It’s said that 80% to 85% of 11-30 year olds have acne breakouts. I was one of them.
I remember being hit with a breakout just as we were taking student pictures. Sure, I smiled but still, it was like my face erupted out of spite. Embarrassing but normal especially with the amount of hormones floating around.
Thankfully, my phase ended but it took some doing. Even when I managed to get some relief with certain products, I was still getting flare ups. It didn’t dawn on me that my eating habits may have had something to do with the state of my skin.
Ah, to be young and ignorant again.
Foods That Cause Acne Breakouts
The main forms of acne that hit me were blackheads, where pimples rose to the surface, and white heads, where the pimples stayed underneath my skin and had a hard white tip. Every-so-often, I had those pimples that just stayed below the skin. They’d feel hard and were literally and figuratively irritating.
Fortunately, my acne resided on my face and not on my neck, shoulders, and back. I found some over-the-counter products that provided some help but I was still eating like a teenager. That meant:
- High GI (Glycemic Index) Carbs
- Saturated Fats
I loved cookies and coke (the drink, not the drug). Coke was the best because it had a tanginess that I liked and was available. Then there were the commercials that always hit the spot.
As far as cookies, my favorites were those Oreo-types. They were the low fat/fat free knockoffs that doubled down on sugar because you can’t take out one without doling out more of the other.
Then there was the school lunch food.
If I didn’t take my lunch, I would partake in the pillow-back square pizza they had (along with my coke, of course). I had sugar, starch, and all kinds of fat going on, because I’ve never met a pizza where the fat wasn’t free.
Foods with high glycemic indices, such as soft drinks, cookies, and pizza increase insulin. Increased insulin causes oil glands to work overtime. The more sebum secreted, the higher your risks of breakout. Combine that diet with hormones, it’s a wonder I didn’t suffer more scarring due to increased inflammation.
It’s a cycle that many teens and young adults go through without realizing the long term consequences on their skin.
Help Your Skin Heal From Acne
Food diversity is a great way to help your skin heal from acne breakouts. From a holistic point of view, skin care is an inside-out operation. With that in mind, here are some food groupings to consider
Brown Rice and Whole Wheat Bread. I’m not a fan of brown rice unless it’s cooked with coconut milk. The richness of the milk helps me tolerate the taste of the rice. Toasted whole wheat multi-grain bread is a favorite. Whole grains are complex carbohydrates that take time to enter your bloodstream. They don’t affect blood sugar as readily as their white counterparts. As a result, you’re not releasing excess insulin.
Beans, peas, and lentils are great in soups, stews, salads, and such. One of the Jamaican staples is rice and peas. I prefer white but it can be made with brown rice, red peas, and coconut milk. If you’ve never heard of rice and peas, check out this video. It goes with anything OR you can eat it by itself:
Fresh fruits and vegetables
I love salads. When my high school got a salad bar, I hit it hard. Leafy greens like spinach, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, chick peas, all of these are great foods that help fight inflammation. Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables contain vitamin A, which helps reduce oil production as well as prevents dead skin cells from clogging pores.
Lycopene comes from tomatoes and it helps reduce redness from acne as well as helps with skin regeneration. Spinach is a great source of iron, calcium, as well as Vitamins A, C & E, all of which work to combat acne by reducing inflammation, oil production and helping the skin heal from scarring.
More Seeds, Less nuts
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews may contribute to acne breakouts. The reasoning varies but some nuts have high Omega-6, which is more inflammatory to the skin. Others suggest that nuts are high fat and hard to digest. The combination of this contributes to acne. If you notice that your skin flares up after eating nuts, you may want to stop eating them for a time and try eating seeds.
Seeds such as flax, pumpkin and hemp are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3, Hemp seed oils are great for helping acne. Pumpkin seeds have selenium, which helps improve acne redness and discoloration.
Sardines, Pacific Salmon, Fresh Mackerel are examples of some of the kinds of fatty fish with essential fatty acids that fight acne breakouts.
If you’re not a fruit and vegetable person or are finding it hard to make that adjustment in your diet, you can still get those nutrients in. One way is with SJJ Depot Liquid Capsule Multivitamins. Each capsule has more than 40 fruits and vegetables that are easily digested to prevent stomach upset. With that many ingredients, you can imagine the number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it contains. Over 95% of those who use it are happy with it, many stating that they just feel better!
These are just some of the dietary changes many recommend to help your skin from the inside.
Healing Skin From The Outside
When cleansing faces, you may think that applying more pressure when washing your face, or using a harsher scrub cleaners will help acne leave faster. This only makes it worse. There’s no such thing as a sprint, when it comes to acne; it’s only a marathon.
That means gentle scrubbing with the right products and time to let them do their job. Making sure your pores are clean and free of bacteria isn’t an overnight job. Here are some products designed to help you recover from acne breakouts:
This acne cleanser has seven ingredients in a bottle including aloe vera, pomegranate oil, St Johns Wort and more. The cleanser washes away excess oil, and dirt, kills the bacteria and moisturizes skin while soothing inflammation.
Users with rosacea have used this product and says it makes a difference. One woman who was a Proactiv user for 10 years was pleasantly surprised by how much better it worked for her skin, especially hydration.
Activated charcoal is an ingredient you don’t see in many acne cleansers. But it removes toxins and absorbs excess oil from your skin helping to balance it out. It’s also got green tea, white tea and rooibos tea as ingredients to help the skin defend itself from environmental toxins. Those struggling with problem skin and have tried a long list of products that didn’t work say this was the one that helped to free their skin from acne breakouts.
Of course, after cleansing, you’ll want to add a facial oil to make sure your healing skin is moisturized. Making sure you tackle the acne from all angles is one of the ways to make sure you control and even eliminate breakouts.
“Acne.” National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 21 Mar. 2018, www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/acne.