Posted on January 22 2022
Almost everyone remembers a period in their lives where they struggled with extreme acne. From dropping chocolates to applying haldi and malai, oh haven't we tried everything!
Here is my worse acne phase:
Acne can lower our confidence and self-esteem. I know it surely did for me. Through a lot of education, trial/ error and knowledge did I manage to clear my skin like it is now. Through this blog, I wish to explore some techniques that helped me.
So, what are acnes?
Our skin has tiny holes known as pores which can get blocked by bacteria, oil, dead skin cells, and even dirt. When this happens, we develop a pimple or "zit." And if our skin is repeatedly affected by this condition, these zit's turn into acne.
Acne isn't a life-threatening condition but may be painful, especially severe. It can cause emotional distress, and when it appears on our faces, acne can affect our self-esteem. Over time, acne can also cause permanent physical scarring.
However acne need not always be due to external causes. More often than not, what happens on our skin is really a representation of what is going on in our gut. Once you fix the gut, the skin starts healing itself.
Hormonal turmoil during the teen years for instance, is a cause for acne. IBS, leaky gut syndrome and other gut issues can be a cause for acne. When toxins from our body cannot make their way out of the system (for instance, chronic constipation), they also may lead to acne.
To fix acne, you really need to be looking at your entire lifestyle and circadian cycle, vs trying to apply external lotions that only marginally.
What can cause acne?
Tragically, acne occurs almost anywhere in our bodies. However, it most commonly develops on our face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders. Inflammatory lesions most likely cause scarring of our skin. These include:
- Papules: These are small, red, raised bumps caused due to inflamed or infected hair follicles.
- Pustules: These are small red pimples having pus at their tips.
- Nodules: These are solid and painful lumps beneath the surface of your skin.
- Cysts: These are large lumps beneath our skin containing pus and are usually painful.
As already mentioned earlier, acne occurs when the pores of our skin become blocked with bacteria, dead skin, or oil, etc.
Problems in the effective lubrication process can cause acne in our skin. It can occur when:
- The follicles produce too much oil.
- Dead skin cells accumulate in the pores.
- Bacteria build up in the pores.
All of these problems contribute to the development of pimples. Generally, a pimple appears when bacteria grow in a clogged pore, and the oil cannot escape.
What are the risk factors for developing acne?
Myths regarding what contributes to acne are pervasive. For example, most people believe that chocolate or French fries contribute to acne, however, it really is more about your overall lifestyle than one food item.
Nevertheless, there are certain risk factors for developing acne.
- Hormonal changes due to puberty or pregnancy.
- Specific medications like birth control pills or the corticosteroids.
- A refined sugar loaded diet or carbohydrates like bread and chips.
- Having parents who had acne.
Puberty is the time people mostly develop acne. Our body undergoes hormonal changes during this time, which can trigger oil production. It, in turn, leads to an increased risk of acne.
Hormonal acne associated with puberty usually subsides or improves when we reach adulthood.
How does diet affect the skin?
Certain foods can raise our blood sugar more quickly than some others. So, when our blood sugar rises, it quickly causes the body to release a hormone known as insulin.
Having excess insulin in your blood can be a leading cause for our oil glands to produce more oil, thereby increasing our risks of acne.
Certain foods that trigger spikes in insulin are:
- White rice
- White bread
Similarly, other researchers have studied the connections between acne and the so-called "Western diet" or "standard American diet". This kind of diet is based primarily on:
- High-glycemic carbohydrates
- Saturated fats
- Trans fats
A research survey in the Journal of Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology found that these foods stimulate the production of hormones and excess oil secreted by the oil glands.
The biggest trigger for our acne in terms of food though is Dairy.
The study also found that the Western diet is linked to more significant inflammation contributing to acne problems.
A diet consisting of highly processed food, dairy products, and ready meals, can over time, cause slight inflammation throughout the body and aggravate skin problems like acne.
