This question has been debated on for decades. Pick up any women’s magazine and there’s a high chance that you’ll see an article on this topic. While there is no conclusive proof that your diet is a direct cause, all indicators point to the fact that oily and sweet foods definitely have an adverse effect on your skin, especially if you’re prone to acne. But what exactly causes your acne and how to get rid of it.
There are also certain foods that purport to help alleviate acne problems. The truth of the matter is that inner health affects your outer health. By eating clean foods, you’ll not be introducing toxins into your body… and this can and probably will prevent acne.
1. Dairy products
This is a big one. A large cold glass of milk goes with just about anything that’s good – cookies and chocolate cake are just two examples, and let’s not even get started on ice cream. The problem is that most of the milk we drink is from pregnant cows, whose systems are churning with hormones.
Dairy stimulates your oil glands, and that’s the last thing that any person with acne needs. Try cutting dairy out of your diet for 10 days to 2 weeks and see if it makes a noticeable difference to your skin.
2. Fried, greasy food
Cheeseburgers, pizza, fried chicken and all those oh-so-delicious fast foods simply ooze with oil and fat. Not only do they indirectly cause acne, but these foods also stress your system… and guess what? Yes, stress causes acne.
Interestingly, though, there are some in the medical community who are convinced that it isn’t fat that’s the culprit. They claim that it is the highly-refined carbohydrates used in all these foods that cause the real harm.
Carbs like these are very quickly broken down into sugar. Your insulin levels go up sharply, your body produces more sebum and you get more clogged pores. Either way, it’s best to avoid these foods or only indulge in them occasionally.
3. Juices, smoothies and cereals
This may come as a shocker because most people are led to believe that these foods are good for health. While certain fruit juices, vegetables, pulses and nuts will help minimize your acne and keep your skin healthy, these must be consumed in their natural form.
Avoid processed and commercially-prepared juices, smoothies and cereals that are often loaded with sugar. There is a common statistic that the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. This is one of the reasons why.
People mistakenly forgo the soda for the bottle of juice without realizing that the processed juice has lots of sugar in it too. The goodness and fiber from the fruits and vegetables gets lost in the processing.
It’s best to either get your own juicer or eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. When it comes to cereal, there are now many artisans who make genuinely healthy, preservative-free combinations. Look around your area and be sure to try out a few before you settle on one.
When dining out, the kindest way to treat yourself is to stick with plain water. Speaking of water, let’s look at a few of the foods and beverages that help you battle stubborn acne.
What happens to your skin when you haven’t been drinking enough water? That’s right – even on humid days, it can get dry or even scaly, if you don’t do anything about it. Slapping on the moisturizer helps, but you’d also have to increase your water intake to tackle the root of the problem instead of merely treating the symptom.
The skin is a vital organ for waste elimination. If you don’t drink 8-10 glasses a day, waste that would normally be processed through the liver and kidneys, gets diverted to the skin. This messes with your skin’s pH and creates an ideal environment for bacteria.
This creamy, nutty flavorful fruit is excellent for your skin. Avocadoes are rich in both Vitamins E and C, which are vital for good skin health. (Just make sure you don’t eat it on a refined-carb piece of toast – sprouted grain bread is a great alternative).
Garlic seems to pop up in virtually every health-related article and for good reason. Its anti-inflammatory properties are legendary. This is an easy ingredient to work into your diet because it makes almost anything taste better.
Use it in your cooking and you may wish to increase the amount of Italian, Spanish and Asian cooking you do at home. Do remember to use alternatives to highly-refined carbs.
When trying natural remedies, it’s important to remember that no two people are alike. What works for someone else may have no benefit for you. Keep reading good-quality health articles and try out different recommendations in moderation. You’ll soon come up with an array of foods and beverages that make you look good and feel good.
How to Control Your Acne: Make These 4 Fast Lifestyle Changes Now
Those who have lived with stubborn acne for a significant amount of time know just how damaging it can be to one’s self-esteem. Thankfully, there are major – but simple – lifestyle changes that you can make straightaway to minimize this problem.
1. Scented products
Firstly, look at the skincare items you have on your shelf. If you have any product that’s scented (apart from high-grade essential oils) get rid of it immediately. The chemicals that manufacturers use to create the scent will further irritate your sensitive skin.
