You’re doing everything right in your skincare routine, both morning and night. You cleanse, tone, moisturize, use antioxidant serum, and even apply a separate eye cream. And still, you’re breaking out.
It may be because of what you eat, rather than what you apply to your skin.
Fundamentally, acne is caused by a hormone imbalance that leads to your skin producing excess oil, clogging up your pores. The hormonal (im)balance in your body is the result of a multitude of factors: genetics, yes, but also environmental factors like stress, and – drumroll please – nutrition.
This means that you can leverage your diet to clear your skin. The latest scientific research has revealed how.
1 – Aim for a natural, anti-inflammatory diet
First off, before your wallet starts wheezing, natural doesn’t automatically mean organic. It just means that you should focus on eating foods that have not been altered in any way – not processed, synthesized, or genetically engineered.
The principles of following a natural, anti-inflammatory diet that will help clear your skin include:
- avoiding processed sugar
- cutting back on alcohol, bleached flour, and dairy
- centering your diet on vegetables
- eating (wild) fish instead of meat (think omega-3 fatty acids!)
- using olive and coconut oil instead of canola, soy, or palm oil
If you’re thinking that these are basically the often-preached tenements of ‘healthy eating’, well – you’re right. That’s because a major effect of healthy eating is having balanced hormone levels. And, as a result, clearer skin.
Very specifically, there are also a few ‘superfoods’ that can work wonders with skin conditions. Macadamia nuts are a secret tip among them. They’re high in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, including omega-6 and -9. These contribute considerably to regenerating, moisturizing, and softening skin. Macadamia nut oil can also be applied externally.
2 – Cut out the Coffee
As painful as it is, if you truly want to use your diet in beating acne, you’ll probably have to swear off coffee. Caffeine in general, and coffee in particular, wreaks havoc on your metabolism. And your hormones.
Stimulants can cause stress directly – nervous twitching after your eighth espresso of the day, anyone? – and reduce sleep quality, resulting in even more stress. On top of that, they also increase the production of skin oils.
If you can’t imagine going full-decaf, try to drink coffee only in the morning, or switch to green tea, which seems to be beneficial for acne.
3 – Ramp up your Water Intake
We tend to drink too little. Yes, it has been preached for decades, but it’s still true.
And simply drinking water can also help you fight acne.
Scientists have pointed out the links between dietary water intake and skin hydration time and time again. Increasing your water intake will help your skin cells stay hydrated, supplement your anti-inflammatory diet, and flush out contaminants.
Take it Step by Step
Finally, a word of advice. Rather than go cold turkey and change your regular diet to 100% acne-beating overnight, take it slow. Let go of things one by one – essential in weaning yourself off coffee – and see what happens.
In some cases, it’s enough to swear off one or two foods to dramatically reduce acne. Everyone’s metabolism is slightly different, and some of your acne may be a side effect of food intolerances.
But with some patience, and some self-discipline, you’ll be able to figure out how to fine-tune your diet to clear up your skin.