Further, exposure to UV rays promotes the formation of free radicals causing damage our skin. Additionally, it rips the skin of structure and firmness by depleting elastin and collagen. Here is an example of a truck driver being on the road for years with only one side of the face exposed to the sun. Notice the damage the sunlight did to his face.
Over time, free radicle exposure can result in more prominent fine lines and wrinkles.
Eating antioxidant-rich foods like colourful fruit and vegetables can help fight against the free radicals and help improve skin texture.
How is dairy-related to acne?
The American Academy of Dermatology has estimated that acne affects over 50 million people each year. And most evidence-based studies indicate that acne can be irritated by dairy. However, researchers are still trying to figure out the underlying connection.
Dairy cows are treated with artificial hormones that affect the milk supply. Researchers suggest that these hormones may throw our hormones off balance when consuming milk products and trigger acne. This article will help you understand better:
Another theory suggests that the growth hormones in milk naturally aggravate acne, even if the animal is not given external hormones/ drugs.
A third theory indicates that milk products combined with highly refined foods and processed sugars can disrupt insulin levels and make skin more prone to acne.
A study published in 2011 concludes that the growth and signalling system of mammalian milk is physiologically and exclusively provided to the newborn only during the nursing period.
The chronic exploitation of dairy cows for milk consumption has been linked to multiple chronic diseases in humans. This has been one major cause of the acne epidemic. If you think about it, countries with the least dairy consumption like Japan, also have least cases of chronic acne.
There are two solutions to this problem: either restrict the milk protein consumption or genetically engineer milk that does not have these effects.
Both restrictions of milk consumption or the generation of less milk will have an enormous impact on the prevention of epidemic diseases like diabetes mellitus, obesity, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and acne.
Researchers argue that not all dairy products affect acne equally. Some studies noted that skim milk is the most likely acne trigger.
The Harvard Nurses’ Study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, found that the association between milk intake during adolescence and severe physician-diagnosed teenage acne was marked more for skim milk than for other forms of milk.
This could be because there is more estrogen in skim milk. Researchers have also found 15 steroid sex hormones in commercial milk right off the shelves. The highest levels were found in skim milk, compared to 2% and whole. A positive association between skim milk intake and acne was found in teenage girls and boys aged 9-15.
Now whole fat milk comes with it's own set of problems. Whole fat milk is filled with cholesterol and growth hormones, causing a serious long term risk to heart and hormonal health.
Any kind of milk contains a heavy complement of growth-enhancing hormones. Milk is specifically designed to make things grow. Which is why a baby calf quickly becomes a full grown cow within a matter of a few months while still feeding on the mothers milk.
Dairy products and foods with a high glycemic index are considered as the leading causes of acne, according to a review published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Cows produce milk to feed their baby calves and help them grow. The proteins in milk are whey and casein, which help stimulate growth and hormones in calves.
So, what happens when we consume it? When we digest these proteins, they release a hormone comparable to insulin, called IGF-1. This hormone triggers breakouts, and sometimes the hormones in milk can interact with our hormones. This confuses the endocrine system of our body and signals breakouts.
Lactose is the natural sugar present in milk. However, a human digestive system cannot properly digest lactose. It becomes far more difficult for us to break lactose down and digest it after infancy.
As a result, over 65 per cent of people are lactose intolerant, and acne-related breakouts could be due to allergic reactions or lactose sensitivity.
One 2018 analysis examined dairy intake and acne amongst 78,529 adolescents, children, and young adults. The researchers specifically explored the link between acne and dietary intake of:
- different types of dairy, including milk, yoghurt, and cheese
- dairy subgroups, such as low fat, full fat, skim, and whole milk
- dairy at various amounts and frequencies
They found that consuming any dairy was associated with a higher likelihood of acne in people between 7–30 years.
Further, it was also stated that acne was more likely to occur in people who consumed skim milk or low-fat milk. Finally, it was also noted that acne was more likely in people who drank one glass of milk or more in a day than those who drank two to six glasses per week. So clearly, the more dairy you consume, the more likely you will get acne.
