In our multi-part series on acne, so far we’ve covered:
- understanding the root causes of acne (and how to identify the signs of each), and
- the things we should try to include in our diet to heal ourselves and our skin from within.
Next, in this article we see the things we should immediately remove from our diet to wipe out acne.
Statistically robust evidence isn’t conclusive in the exact mechanism of how (and what kind of) dairy causes breakouts. While some dermatologists suggest avoiding skin milk and say whole milk is fine, others point towards the fact that artificially added hormones of dairy animals present in milk is the root cause of hormonal imbalances in dairy consumers leading to acne, and therefore suggest going dairy-free altogether.
Yet, despite the cloudy situation surrounding hows and whys, evidence seems to be conclusive in showing some kind of link between dairy and acne, whether it causes the acne or at the very least makes it worse.
In addition to this, 65% of the population is lactose intolerant – and if you’re one of the 65%, your acne could be a direct result of dairy.
Experts suggest cutting dairy out completely for about 3 months (as it takes at least a month for pimples to appear on the skin) and see what the results are for your skin. If you’re looking for radiant, clear skin, this may be worth a shot. Going dairy-free may just be key to enjoy skin that’s blemish-free.
While salt is something we all need so that the optimum balance of electrolytes is maintained, an excessive salt intake leads to water retention. This, in turn, causes puffiness under your eyes or even on your face.
On the other hand, having too much salt can also lead to dehydration. This may well be making your skin feel dry and rough. In some people, dry skin leads to sebum production going on overdrive which may ultimately lead to acne.
Salt is also known to have a negative impact on collagen production – this means an increase in fine lines and wrinkles, and overall ages skin faster.
The body rapidly breaks down sugar into glucose when it’s been ingested. This causes your insulin levels to spike, leading to an inflammatory state in the body. This state produces enzymes in the body that break down collages. Not only does this lead to wrinkles, this also aggravates inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, eczema and rosacea.
Both white and brown sugars are refined. Some healthier sweeteners include date syrup and date powder, applesauce, pureed bananas and butternut squash, and stevia (which is frequently sold ground into a powder).
Other alternatives are raw honey and maple syrup – but these may not be good for diabetics.
A frequently used alternative is agave syrup; however, agave is naturally high in fructose. The effects in the body post consumption may not be too different from refined sugar,
Simple carbs, much like refined sugar, produces the same inflammatory state in the body due to the spiked insulin level.
What you should avoid – white bread, pasta, candy, deep-friend food, packaged snacks, sodas, commercial jams, ice cream and the like.
What you should include – brown/multigrain bread, whole wheat pasta, nuts, beans and fibrous foods such as fruit and veg.
While red wine has beneficial effects on the skin, most other alcohol does not. Alcohol is rich in sugar and the body’s response to this is the same as that for refined sugar and simple carbs – a spike in blood sugar and depletion of collagen.
Another point to note is the dehydrating effect alcohol has on the body. Being a diuretic substance, alcohol makes the body zap out all the moisture from the skin to redirect it inwards, to the vital organs. This compromises the health of the skin.
What you can do – Clear spirits are comparatively lower in sugar, and choosing OJ, lemon water or coconut water for your mixes can help your body rehydrate quickly.
Processed meats are usually full of sodium which, much like table salt, causes puffiness and blotchy, swollen skin. Additionally, some of the preservatives used in processed meats have been known to destroy collagen (in addition to being cancer-causing).