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How to Help Heal Acne With Food

  1. Minimize Sugar & Simple Carbs, and essentially all high-glycemic foods. These foods break down quickly in the body, triggering an insulin spike and raising blood sugar levels. They trigger hormonal fluctuations and Inflammation—both of which encourage acne. Avoid or cut down on all processed sugary foods and juices, refined wheat products (cereals, cookies, cakes, breaded things, even plain white bread), and limit white rice and white potatoes.
  2. Eat Complex Carbs Filled With Fiber. Aim to have a serving of sweet root vegetables like sweet potato, yams, carrots, squash, and/or whole grains like quinoa and oats. If you have an autoimmune disease, gut issues or sensitivity to grains, avoid whole grains and opt for sweet root vegetables as your fiber-rich carbs.
  3. Eat “Clean” Protein with each meal to help maintain your blood sugar. Focus on lean protein, which can be both plant-based (ex. lentils and other legumes, nuts, seeds, and animal protein, such as organic/wild cage-free eggs, free-range chicken).
  4. Eat Healthy Fats (in particular those with high quantities of Omega-3 fatty acids) as they are essential to lower inflammation and lower androgens. Eat Plenty of flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and consider taking an Omega-3 supplement.
  1. Eat Foods That Aid in Liver Detoxification as they help your liver to remove excess hormones. Eat Plenty of: cruciferous veggies (like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, arugula, cabbage, brussel sprouts), cilantro and parsley, beets, and all dark leafy greens. Also, try adding superfood and greens made with antioxidant-rich foods – to your morning smoothies.
  2. Eliminate or Reduce Dairy: This One’s Huge! Especially cow’s milk. Cow’s milk in particular tends to spike blood sugar, which can increase inflammation. A lot of commercial dairy products contain other hormones that disrupt your hormonal balance. Dairy also contains iodine which is known to exacerbate acne.
  3. Heal Your Gut. Your gut is closely linked to your hormones and skin health. Having a healthy gut is essential. Taking probiotics to help reduce inflammation in the gut, will help reduce acne. Taking a supplement and eating foods like sauerkraut or kimchi which are alkaline foods can help balance out the acid in our body thereby cutting down inflammation.
lady avoiding foods

Foods to Avoid!

Stay Away From “high androgen” foods. These are found in Peanuts, Peanut Oil, Peanut Butter, Corn Oil, Wheat Germ, Shellfish, Organ Meats (i.e. Liver, Sweetbreads and Heart). These contain hormones that exacerbate acne. Stay away from foods, vitamin supplements and sports drinks/bars containing iodides. Iodized Salt, Seafood, Fish, Seaweed, Fast Food and Dairy Products (Cows Lick Iodized Salt Licks), and especially Kelp Tablets (some people take these for thyroid support). Contrary to popular notion, chocolate and greasy foods (unless they contain salt, which most do) do not aggravate acne.

Tricks to Outsmarting Acne

Some Swimming Pool Disinfectants Contain Iodides and Chlorine, which can remain in the water, causing skin problems for frequent swimmers. Many swimmers find that the combination of hot and humid weather, the physical exercise of swimming and the chlorinated pools, can cause major acne flare-ups. An acceptable solution is to apply a layer of vaseline all over after you have applied SPF and let it absorb. It will protect your skin but will not clog your pores or exacerbate acne.

Don’t Pick! Instead of picking, rub ice on pustules and pimples for about five minutes, twice a day and apply the M.A.D. Zinc and sulfur mask, redness rescue or delicate mask.

Zinc has been shown to be useful in treating acne. Research indicates that the form of zinc taken may be important. Studies have indicated that zinc monomethionine is more easily used by the body than either zinc sulfate or zinc gluconate. It is usually best to take zinc with food to avoid an upset stomach. The recommended dosage for supplements varies (50-100 mg) – but some research suggests that it is probably best to take no more than 100 mg per day as a dietary supplement (excessive zinc intake may lead to deficiencies in other vitamins and minerals).

Use fragrance-free detergents such as Cheer Free, All Free & Clear, Tide Free, or Arm& Hammer. Do not use fabric softeners and/or fabric softener sheets in the dryer, especially on pillowcases as they cause a waxy residue that can clog pores on acne-prone individuals.

