While scrubs and cleansers and an array of other products may help problem skin, it’s best to take a two-prong approach and also fight acne from the inside out. You may also find that it’s not just your complexion that benefits, but your whole body too. Consider these diet tips and snack your way to clear skin.
Drink Lots of Water
Water is the stuff of life. Yet, the majority of Americans today — up to 75% in fact — are dehydrated. Without it, digestion slows, urinary infections rise, and liver, joint and muscle tissue begin to malfunction. Additionally, dehydration can have a lot of poor effects on your skin health. One of the not-so-secret weapons you should have in your clear skin arsenal is drinking plenty of water. To determine how much H20 you should be taking in to ensure optimal hydration, stick to either 8 glasses a day as a rule of thumb, or multiple your weight by ⅔ to figure out the number of ounces you need to consume for your body size. Don’t like the bland taste of water? Add some fresh, seasonal fruit or a sprig of mint for an extra kick of flavor. Invest in a Hydro Flask to keep your water cold all day long.
Keep a Food Journal
Keeping a log of the foods you eat can help, especially if you suspect a dietary-related sensitivity that may be causing your skin to react in not-so-pleasant ways. The types of zits you have and the location you’re getting them may offer some insight into dietary choices that aren’t working well with your body. Try to be consistent with your diary for at least 4-6 weeks, or longer if you can, making sure to log any reactions, time of day you’re eating and types of foods. After, use the data to assess if there’s one or more foods in particular that seems to trigger breakouts.
Cut Out Sugar
At one time it was believed that fat was the number one most dangerous dietary component in which Americans in particular were overindulging. Now we know that sugar is the culprit responsible for the majority of our diet-related illnesses. The American Heart Association advises that women stick to no more than six teaspoons of sugar daily, which equals around 100 calories. When your body breaks down sugar, it produces insulin. An excess of insulin causes inflammation in the body, which can wreak all kinds of havoc on the balance of various systems. As for the skin, inflammation not only causes breakouts, it also produce enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, which can result in prematurely sagging skin and wrinkles.
Omega-3s Are Your Friends
Most Western diets are high in foods containing omega-6 fatty acids, including items such as wheat, grain, poultry, vegetable oils and eggs, which can cause inflammation in the body. Instead, opt for a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, found in certain kinds of fish, like salmon, seeds and nuts, which can help combat inflammation and improve acne conditions.
Experiment with Juicing
We all know we should be eating lots of fruits and veggies and how beneficial and vitamin-packed they are. But it’s tricky to try to fit in the daily recommended amount. Opt for a fresh juice in the mornings instead of coffee and milk, and reap the benefits. Not only are fresh juices high in nutrients, they can help combat acne in a variety of ways. Juicing can help stabilize blood sugar, which as we discussed above helps combat inflammation; it also stimulates digestive enzymes, which is especially important with those struggling with acne. If you’re not flushing toxins out of your body, then your system can become overloaded, which often means breakouts. Drinking fresh juice can also help keep you hydrated (remember tip number one?) and keep hormones balanced for those prone to cyclical acne. It may take a bit of experimentation to find a combination that you like, but there are plenty of recipes online that combine optimal fruits and veggies. You may also want to look into getting a high-quality juicer instead of using a regular blender, which can help make the most of the produce you’re using and often results in a better tasting juice.
Gut health has long been tied to the skin. So if you’ve been struggling with your complexion, you may not need to look any further than your stomach. Gut microbes within the gastrointestinal tract have been shown to contribute to an acne response. Probiotics work by balancing the gut with healthy bacteria, helping to reduce inflammation, and ultimately fighting acne. Try a probiotic supplement or work more probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kombucha, keifer or tempeh into your diet.