How To Prevent and Heal Acne

Acne can be a big nuisance for most people at some stage in their life. Research shows that about 80% of people will have acne at some point in life, most commonly, but not solely, between the ages of 11 to the age of 30. [1]

The causes of acne vulgaris are many: hormones, bacteria, genetics, stress, and skin cell abnormalities. It’s usually a combination of some of these factors rather than just one cause. [2] 

Treating acne is traditionally performed with medication or with contraceptive pills. Still, lifestyle changes can be an even better line of treatment, as this often addresses the causes behind the acne. The association between diet and acne can no longer be dismissed.

In this chapter, I will reveal how diet and supplements can help you heal from acne. If you are unable to treat your acne using these methods wholly, they will undoubtedly help control and reduce the condition. 

The Perfect Diet for Treating Acne:

A Diet With Little Blood Sugar Fluctuations

The first dietary change that you need to do to control acne is to follow a diet that doesn’t cause excessive blood sugar fluctuations. Research has shown us that sugary foods which cause blood sugar levels to high rise are connected with increased acne problems. [3] On the other hand, studies show that people who eat less sugary foods or no added sugar foods have much less acne. [4] Often, people suggest avoiding chocolate and wine or other alcoholic drinks to reduce acne. Still, the theme behind this is the high sugar content and the high glycemic index of these foods. This is particularly evident in western world countries where sugary foods are commonly consumed, while acne is much less common in countries following more traditional diets. [5]

A Diet With Low/No Dairy Products

When trying to heal from acne, it’s also vital to stop consuming dairy products. Scientists have already shown that consuming dairy products in any amount can increase your risk of acne development. [6] Furthermore, milk and other dairy products cause the production of hormones like IGF-1, which is known to be a significant cause of acne.

An Anti-Inflammatory Diet

The best way of treating acne when it comes to diet is by consuming anti-inflammatory foods. [7] Following an anti-inflammatory diet means eating omega-3 rich foods, colorful anti-oxidant rich vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.  It’s best to stick to whole-foods while avoiding processed foods.

Anti-inflammatory foods that significantly lower acne symptoms:

Vegetables: especially sweet potato, zucchini, cauliflower, peppers, broccoli, spinach, beets, butternut squash.

Legumes: especially black beans, all lentils, and chickpeas.

Fruits especially grapefruits, apples, cherries, all berries, peaches, avocados.

Protein-rich grains: especially quinoa, black “forbidden” rice, and buckwheat.

Nuts and seeds.

Dairy substitutes:  especially cashew, almond, and coconut milk.

Oils:  Very little, but when using, aim only for olive or coconut oil.

Beverages: Water, sparkling water, lemon in water, and herbal teas. Avoid unsweetened juices, and beverages with chemical sugar substitutes.

Herbs that are recommended include nettle leaf tea, red clover tea, lemon balm tea or drops, mullein leaf tea, and goldenseal. These can be taken as tea. But, if you take medications, it is advisable to consult with a herbal specialist to check any interactions before beginning treatment. 

Supplements That Help with Acne

In addition to a healthy diet, certain supplements can also help with acne. 

Vitamin D is shown to have strong anti-inflammatory attributes, making Vitamin D supplements the right choice in acne treatment. [8] Often during winter months vitamin D may be deficient. In such cases, I recommend taking a 2000 International units vitamin D3 supplement together with vitamin K2 to help vitamin D distribution.

Zinc is responsible for maintaining skin health, and studies have shown that zinc supplements can help with acne. [9] But do not overdo zinc supplements. I recommend supplementing maximum once or twice a week. However, to ensure the zinc will reach the cells, you should take the supplement with green tea in the morning. Green tea has the polyphenol EGCG with potent antioxidant activity and helps zinc absorption into cells. 

Plant-based omega-3 supplements are excellent anti-inflammatory promoting supplements. These, along with curcumin, are a unique pair.

I also recommend vitamin A supplements for vegans who are prone to breakout. Some people may have a hidden gene mutation that does not allow for sufficient vitamin A conversion from beta-carotene found in vegetables. And when not consuming meat, this may lead to a vitamin A deficiency. Although vitamin A must be avoided a month before and throughout pregnancy. 

Selenium can also be helpful. I recommend a few Brazil nuts or a banana or mango daily to provide sufficient selenium.

Other supplements have shown promising results in treating acne, but more research is needed to give any conclusive results.

The Perfect Face Cleaning Routine

Although this face cleaning routine may sound harsh and may be uncomfortable for several minutes, it works and is therefore well worth the discomfort. This face cleaning routine is also inexpensive and natural. 

Here is the acne prone skin face cleaning routine: After waking up, wash your face with a natural chemical free soap. Instead of drying your face, use an organic cotton pad and wipe your face with 70% alcohol solution. Then immediately slice a thin piece of lemon and swipe it all over your face. This may be uncomfortable for a few minutes. When the lemon dries, you may cover the exceptionally dry areas of your skin with squalane, a derivative of squalene that underwent hydrogenation to prevent oxidation. Squalane lubricates and protects the skin.  It is naturally occurring, and present in the human body similar to the skin’s own oil. Squalane acts as a barrier locking moisture in and hydrating the cells  in a natural way. You may buy squalane in a small pipette and use 1-2 drops to cover the dry areas your face and around the eyes. After this you may use makeup if needed. 

In the evening after washing your face, clean it again with 70% alcohol and add some squalane where needed, especially around the eyes. Lemon juice is not used in the evening. After a few days you will see major improvement in your skin condition.

A skin mask can be made with raw honey. You may apply this to your face once a week for 15 minutes. Then rinse with warm water. If you are sensitive to honey or are a vegan, you can make an oat mask from finely ground oatmeal and water mixed together to form a paste. Apply to your face for 15 minutes and rinse off with warm water.

To conclude

A healthy diet rich in whole natural foods with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, along with a natural cleansing routine can significantly reduce your symptoms and potentially heal acne entirely. There is no need to take contraceptive pills to reduce acne. By changing your diet and adding the supplements mentioned above, while keeping your skin clean and nourished, the results will be long-lasting and much healthier for you in the long run.

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Thank You, 🙂

Dr. Galit Goldfarb

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