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Acne is the most common skin condition in the world.
There are different types of acne, from hormonal acne that is expressed on the chin and jaw line to the acne found on the forehead caused by bacteria. Our skin is a reflection of our overall health, and that’s why proper care and hydration are so important. Nevertheless though, great skin often starts from the inside out and it’s no surprise that researchers are now turning to diet for the answer. By studying indigenous communities from Okinawa, Papua New Guinea, to the Canadian North West Territories, researchers learnt that a dietary intake primarily consisting of high fiber, plenty of antioxidants, high omega 3 fatty acids, low in sugar, and dairy had the most significant improvements in acne
Three recent studies from Harvard’s School of Public Health revealed that total milk intake was associated with acne. Other forms such as cheese were also implicated, yet fermented yogurt was not. Scientists hypothesize that Milk & Cheese contain hormones that promote acne and that they may also spike insulin levels.
Sugar is inflammatory, and cutting out the sweets will have health benefits that go far beyond your skin.
Speaking of inflammation, the benefits of a high omega 3 fatty acid diet in reducing acne is primarily found in its anti-inflammatory effects. In a study involving over 1,000 teens, those consuming the greatest amounts of saltwater fish and seafood had the lowest prevalence of both oily skin and every type of acne lesion. However, most people are infrequent consumers of fish so a high-quality fish oil rich in omega 3 fatty acids is the answer.
A whole foods diet, rich in antioxidants such as vitamins and minerals as well as protein and fiber has shown to be effective in reducing acne. These are the foundational nutrients that help your body heal and fend off inflammation. Foods rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Zinc all show documented benefits for your skin, so cut out the processed food and get into your beans, nuts, legumes, your organic meats, fruits and vegetables.
In Naturopathic Medicine, we have a saying, the gut is the gateway to health, and the premise for us is that the skin is an extension of our guts and therefore having a healthy digestive tract is fundamental. One major way to improve our digestion and is proven to help with acne is taking probiotics to strengthen our gut bacteria. Over the past five years we are learning so much about how our bacteria can impact our body. We can also feed our healthy bacteria by increasing our intake of fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi.