Diet for Acne Prone Skin
Acne is a skin condition that causes clogged pores, whiteheads, blackheads and pimples. It is caused by excessive oil production, though other factors, such as hormones, genetics and stress may contribute. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, acne is the most common skin disease, affecting up to 45 million Americans at any given time. A nutrient-rich diet, combined with good hygiene and medical treatment, when needed, may help prevent or alleviate acne.
By incorporating various foods and nutrients, a diet for acne-prone skin aims to prevent or reduce the frequency and intensity of acne outbreaks. Since food allergies may contribute to acne, diets may also involve avoiding foods believed to trigger outbreaks, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Acne preventative diets may also aim to manage blood sugar (glucose) levels, since erratic blood sugar may also cause outbreaks.
Certain nutrients may help prevent or reduce acne outbreaks. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, vitamin A--a group of water-soluble nutrients that support cell division, reproductive health, the immune system and physical development--may provide benefits to acne medications known as retinoid drugs. Zinc--a mineral the body requires in trace amounts--may also reduce acne symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids--healthy fats the body must obtain from food--may reduce skin inflammation associated with acne. Since dietary supplements can cause harmful side effects and interact with medications, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests doctor's approval and guidance before taking them.
A healthy, balanced diet is the optimum way to obtain valuable nutrients, including vitamin A, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin A is present in cod liver oil, fortified breakfast cereals, eggs, butter, fortified milk, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, cantaloupe, mangoes, spinach, broccoli, kale and butternut squash. Oysters, beef, poultry, lobster, cashews, yogurt, various beans and raisin bran cereal provide valuable amounts of zinc. Food sources of omega-3 fatty acids include wild salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, ground flaxseed, walnuts and canola oil. Whole grains and lean protein can support blood sugar management, which may also reduce acne, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
It is a common myth that certain foods cause acne. However, the notion that chocolate, oil, sugar, milk, seafood or other foods cause acne lacks scientific evidence, according to "Acne Messages: Crack the Code of Zits and Say Goodbye to Acne" by Naweko San-Joyz. Foods that cause inflammation due to allergic reactions may trigger acne as well as additional allergy symptoms in some people. Unless allergies are present, there is little need to avoid particular foods to reduce acne.
A balanced, nutrient-rich diet may help prevent or reduce acne symptoms. The Mayo Clinic recommends a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources as a means of improving skin appearance. If certain foods seem to trigger acne outbreaks, allergy testing may prove beneficial. Stress relief, proper hygiene and use of oil-free cosmetics and skin care products may also help. Severe acne may require medical treatment.
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