While there is no acne cure diet or clear-skin diet, the foods we eat do contribute to the overall health and appearance of our skin. In fact, acne and diet are so linked many people find that making a few small changes to what they eat can have a tremendous impact on controlling acne breakouts.
If you want to craft your own acne diet, you'll need to learn more about not only the foods that trigger acne breakouts, but also those that help promote clear and healthy skin. The best diet for acne should be equal parts of each of these factors to be successful.
Foods that Contribute to Acne
Many people believe there are certain foods that cause acne, but it's more accurate to say that certain foods can trigger an outbreak of acne in certain people. While the trigger foods will be different for everyone, common food groups that can cause acne flare-ups include:
- Saturated fats. Too many fattening foods in your diet, from fried foods and fatty meats, can cause fluctuations in hormones and a slowdown in nutrients passing into your cells.
- Dairy. Dairy products, including milk, cheese and ice cream, often contain hormones that boost oil production in the skin, which can lead to acne breakouts.
- Processed and refined foods. These foods cause spikes in blood sugar and may contain chemicals that can cause mild allergic reactions and inflammations, both of which can lead to acne.
- Caffeine. Caffeine sources such as coffee, pop and chocolate increase stress levels in your body. Stress itself is a trigger for acne, so limiting caffeine intake can help you avoid unnecessary stress.
While it may not be possible to eliminate all these foods at all times, if you are prone to acne it's a good idea to try limiting or eliminating them one at a time to see if you notice a difference.
Foods for Healthy Skin
Even though your diet can trigger your acne, the good news is it can also help keep outbreaks at bay. There are many foods to help acne (particularly those that contain Vitamin A), including:
- Essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids, found in foods like extra virgin olive oil and other cold-pressed oils, salmon and flax seed, help promote healthy cell membranes, which allow moisture to stay in the skin and prevent harmful bacteria from entering.
- Berries. Most berries are high in antioxidants, which can help protect skin cells from free-radical damage.
- Whole grains. Whole grains contain selenium, which promotes healthy skin cells and may even help limit sun damage to skin cells.