While the old adage that “eating chocolate gives you zits” is considered out-of-date, new evidence indicates that your diet does play a role in the health of your skin. If you are suffering from acne or someone in your family is having trouble with it, here are some nutritional tips that may help.
Acne in Babies
Nutritional approaches to managing baby acne usually involve changes in the mother’s diet or in the formula type, since baby acne usually occurs in newborns. For nursing mothers, here are some tips:
* Cut out dairy and soy products from your diet (these two substances are common allergens in newborns).
* Cut out citrus fruits from you diet as well, as citrus fruits can transfer to breast milk and may cause skin inflammation.
* Take in healthy amounts of good fats like flax and olive oil.
For those who feed formula, check with your pediatrician to make sure no allergies to soy and/or dairy present in the formula are worsening the acne.
As a teen, it can be really tempting to indulge in junk food. And many teens have those amazing metabolisms that allow them to eat pizza and nachos three times a day and not gain weight! But nutritional tips for acne healing still apply to teens.
These include a recommendation to eat low-glycemic foods.
Some interesting studies have shown a connection between insulin levels and acne – higher insulin correlating with increased acne. If you eat lots of sugar and refined grains, your insulin levels will increase in order to keep blood sugar levels stable in the midst of an influx of sugar. The increased insulin levels may worsen acne. So in a very real sense, sugar may make your acne worse.
Low-glycemic foods include lean protein, whole grains, and vegetables. Whole fruits have a lower glycemic level than juice.
Here are some specific ways you can incorporate or substitute high-glycemic foods with low-glycemic ones:
* Homemade popcorn instead of potato chips or corn chips
* Granola instead of sugary cereal
* Naturally-sweetened beverages instead of sugary drinks like colas
* Whole grain pasta instead of refined semolina pasta
* Whole grain breads (homemade if possible) instead of white
Many of the dietary guidelines for teens apply to adults, too – insulin may still play a role in adult acne. So switching to low-glycemic foods might be a good idea (it’s considered a healthier diet anyway). Other tips for adults include:
* Include healthy fats in the diet
* Take a high-quality multi-vitamin supplement
* Limit sugar and refined grains
* Emphasize high-fiber foods