Acne Diet

Dear Skin Doctor, I have been told that food is making my acne worse. I have also been told that there is an "Acne Diet". What can I eat and what should I avoid to clear my acne naturally?


Low Glycemic Index Foods
A study that was published in the American Journal of Nutrition revealed that persons with acne who followed a low glycemic diet had fewer eruptions.  

Therefore, the main foods to include in an "Acne Diet" are those which have a low glycemic index. This glycemic index (GI) measures how fast the blood glucose levels rise after eating a particular food.  

Foods are classified as either having a high GI of 70 and above, a medium GI of 56-69 and a low GI of less than 55.  

Foods with a high glycemic index like white flour cakes, biscuits and breads cause the blood sugar level to rise rapidly after meals. This leads to increased oil production by the skin which can cause clogged pores and acne eruptions.  

Foods with a low glycemic index like apples, bananas, pears do not cause this sudden rise in blood sugar levels and oil production. They are therefore the better choice for persons who want to keep their complexions acne free.

Other great low GI foods that can be included in the acne diet include local Kenyan vegetables like carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.  

Fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and oranges which are rich in vitamin C should also be eaten every day. This vitamin is used to produce collagen and it is also a potent antioxidant which protects the skin cells from free radical cell damage.  

Not all desserts are bad for acne since fruit cakes like banana cakes baked with whole grain flour and without adding sugar can be included in the acne diet as they do not cause blood sugar surges.  

Foods which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids like sardines, mackerel, salmon and other fatty fish should also eaten to treat acne. 

For vegetarians, avocados and walnuts are great sources of these essential fatty acids which are essential for maintaining healthy skin. Fish oil supplements can also get the job done.

Water is another great component of the acne diet since it hydrates the skin. Water is also used by the body to excrete waste materials through urination and sweating. Therefore ensure that you drink at least 1 liter of pure water every day. 

Green tea is another drink to include in your clear skin diet since it is full of antioxidants. 

Avoid Trigger Foods
In addition to including these foods in your Acne Diet ensure that you eliminate those that trigger acne. To identify your trigger foods, keep a food diary and record the foods that you ate in the 24 hours that preceded a breakout.  

Milk and dairy products are some common acne trigger foods. In fact, an article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found a strong link between acne breakouts and consuming milk and dairy products like cream cheese.

Other suspected acne trigger foods include chocolate and oily foods. Once you confirm your trigger foods replace them with low glycemic index foods with similar nutrients. For example you can replace milk with calcium rich kale and sunflower seeds.  

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