At one point or another, most of us have had to deal with acne. For us girls, trying to deal with acne usually involves trying to source the best products that can help reduce redness, zap it away, or cover it up. Compared to other health issues, acne is pretty minor, yet incredibly frustrating! I, myself, have dealt with the effects of acne in my youth, and as an adult, I can get a few zits around that time of the month, and I find the problem is magnified if I consume too much sugar. And somehow it always seems that when a special event is coming up, such as a friend’s wedding, a little zit will always appear.
While there can be several factors that cause acne, including something as unremarkable as a greasy pillow, nutrition can play an important role, and even more significantly, our intestinal health is a factor in acne prevention. It now seems apparent that the state of our gut health can either promote acne or keep it at bay. Yes acne shows itself on our skin, but think of acne as the bubbling up of symptoms of deeper issues. In addition to our gut health, acne can also be attributed to hormonal imbalances, allergies and toxicities.
Patterns of acne can also be connected to imbalances. For example, generally if you experience acne on your chin, chest or back, it can be related to toxicity in the colon, acne on the forehead and nose can be related to liver sluggishness or toxicity, and acne on the cheeks can be related to allergies.
Foods that help to fight acne through reducing chemicals and toxins, and supporting a healthy digestive system include:
- Foods high in zinc, such as whole grains (whole wheat, rye, oats), nuts (pecans, Brazil nuts), pumpkin seeds, ginger root, nutritional yeast and wheat germ
- Fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and miso
- Foods high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, such as borage oil, evening primrose oil, fish oil, flaxseed oil, and walnuts
- Foods high in vitamins A such as orange and dark green vegetables, including carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, winter squash, broccoli, kale, parsley, spinach, apricots, mango, papaya and cantaloupe.
- Foods high in vitamin C, which is found in most vegetables and fruits if they are fresh, especially bell peppers and citrus fruits.
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Brewer’s yeast
- Sea vegetables, such as nori, kelp and dulse
Try to also avoid triggers for acne!
- Hydrogenated oils
- Processed sugar and sugary foods
- Allergenic foods (this is based on your own allergies, but common allergens include wheat, dairy, corn, soy)
Generally, nutrients that promote healthy skin include vitamins A, C, E, B complex, zinc, and essential fatty acids.
A little trick that I have learned to reduce the redness of zits and seems to help clear them up quickly is putting some tea tree oil on the zit. With a Q-Tip, I just tip it in tea tree oil and then tab some on the zit.
Understanding more about your acne concerns can be done through observing any contraindicated patterns you may have, incorporating acne fighting foods into your diet, supporting a healthy digestive system, reducing your contact with chemicals, which includes chemicals and pesticides from food as well as in products, avoiding any allergens you may have, and in working with a doctor, nutritionist or naturopath.