No one enjoys acne. And when you have it, it’s everything you can do to try getting rid of it. Picking, harsh facial treatments, masks, aggressive scrubbing, you name it; acne prone people have tried it. I have been one of these people on and off throughout my teens and into my early 20’s. Could it be there is a deeper cause to these pesky skin scavengers? The answer is yes, yes there is…your diet. Read on, my friend.
Many of us love milk, I know, but that along with other dairy products can create conflict on the skin. The reason for this is due to growth hormones and a milk protein called casein. The growth hormones I’m referring to are factor-1 (IGF-1) which is an insulin-like hormone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which can lead to acne breakouts. The casein can be difficult to digest and also aggravate the skin.
You can substitute your dairy milk for an alternative like almond milk – this contains no IGF-1. If you want to try cutting down first before completely dropping dairy, choose organic milk and yogurt. Organic milk comes from animals that are not injected with the hormone rBGH – which means their IGF-1 is lower, just not much lower. If you don’t see changes after trialing this, try dropping dairy like its hot – 100%.
Say See-ya to Sugar and Processed Carbs
The SAD (Standard American Diet) consists of things such as diet pop, pasta, cereal, French fries, bagels, pasta, etc. which can definitely set people up for skin problems. These types of foods are loaded with sugar and often times trans fats that lead to high blood sugar and insulin levels. Therefore eating processed carbohydrates causes the body to secrete the hormone insulin. High insulin levels affect skin similar to the growth hormones found in milk and lead to clogged and peeved pores.
Support Your Skin
According to Katie Haarala (RD, LD), certain supplements are key to supporting the health of your skin. After working with people both young and old for years who experience acne, she has found the following to be particularly beneficial:
Zinc: A deficiency in this important mineral may actually show up as acne. Zinc supports skin health by fighting infections and controlling skin oil production. The amount you need varies with age. Adult women should be getting 8 mg a day and adult men should be getting 11 mg daily.
Omega-3: This essential fatty acid reduces inflammation and helps with skin problems from acne to rosacea. You should get at least one rich source of omega-3 fatty acid in your diet each day. You can do this through a serving of fish (such as salmon) or a handful of walnuts or ground flaxseed into your morning oatmeal, etc.
Bifidobacteria: This beneficial bacteria supports digestion and detoxification. You may be surprised to learn that an unhealthy digestive system can result in acne. You can take this in liquid or capsule form – once to twice daily with meals.
By applying these tips to your eating habits and lifestyle – you should see improvement in the quality of your skin. If your acne continues, there may be some other potential factors that can be addressed one-on-one nutritionally.