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Foods for Inflammation & Acne

Foods for Inflammation & Acne Foods for Inflammation & Acne

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that affects 85 percent of U.S. teenagers, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. However, acne can affect anyone at any age. It is commonly characterized by mild to severe pimples or "zits," that usually appear on the face, chest and/or back. Inflammation is one of the key processes involved in the development of acne, but by increasing your intake of certain foods, you can help to reduce it and possibly prevent further breakouts from occurring.

Essential Fatty Acids

Salmon, particularly wild-caught salmon, is high in eicosapentaenoic acids (EHAs) and docosahexaenoic acids (DHAs), which are potent omega-3 essential fatty acids. These are converted to substances in the body that help to regulate inflammatory response (see reference 3). Mackerel and sardines are also rich in omega-3s. Walnuts and flax seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant source of omega 3 fatty acids that like oily fish help to reduce inflammatory conditions, including acne.


Some vegetables may help reduce inflammation associated with acne. Green vegetables, including broccoli, spinach and cabbage, contain vitamins and minerals important for skin health and also contain anti-inflammatory enzymes. Deficiencies in certain nutrients are associated with inflammation and acne. Consuming a wide range of vegetables, particularly green ones, may help to prevent or improve the condition. Vegetables within the allium family, such as onions and garlic have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Onions contain quercetin, a recognized antioxidant and flavanoid that can inhibit inflammation. Allicin, the active form of garlic, is known for its anti-bacterial action, which similarly may help to reduce the inflammation related to acne. Sweet potato, an often overlooked vegetable, is rich in skin nutrients, including vitamin C, which is vital for skin health; and Vitamin B6, which has been linked with female hormonal balance and acne. Rich in powerful antioxidants, sweet potato aids skin renewal and helps heal inflammation in the body.

Herbs and Spices

Adding herbs to your food not only boosts flavor, but may decrease inflammation and improve acne.

Herbs such as basil and parsley help rid the body of toxins that increase acidity levels in the blood, stimulate the growth of the P. acnes bacteria (associated with acne development), and encourage inflammation. Turmeric, rich in the compound curcumin, and ginger, rich in gingerols, have strong anti-inflammatory properties.

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