Avoid low-estrogen birth control pills, Norplant, Provera, and Depo-Provera. Also, progesterone hormone replacement Premarin can be problematic. If you have polycystic ovaries, they will cause hormonal changes and breakouts. Also, the taking of birth control pills may delay the onset of acne and once off them, you may experience the acne you would’ve had before taking them.

Do not use cosmetics OR hair products that contain pore-clogging ingredients. These ingredients cause micro-comedones to form in certain individuals resulting in various lesions ranging from clogged pores and blackheads to inflammatory pustules. Hair products will also transfer to your pillowcase and then to your face. If you have doubts about yours check the Ingredient listing: Isopropyl Myristate, Cetyl Alcohol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Laureth-4, Natural Vitamin E, most natural oils, Cocoa Butter and D & C Red Dyes all irritate acne. Benzoyl Peroxide medications found in cosmetic departments may contain Isopropyl Myristate and Laureth-4 or oils that impede the active ingredient of Benzoyl Peroxide. Watch out for “oil-free” products. They contain synthetic oils (fatty acids), D&C red dyes and detergents that can aggravate acne.

Limit Sun Exposure and Use a Sunscreen. Although sun exposure causes desirable scaling and drying, it also damages the follicle and exacerbates hyperpigmentation. Be aware that warm climates with heat and humidity can exacerbate acne. Let your esthetician know if you plan on visiting a humid or hot climate so she can recommend some strategies to help you maintain your progress.

Pore Clogging Ingredients in Skin Care

Here’s a list of ingredients to avoid in food as well as hair care and skin care products.

  • Acetylated Lanolin
  • Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol
  • Algae Extract
  • Algin
  • Butyl Stearate
  • Carrageenan
  • Cetearyl Alcohol + Ceteareth 20
  • Cetyl Acetate
  • Chlorella
  • Chondrus Crispus (aka Irish Moss or Carageenan Moss)
  • Coal Tar
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Coconut Alkanes
  • Coconut Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • Colloidal Sulfur
  • Cotton Awws Oil
  • Cotton Seed Oil
  • D & C Red # 17
  • D & C Red # 21
  • D & C Red # 3
  • D & C Red # 30
  • D & C Red # 36
  • Decyl Oleate
  • Dioctyl Succinate
  • Disodium Monooleamido PEG 2- Sulfosuccinate
  • Ethoxylated Lanolin
  • Ethylhexyl Palmitate
  • Glyceryl Stearate SE
  • Glyceryl-3 Diisostearate
  • Hexadecyl Alcohol
  • Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
  • Isocetyl Alcohol
  • Isocetyl Stearate
  • Isodecyl Oleate
  • Isopropyl Isostearate
  • Isopropyl Linolate
  • Isopropyl Myristate
  • Isopropyl Palmitate
  • Isostearyl Isostearate
  • Isostearyl Neopentanoate
  • Kelp
  • Laminaria Digitata Extract
  • Laminaria Saccharina Extract (Laminaria Saccharine)
  • Laureth-23
  • Laureth-4
  • Lauric Acid
  • Mink Oil
  • Myristic Acid
  • Myristyl Lactate
  • Myristyl Myristate
  • Octyl Palmitate
  • Octyl Stearate
  • Oleth-3
  • Oleyl Alcohol
  • PEG 16 Lanolin
  • PEG 200 Dilaurate
  • PEG 8 Stearate
  • PG Monostearate
  • Plankton
  • Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate
  • Potassium Chloride
  • PPG 2 Myristyl Propionate
  • Propylene Glycol Monostearate
  • Red Algae
  • Sea Whip Extract
  • Seaweed
  • Shark Liver Oil (Squalene)
  • Shea Butter
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Solulan 16
  • Sorbitan Oleate
  • Soybean Oil
  • Spirulina
  • Steareth 10
  • Stearic Acid Tea
  • Stearyl Heptanoate
  • Sulfated Castor Oil
  • Sulfated Jojoba Oil
  • Wheat Germ Glyceride
  • Wheat Germ Oil
  • Xylene

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