Of course, there are many factors that contribute to acne, but diet, undoubtedly, is one of the major ones. In 2010, researchers surprised numerous of us when they reported that diet does, indeed, affect acne outbreaks. Did you know that leafy veggies and the good old kaaju can take care of your pesky skin woes? As compiled from annmariegianni.com and Reader’s Digest magazine, here’s a list of superfoods to get your skin looking immaculate this icky season.
Okay, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. “When you’re healthier, your skin reflects that,” says Rebecca Kazin, assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology and associate director at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery. Antioxidants — found in spades in brightly coloured produce, neutralise free radicals, which can wreak havoc on your skin by increasing inflammation. And inflammation is not only related to premature aging (think fine lines and wrinkles) but also acne. Strawberries (which are very much in season) for instance, can clear your acne naturally. They’re a natural source of antioxidants and alicylic acid (a powerful acne fighting agent), that can cure skin tone and help in conditioning.
Salmon, sardines, and tuna are all good choices that help your body get the omega 3s it needs. “These healthy fatty acids are the building blocks for our cells. By allowing your skin to build new, healthy cells, it will look better,” says Dr Kazin. In one small study in 2012, taking fish oil helped improve the complexions of people with moderate to severe acne, possibly because fish oil helps control inflammation. If the thought of sushi leaves you with a frown, stock up on omega 3 supplements or fish oil — they’ll get the job done!
Cucumbers and watermelon
Any high-water food will boost your body’s hydration, and that’s certainly great news for your skin. “Maintaining skin’s hydration level is helpful for any skin condition,” shares Dr Kazin. “Patients often dry out their skin in an effort to treat acne, and then pile on rich moisturiser, which gives them acne and dry skin,” she explains. It’s best if your skin doesn’t swing from one end of the spectrum to the other — and staying hydrated by chugging oodles of water and filling your diet with water-rich goodies such as kheera and tarbooz can maintain your complexion’s homeostasis.
Getting a little nutty for your skin pays off — and I mean it literally! A one-ounce serving of cashews supplies excellent source of zinc. In a 2014 study in BioMed Research International, researchers found that lower blood levels of the mineral were associated with more severe acne, conceivably because zinc possesses anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. A daily handful of kaajus can help tame inflammation and improve acne breakouts. Other stellar zinc sources include shellfish and beef.
Studies have indicated that all those who suffer from acne have very low stomach acids. So a probiotic such as plain dahi can normalise the digestive tract and help in controlling acne. Best of all, this clear skin diet is inexpensive as well. Yogurt is well-known for its non-dairy sources of the beneficial bacteria. A review of research in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology shows that consuming probiotics may deadlock the release of inflammatory proteins and decrease sebum production, preventing plugged pores, which further give rise to acne.
Research suggests that green tea helps battle acne. South Korean scientists found that EGCG (a powerful antioxidant in green tea) could, in fact, reduce the size of sebaceous glands, which are usually enlarged in people with acne. A test-tube follow-up study also showed that EGCG reduced sebum production. A second study found that EGCG significantly improved acne in an 8-week randomised, split-face, clinical trial. Moral of the story — guzzle down more green tea throughout the day, and try applying cooled tea bags or a cloth dipped in cooled green tea to acne-prone areas of your face for 10 to 15 minutes.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2016.