Summer is such a fun time of year for many people. The sun is shining, the weather is warm, the day stretches on and on as the sun takes its sweet time setting in the sky.
However, all this extra heat and sunlight also means more opportunity to sweat, and more sweat can mean oily skin and an increased chance of acne breakouts.
Surely, you already have a skincare regimen in place, one that likely includes, at the very least, a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen, but what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on your body. The food you eat can greatly help reduce your chances of getting an acne breakout this summer. Let’s take a look of your summertime diet to keep acne at bay.
Acne Fighting Foods
Acne affects up to 50 million Americans each year, making it the number one skin condition affecting people in the United States. Acne can occur at any age and during any time of year.
hile proper skin care and proper doses of vitamin D (either via sunlight or supplement) can greatly reduce the likelihood of any unwanted blemishes or breakouts, certain foods are excellent in promoting good skin health.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
People living in the Western part of the world, which includes the United States, do not consume as many omega-3 fatty acids as countries in the East. Adults should consume approximately 250 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily to reap its acne-fighting benefits, and while seafood is one of the best sources, omega-3s can also be found in:
- chia seeds
Antioxidants are another acne prevention wonder.
Antioxidants are molecules that essentially give electrons to free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause damage to the body like acne.
Like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants can be consumed via the food you eat and the beverages you drink. Chief among those beverages is green tea. Green tea is one of the healthiest things you can drink because of its laundry list of health benefits, including improved brain function, boosting metabolism, fighting cancer, and preventing breakouts. Green tea contains polyphenols called catechins, and these catechins have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, which are beneficial in reducing swelling, redness, and bacteria associated with acne. Foods that have the effect and are high in antioxidants include:
- bell peppers
- red wine
Zinc is another nutrient high in anti-inflammatory content believed to help reduce acne. It also promotes natural killer cells, a form of white blood cells in the body, which work to fight infection and bacteria. Adults should consume 8-11 mg of zinc daily, and this can be done by through eating zinc-rich foods like:
- black beans
- pumpkin seeds
- brown rice
- pine nuts
Finally, probiotics, are a great way to nourish your body from the inside out. Comprised of good bacteria that benefits your gut, probiotics are found in any food that has live cultures. Since probiotics work to improve digestive health by eliminating bad bacteria, they can work to improve your skin infections and inflammation caused by the bacteria. Foods with lots of probiotics include:
- other fermented foods
Acne Inducing Foods
For every yin, there is a yang. For every night, there is a day. For every acne-fighting food, there’s a food that you should avoid. That’s right, just as there are foods that preserve and enhance the integrity of your skin, there are foods that can actually cause your skin to breakout.
Summer offers the best excuse to indulge in cool, sweet treats like milkshakes and ice cream. Unfortunately, however, dairy can greatly increase your chances of getting acne or experiencing an acne breakout. This is due, in large part, to the presence of something called insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1. IGF-1 increases inflammation, as well as increases the production of sebum, an oil that moisturizes the skin and hair. On overproduction of sebum can result in too much oil on the skin, which can cause breakouts, especially during the summer months when the skin is already over-exposed to extra moisture in the form of sweat. You can help keep your skin blemish-free and healthy by reducing your intake of:
- ice cream
High Glycemic Index (GI) Foods
The GI ranks the amount of carbohydrates present in food, which helps you gain an understanding of how slowly or quickly certain foods will be digested, absorbed, and metabolized. Foods with a high GI should be avoided for a number of health reasons, acne being just one of them. One study in Turkey showed a direct correlation between adolescents who consumed foods with a high GI and acne. Out of those who participated in the study 60% of the teens had acne with those reporting no acne symptoms also reporting a more nutritious diet full of low GI foods. These types of food consist of:
- white bread
- white rice
- white potatoes
- anything fried
- anything processed
- anything containing refined sugar
Anything processed and high in saturated fats should be avoided if you are prone to breakouts.
This can be challenging during the summer when it is sometimes too hot to cook so you order out, or you’re attending lots of barbecues where the menu is loaded with store-bought, quick grab-and-go food choices. Fast food contains cytokines which actually promote inflammation and can therefore promote acne. are also big no-no’s when it comes to skin health, as all are high in saturated fat, another inflammation-inducing, acne trigger. Some examples of foods with saturated fat include:
- frozen pizza
- junk food
- snacks like potato chips
- foods containing shortening
- fast food
A common misconception is that chocolate can trigger acne. But this is only partially true. The type of chocolate you eat is what makes all the difference.
Dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher actually has some health benefits, including a high antioxidant content and flavanols that can help increase blood flow and prevent pores from clogging or bacteria from forming.
Milk chocolate, on the other hand, should be avoided. Again, dairy plays a role here, as does sugar content, which can up the carb content, thus upping the GI, which can lead to clogged pores, inflammation, and an increased presence of bacteria.
What if my diet isn’t the problem?
As Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine, and let medicine be your food.” However, if you’re eating all the right foods and you know diet isn’t to blame for your blemishes, there are topicals you can try, like CBDMEDIC™’s Acne Treatment. Our 2-step regimen of a foam cleanser and medicated cream is non-comedogenic and utilizes emollients like tea tree oil, jojoba oil, THC-free hemp extract, and naturally derived ingredients that will refresh the skin. The medicated cream, with its active ingredient of Salicylic Acid consists of a blend of all-natural ingredients like bentonite clay, eucalyptus oil, and peppermint oil that serves to soothe the skin and prevent future acne breakouts.
Care for your skin this summer!
Fun in the sun usually comes with a healthy glow. By eating healthy foods free from dairy and saturated fats, you can keep that healthy glow blemish free this summer.