Almost everyone experiences an occasional flare-up of acne. It’s most prevalent during adolescence, afflicting 85% of teenagers to some degree. A growing number of adults also experience acne especially women in their twenties and again after menopause. Diet and Acne have been linked together in many studies.
Clear, glowing skin reflects overall good health. A healthy, balanced diet that follows these guidelines can help prevent acne and boost overall skin quality.
DIET AND ACNE
Limit dairy products and high-glycemic foods: Cut down on your consumption of milk if you suspect that it’s causing acne flare-ups. Cut down on sugary soft drinks and foods made with white flour, or avoid them altogether.
Eat vitamin A-and C-rich foods: They help build and maintain healthy skin. Sebum, fat, and epithelial cells in the oily secretion of the sebaceous gland contribute to acne. Beta-carotene, which is converted by the body into vitamin A, may reduce the production of those cells. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and may help stimulate the growth of new skin cells. The best dietary sources of beta-carotene are brightly colored fruits and dark green vegetables. Citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, melons, peppers, broccoli, and cabbage are especially rich in vitamin C.
Eat foods rich in vitamin B6: It’s found in meat, fish, poultry, whole grains, beans, lentils, avocados, nuts, potatoes, bananas, and leafy greens. Vitamin B6 may reduce acne by helping to regulate hormones implicated in the development of acne lesions.
Eat foods rich in zinc: Some studies link this mineral to skin health and claim it may help to improve acne. Zinc promotes healthy hormone levels and advances in healing. Seafood — especially oysters — red meat, poultry, and whole grains are rich in zinc.
Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids can help ward off the inflammation of acne. Fish and flaxseed are rich in these healthy fats.
Do not attempt to self-treat acne with supplements. In most cases, it’s best to obtain nutrients through food, and taking high doses of vitamins and minerals might worsen the condition.
Some studies show that high doses of vitamins B6 and B12 can aggravate acne, and high doses of vitamin A can cause dry, flaking skin and hair loss. Excessive intake of vitamin A has also been linked with the risk of osteoporosis.
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BEYOND THE DIET:
Good nutrition is the first line of defense, but these other measures can help.
Avoid smoking: Nicotine causes narrowing of the blood vessels, which hinders blood flow to the skin.
Try over-the-counter medications: Most persistent mild to moderate acne can be controlled with proper skincare, good nutrition, and nonprescription drugs, such as 2.5 to 10% strength benzoyl peroxide gel, lotion, or ointment.