who would have known if I had of listened, it could have made an impact on my skin! These include kale, spinach, broccoli, silver beet, celery etc. These are all high in vitamins and the darker green leafy vegetables act as antioxidants in the body, thus having a better impact on the skin.
All of this might seem like a lot to stick to, but honestly it has just become a part of my life. Even if it may not have a big impact on the skin for some people, it definitely doesn’t hurt to eat healthy and try to avoid any processed foods.
Kucharska, A., Szmurło, A., & Sińska, B. (2016). Significance of diet in treated and untreated acne vulgaris. Advances in Dermatology and Allergology/Postȩpy Dermatologii I Alergologii, 33(2), 81–86. http://doi.org/10.5114/ada.2016.59146