What's the alternative? Simple switch to non- dairy nut/ seed milk. Plants do not make cholesterol, so all these options are cholesterol free and much healthier. If you want a slightly higher protein milk options, opt for soy or hemp milk. Oat milk and rice milk are low fat options. I personally suggest a combination of cashew and rice milk or soy and seed milk. These options are available globally to buy at your nearest grocery stores too if you do not have the time to make them at home. but here are a few recipes to get you started:
Researchers came up with a few theories about how consuming dairy can affect acne. The following sections outline them in more detail.
- Growth hormones: Insulin-like growth factor known as IGF-1 is a hormone in the blood. Milk naturally contains IGF-1 and other hormones, including prostaglandins, prolactin, and steroids.
According to one study, adults who drank three servings of milk daily for 12 weeks had 10% higher levels of IGF-1 than those who drank no milk.
Several studies indicate that milk consumption can increase levels of IGF-1 in the blood by 9–20% in children between the age group 10–12 years. IGF-1 can also increase sebum production and oil in the skin that blocks pores and cause acne. Another similar study found that IGF-1 levels were higher in people with acne than those without acne.
- Artificial hormones: Farmers in developed and developing countries treat their cows with a synthetic hormone known as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). This hormone is known to increase milk production and stimulate a cow’s milk production by increasing the levels of IGF-1.
RBGH-treated cows can produce milk with higher levels of IGF-1 than milk from untreated cows. As a result, humans can absorb small amounts of additional IGF-1 when drinking the milk from rBGH-treated cows and aggravate any acne they have.
- Milk proteins: The link between dairy and acne is stronger for skim milk than low fat and whole milk. This suggests that the relationship is because of other things in milk, like milk proteins, rather than the milk fat content.
The main proteins in milk are whey, which increases insulin levels, and casein increases IGF-1. Together these proteins may trigger an acne breakout.
Flaxseed for sensitive skin:
Flaxseeds have recently been the talk of the town for their essential fatty acids. We also know that essential fats like ALA, found in flaxseeds are associated with healthy skin and hair health. But what does science say?
Recently, one reports showed that supplements of flaxseed oil helped diminish skin sensitivity and improved skin barrier function and condition.
Women were given about a half teaspoon of flaxseed oil a day in a randomized, double-blind, 12-week study, internally with safflower oil, as a control.
After three months, it was found that there was a significant decrease in skin reddening in the flax group compared to the safflower group. Further, their skin became significantly better hydrated; it had significantly better barrier function and was smoother.
This study presented that daily supplementation with flaxseed oil can improve skin appearance and decrease skin sensitivity by improving epidermal barrier function and decreasing inflammation.
My suggesting to clients though would be to use flaxseeds as a whole to retain the soluble fiber found in these magical seeds. Simple ground some flaxseed powder for a few days together and include one tbsp of the same to your sabzi's/ salads or smoothies.
Does supplementing with Vitamin B12 cause acne?
Acne is a nearly universal skin disease in westernized societies that afflict up to 95 per cent of teens. However, not even any single case could be found in some populations eating more traditional diets.
This suggests that the high-glycemic foods such as sugar, soda, refined carbs, white flour, breakfast cereal, and dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, cheese, whey, and saturated and trans fats concentrated in meat, dairy, junk, and fast food can trigger acne in teens and adults alike.
The relationship between milk and acne severity can be explained by the presence of normal reproductive sex steroid hormones or the enhanced production of growth hormones such as IGF-1.
Now, you may wonder what Vitamin B12 Induced acne is.
Vitamin B12 modulates the gene expression of our skin bacteria, causing acne. In a study, the skin of 10 people was swabbed before and after being injected with Vitamin B12.
It was found that the level of B12 on our skin is proportional to the level in our blood. Hence, after injection, the bacteria on our skin have to make less of their B12. So, the acne bacteria can concentrate on using their cellular machinery to churn out more compounds of B12 to attack our face.
