Acne treatment Acne treatment

Clear Skin Diet Tips

Clear Skin Diet Tips

Acne is not just for teenagers anymore. Adult acne persists, especially in women, well past the thirties. Over 25 percent of 40- to 49-year-old women reported facial acne, according to a 2008 survey by University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers. Despite popular belief to the contrary, researchers believed diet was unrelated to acne development as recently as 2007. New research, however, indicates diet as a major culprit of blemish formation.

Avoid Dairy

Authors Elsa Spencer, Ph.D., Hope Ferdowsian, M.D., M.P.H. and Neal Barnard, M.D. of a 2009 diet and acne review article in the "International Journal of Dermatology" concluded that dairy products, including fat-free dairy and skim milk, contribute to acne. This poses a problem since dairy is a major source of calcium needed for strong bones. To bypass dairy without forsaking calcium and other nutrients, try switching to a fortified, unsweetened soy milk or rice milk. Other good sources of calcium include spinach, collards and turnip greens.

Choose Lower GI Foods

The glycemic index (GI) indicates the extent a particular food affects blood sugar levels. Foods with a higher GI send blood sugar skyrocketing, while lower-GI foods keep levels more stable. Researchers of a 2008 pilot study in "Molecular Nutrition and Food Research" have found that diets with a high glycemic load increase the amounts of hormones that aggravate acne. Glycemic load is the cumulative effect of a meal or daily diet on blood sugar levels. Diets with low glycemic loads are higher in fiber and lower in saturated fat and include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, poultry and fish.

Eat Your Veggies

Eating more foods high in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, and vitamin E may improve skin clarity. The authors of a 2006 study in the journal "Clinical and Experimental Dermatology," looked at blood concentrations of vitamins A and E in relation to acne and found people with lower amounts of these vitamins developed more acne compared to those with higher vitamin A and E blood levels. Foods high in beta-carotene include carrots, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potatoes, kale, and other dark green or orange fruits and vegetables. To get more vitamin E, eat more sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts and processed tomato products such as sauces.

Increase Omega 3s

Acne involves inflammation of the skin and oil glands. Certain types of fat can either exacerbate or calm inflammation. Both omega-6 and omega-3 fats are types of polyunsaturated fatty acids. They compete with one another for metabolism. Since omega-6 fats are more prevalent in the typical American diet, they monopolize metabolism sites and decrease processing of plant-based omega-3 fats, found in walnuts and pumpkin seeds. This is why it is important to get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids from fish, such as salmon, since it has already been metabolized into its active form. Omega-6 fats cause more inflammation and can make acne worse. Omega-3 fats have the opposite effect. They calm the skin and oil glands leading to speedy healing and prevent more acne from forming. To reduce the amount of omega-6 fats and increase the amount of omega-3 fats in the diet, eat meat less often and replace with fish or shellfish. Use canola or flaxseed oils more often than other vegetable oils or fats. Watch out for salad dressing that contain oils high in omega-6 fats.

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