Again, without excess B12 on the skin, the bacteria will make most of its own at the expense of porphyrins triggering acne inflammation. When there is a lot of B12 floating around, the bacteria can not waste resources and hence can focus on pimpling you up.
This means those on plant-based diets need to take supplemental B12 but not get injections. Vitamin B12-related acne normally occurs only in dosages over 5,000 to 10,000 micrograms a week. So you will only be taking between 5,000 to 10,000 a week is if you are treating B12 deficiency. B12 is important, so always consider supplementing it.
Do sunflower seeds cause acne?
A recent observational study on acne reported a statistically significant relationship between acne severity and sunflower seed consumption. Although sunflower seeds are a good whole-food source of nutrition that helps lower cholesterol levels as much as almonds, there are right and wrong ways to eat them.
Sunflowers are good at drawing the naturally-occurring heavy metal known as cadmium out of the ground. Therefore, sunflowers end up with higher levels than most foods, even when grown in relatively uncontaminated soil.
However, the WHO or World Health Organization recommends staying below 490 micrograms of dietary cadmium per week. So, one handful a day of sunflower seeds is a reasonably safe upper limit.
Fifty young adults were randomized to eat sunflower seeds for a week. In the control group, the acne severity index remained almost the same. However, in the sunflower seed group, they got worse.This translates into three extra pimples in the sunflower group versus one in the control group. This concludes that sunflower seed intake appears to aggravate acne.
But further evidence may be required before banning sunflower seed intake in patients with acne.
Does chocolate cause acne?
Oh the questions of the century! Does chocolate lead to acne.
Old population studies have found links between acne and foods such as dairy, sweets, and chocolate. Old population studies also cited masturabation as a cause for acne, which we now know is simple a load of cra*.
No one food can be more universally condemned when it comes to acne. While we all like to believe that one magical food can cure all our skin problems, this is simple not true.
There was one study published by JAMA that studied the effects of acne and chocolate consumption.
In full disclosure, the study was biased as it was sponsored by companies making money from chocolate. The study divided people in two groups and while one group was given a daily dose of chocolates, the other, a placebo. At the end of the study, it was clear that the chocolate group developed no more acne than the placebo group.
But wait, what did the placebo group eat instead of chocolate?
This is where it gets interesting. The placebo group was given a fake chocolate bar made of hydrogenated vegetables fats and sugars (twice the amount found in chocolate!). But ofcouse the chocolate group did not do worse! They were put to test against something worse than chocolates.
But maybe it is not the cacao beans (what chocolate is made of) directly, but the sugars and dairy in acne which is to blame.
When researchers tested 100% dark chocolate and milk chocolate, they did find acne significantly get worse with the milk chocolate group and not so much with the dark chocolate group. Although, this was one study. Other studies do show that even dark chocolate does lead to acne for acne prone individuals.
Thus, unfortunately, acne patients then need to cut down on all types of chocolates.
How does vegan diet help with acne management?
We now understand that acne can be linked to a high amount of animal protein in the diet. Thus, going Vegan often helps, and here is how:
The Link: Meat and Acne
Our body contains a protein complex known as the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). It is responsible for healthy cell growth and function.
However, some researchers believe that mTORC1 turns on the chain reaction for the body to create acne breakouts. mTORC1 is activated by nutrients, particularly amino acids like leucine. Meat, like beef and chicken, are naturally high in leucine. In addition, certain proteins popular with vegetarians such as egg, whey, and casein are high in this amino acid too.
Certain plants such as soy, spinach and oats are high in leucine too, but nowhere close to the amount found in animals. Besides, plants like soy also have a phytoestrogens effect on the body, meaning, they help reduce the activity of the bad estrogen hormone in the body.
When mTORC1 is overstimulated by high amounts of leucine or its pathway is over-activated, it can affect sebum (or oil) production, inflammation and skin cell growth. Besides this, the over-activation of mTORC1 can increase androgen hormones, which is a big player in acne development.
This hormone has already been linked to certain diseases, like type-2 diabetes and cancer.
- Going Vegan for Acne Control
Like vegetarians, vegans don't eat meat. But vegans also stay away from any food from an animal, such as dairy products, eggs, and honey.
Evidence suggests that dairy plays a role in acne development and severity. Particularly, skim milk and cheese are the most likely culprits. Just like meat, dairy products contain high amounts of leucine.
As mentioned above, studies have shown that the hormones in milk can play a major role. Others point towards the high levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in milk which interestingly stimulates mTORC1.
- Getting to the Root cause of Acne: Gut Health
A diet high in sugar, meat, animal products, and processed foods disrupt hormones and spike insulin levels. It fuels candida overgrowth, IBS, and an array of other digestive problems that fuel acne due to poor gut health. Diet is a large part of the problem and the solution.
The body can break down real foods and extract greater nutrients from them than processed foods, no matter how natural they may claim to be or how many enriched vitamins they claim to have. But, unfortunately, when we eat fake foods, it damages the gut's lining. Therefore it decreases our good bacteria without any other changes in our diets. Read this to understand more:
Ask yourself, how many servings of vegetables and fruits did you have today? what was the last time you had a green leafy vegetable beside spinach? When was the last time you had cruciferous vegetables? Did you include who grains into your diet today?
When digestion is regulated, the toxins will not find their way out of your skin. They will instead be eliminated as the human body prefers to do, and it can all take place within just a week if you stick to a clean diet.
Here are some foods to focus on if you want to get your skin back on track and your body on the right path to healing:
1. Eat Orange-Colored Vegetables: Sweet potato, squash, pumpkin, carrots, and orange bell peppers are rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene. These foods, which convert to vitamin A, improve the digestive track. Additionally, beta-carotene enhances the pigmentation of our skin and helps fight breakouts by reducing inflammation.
2. Focus on Kale and Other Leafy Greens at Every Meal: Kale is high in B vitamins, improving skin health, and high in vitamin E, acting as an antioxidant, reducing inflammation and free radicals.
Additionally, Leafy greens are very high in protein restoring collagen in the skin and helps improve our natural glow, reduce fine lines and breakouts. Finally, it is a great source of iron which improves the blood flow to the skin and restores the metabolism. I suggest my clients a minimum of 50 grams of leafy greens per day, or, a handful at least in every meal.
So think of daal's with leafy greens, sleek some spinach in your paratha's, add lettuce to your smoothies, add watercress and bok choy to your soup's etc.
3. Include something fermented into your diet everyday: Fermented foods can include kimchi, apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut, kefir, real homemade pickles, kombucha etc.
These foods are full of good probiotic cultures and help increase the good gut bacteria to fight off the bad bacteria leading to poor digestion and acne.
4. Stop Eating Fried and Processed Foods: Fast food, junk foods, and anything fried or processed can slow down the elimination process in our body since it clogs down the liver leading to the death of good bacteria.
Further, they feed bad bacteria and make you feel pretty terrible as a result. All those toxins end up with nowhere to go hence they target the skin. The skin being our largest organ is the one that gets left with the burden of releasing them.
This comes out in acne, yet so many people never make this connection. Therefore, try not to be one of them. Instead, take care of your body and face by eating real good and healthy foods.
5. Increase Your Water Intake: It is a good idea to increase your water intake with how many glasses you drink and how many water-rich foods and beverages you drink throughout the day.
Water cleanses our bodies and improves the speed of digestion. Therefore try to include more water-rich foods such as cantaloups, watermelons, cucumbers etc.
6. Eat Sources of Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps reduce inflammation and improve the look of the skin. So eating vitamin C rich foods is a great way to improve our skin health.
Foods rich in vitamin C are limes, lemons, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers, dandelion greens, romaine, kale, parsley, zucchini, Swiss chard, arugula, melons, apples, oranges, and bananas. In addition, Goji and camu are great sources if you enjoy using superfoods.
7. Don’t Leave Out Healthy Fats: Healthy fats helps with skin healing. It is particularly important when you have acne. These fats help reduce inflammation.
The best skin-friendly healthy fats choices include raw pumpkin seeds, olives, raw Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, cacao, pecans, and avocados.
These foods are especially anti-inflammatory and contain amino acids, omega-3s, vitamin B, and certain minerals such as selenium and iron that helps boost skin health further. Additionally, coconut and coconut oil are great for skin health as they act as an anti-fungal in the body. Further, olive oil is a timeless popular anti-inflammatory that can help aid pimple outbreaks.
What foods help your skin?
A diet filled with fruits & vegetables are good for the body and the skin. Healthful foods reduce inflammation and decrease the likelihood of breakouts. Following are some of the big players when it comes to healthy skin:
- Vitamin A: It helps regulate the skin cycle; therefore, no acne-causing protein and oil get trapped. It is the main ingredient in Accutane (i.e., an effective prescription medicine for acne). Good vitamin A food sources are carrots, spinach, broccoli, etc.
- Iodine: Iodine helps in the functioning of a healthy thyroid gland. If your thyroid gland is underachieve or overactive, both skin and hair health get affected. Make sure to include iodised salt to your diet, as it is the most reliable way to ensure you meet your iodine requirements.
- Zinc: People with acne have lower than normal levels of the mineral zinc. Zinc helps prevent acne by creating an environment that is inhospitable to the growth of acnes. Further, it also helps in calming skin irritated by breakouts. Zinc is found in almonds, Brazil nuts, lentils, etc.
- Vitamins E and C: The antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E have a calming effect on our skin. Vitamin C rich foods are oranges, lemons, grapefruit, papaya, and tomatoes. You can obtain vitamin E from nuts, sweet potatoes, olive oil, sunflower seeds, avocados, broccoli, and leafy green vegetables.
- Selenium: Selenium is a mineral comprising several antioxidant properties that help protect our skin from free radical damage. Food sources of selenium are wheat germ, garlic, brazil nuts, and brown rice.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids support the average healthy skin cell turnover that helps keep acne at bay. We get omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed oil, walnuts; sunflower seeds; and almonds.
- Water: Drink plenty of water as it helps hydrate our body and leads to healthy skin. Adequate hydration can also flush out toxins that cause skin problems. Water is also essential for skin metabolism and regeneration.
Foods to avoid
Evidence shows that particular food can increase the likelihood of an acne flare. Some studies scientifically support the role of two food groups in acne promotion. They are dairy products and simple carbohydrates.
- Dairy and Acne: A review at The George Washington University Medical Center shows that cow milk can spark or worsen breakouts in some people. The main culprit is hormones used to encourage growth in cows. The hormones in dairy products can increase levels of male hormones called androgens. Androgens increase sebum production, which is the leading cause of acne.
- Simple sugars: Foods with high glycemic index cause acne breakouts in some people. High glycemic index foods can break down quickly during digestion. They include potatoes, white bread, and sugary drinks and snacks.
Some other reasons for developing acne:
The four severe factors that trigger acne are:
- Excess oil (sebum) production
- Hair follicles clogged by dead skin cells and oil
Certain other things may also trigger or worsen acne. These are:
- Hormonal changes: Hormones known as androgens increase in boys and girls during puberty, and they cause sebaceous glands to swell and secrete more sebum. Further, hormonal changes during midlife, mainly in women, can also lead to breakouts.
- Certain medications: Certain drugs and medicines containing corticosteroids, testosterone or lithium can cause acne.
- Diet: Studies have indicated that consuming certain foods such as carbohydrate-rich foods, like bread, bagels, and chips, may worsen acne.
- Stress: Stress does not trigger acne, but it may worsen if you already have acne.
The following factors have minimal effect on acne:
- Hygiene: Acne is not necessarily triggered by dirty skin. Additionally, scrubbing the skin too hard or cleansing with harsh soaps or chemicals can irritate the skin and worsen acne.
- Cosmetics: Cosmetics do not necessarily worsen acne. Suppose you use oil-free makeup that does not clog pores and remove makeup regularly. Further, Non-oily cosmetics do not interfere with the effectiveness of acne drugs. However, sharing make- up brushes with others, not washing the brushes regularly or not washing your makeup off every 8 hours will make acne worse.
Prevention and management tips for acne-free and clear skin:
Here are a few tips for looking after skin that has acne or is prone to acne.
- Timely wash your face but not more than twice daily with warm water and a mild soap specifically for acne.
- Avoid scrubbing the skin or bursting the pimples. It may push the infection further down and cause more swelling, blocking, and redness.
- Avoid popping pimples which will make scarring likelier.
- Consult a specialist who can treat a pimple that requires rapid removal for cosmetic reasons.
- Refrain from touching the face.
- While talking on the phone, hold the telephone away from the face, as it is likely to contain sebum and skin residue.
- Wash your hands frequently before applying lotions, creams, or makeup.
- Clean spectacles regularly because they collect sebum and skin residue.
- If you have an acne problem on the back, shoulders, or chest, wear loose clothes to let the skin breathe. Further, avoid wearing tight garments, like headbands, caps, and scarves, or wash them regularly if used.
- Do not use oil-based products and choose makeup for sensitive skin.
- Make sure to remove make up before going to bed.
- Use an electric shaver or sharp safety razors while shaving. Further, soften the skin and beard with warm soapy water before applying any shaving cream.
- Keep your hair clean since it collects sebum and skin residue. Additionally, avoid greasy hair products that contain cocoa butter.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure that can cause the skin to produce more sebum. Several acne medications can also increase the risk of sunburn.
- Try to avoid anxiety and stress. Stress and anxiety can increase the production of cortisol and adrenaline, which can exacerbate acne.
- To prevent sweating, try to keep calm and dry in hot and humid climates.
Skin-friendly Indian food for acne:
Following are some of the most common skin-friendly Indian food readily available that you can add to your diet to see impressive results.
- Beetroot: This fruit is rich in vitamin A, vitamin E and other vital minerals such as potassium, magnesium etc., essential for our skin health. Beetroot is a detoxifying agent that helps eliminate harmful toxins from the body.
- Red grapes: Red grapes have antioxidants that help fight free radicals and prevent skin damage. Eating red grapes with seeds can also help prevent the early signs of ageing. Antioxidants are known to treat skin inflammation and are beneficial in healing the redness and swelling around the acne.
- Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are high in vitamin E and zinc, essential for our skin. These seeds also prevent pimples and help in curing cystic acne and marks. Pumpkin seeds have high content of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
- Berries: Dark berries such as blueberries and blackberries are the powerhouse of antioxidants. They place high on the ORAC scale, meaning, they are extremely anti- oxidant. These have a lot of vitamins and minerals that help boost the overall metabolism of our body. Berries have a low-glycemic index to keep blood sugar levels in check.
- Nuts: Nuts such as almonds and walnuts are known as skin food. These nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats, essential for our skin's overall health. Further, they are also rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties, which help heal acne faster.
- Dark vegetables: Dark and leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage etc., have a plethora of nutrients such as iron, folate, calcium, fibre, magnesium, vitamins, etc., which are essential for maintaining an overall nutrient balance in the body.
- Oranges: Oranges are the powerhouse of vitamin C, another essential vitamin for preventing acne. Oranges are known to have anti-inflammatory properties that help in healing the swelling and redness around the acne. Oranges also keep our skin looking rejuvenated for a long time.
Overall, acne management is really about lifestyle management. Part of this includes changes to your nutrition. But also be aware that you will need to changes your sleep habits, curb alcohol consumption and bring in positive changes to your lifestyle.
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