Don’t limit this practice to skincare products. Check your shaving cream or gel, your shampoo and conditioner, and anything else that you use on your face.
2. Touching your face
Many people touch their face several times a day without even noticing that they do. It can be during animated conversation, wiping your brow with the back of your hand or just leaning into your palm at the table. But, what has this got to do with acne?
Imagine yourself at the mall. You’re touching surfaces like elevator buttons, escalator handrails and doorknobs to the bathroom. You’re using teller machines, credit card machines and payment counters.
All these items and conveniences have one thing in common. They’re used every day by everyone. Unless you’re living a completely hermitic life, there’s no way to avoid this. While it’s fine to allow your hands to roam free in these petri dishes, what you should not do is touch your face afterwards.
This is an extremely important point and often overlooked. The number of bacteria and the amount of shed skin, hair and other natural waste products that live on these objects are bound to clog up your pores and cause infections if you repeatedly bring your hands up to your face.
So, how do you break this lifetime habit?
One way may be to paint one of your nails a different colour. That way, when you raise your hand, you’ll have an attractive (and effective reminder) to put it down again. Men could use a leather bracelet. You just need something to interrupt your habit pattern. Do this enough and your muscle memory will change much faster
3. Using your phone
Your mobile phone is another everyday item that comes into close contact with your face and hands. The solution is exceedingly simple. If you don’t have a screen protector, get one now and stick it on your phone screen. Then get yourself a regular supply of lens wipes – the kind of wet wipes that people use for their glasses.
Don’t forget to buy them unscented. Clean your phone screen once a day and you’ll be putting a safer surface to your cheek every time you make or take a call.
4. Exercise and showering
If you’ve had acne for a while now, chances are that you’ve been advised to exercise regularly to improve your circulation. You’ve probably also been told to shower right after your workout.
This may not always be possible – showers at the gym may be occupied, for example. Also, showering while your body is still perspiring can sometimes lead to fungal skin problems.
You can avoid this problem easily. While you’re waiting to shower, wash your face first. Carry all your skincare products with you so that even if you need to go home for a shower, you can still quickly use a basin to cleanse, tone and calm your skin down. Once you’ve done that, shower as soon as possible.
The above tips are born of our ultra-modern age, where malls are regular hangouts and phones indispensable. While traditional wisdom in terms of acne control still holds, we often forget that lifestyles change fast. Our management of any health issue must acknowledge and accommodate these changes to remain effective.
Acne Control for the Stressed & Sleepless
There’s no denying the fact that life is full of ups and downs. In fact, it is liberally peppered with stressful situations and unforeseen setbacks. The first step to overcoming the stress that arises from these events is to accept that this is just the way things are. You’re not alone in this.
Research has shown that there is a link between stress and acne. If you get a breakout of acne after a rough week or two, the last thing you want to do is stress out over the breakout, on top of everything else. It’ll be a vicious cycle with no end in sight.
So, how do you break out of this insane loop?
Stop stress eating
The first thing most of us do under stress is to reach for a bag of chips or a tub of ice cream. That crunch, that coolness – what relief comes from falling into the soft, comforting arms of junk food!
Unfortunately, the relief is only temporary. To quote a line from Grey’s Anatomy: “This food has no food.”
When it gets processed by your system, it just ends up as more waste that needs to be eliminated. The skin takes on a large share of this responsibility, and if you already have clogged pores, the waste gets stuck in the pores, causing acne.
All the refined sugar in your system will cause inflammation, and add to your problems. Be mindful of what you reach for when you’re stressed.
You can do this by keeping a relentlessly honest food diary. Once you see – in writing – that you’ve eaten 5 pints of ice cream in the same week, it will likely shock you into reaching for something healthier.
We also tend to like crunchy foods because to our paleo selves, crunchy equals fresh. If this is your weakness, go to your local health-food store and look for wholegrain crackers, baked vegetable chips or mixed nuts.
It’s vital to keep the food on hand so that it’s right there when you’re stressed. If you’re not prepared, you’ll make up any number of excuses (no matter how outlandish) to go looking for food… and that will come at a heavy price.
Get enough sleep
When you’re stressed, the body’s production of the hormone cortisol (also known as the stress hormone) goes into overdrive. A lack of sleep makes your body produce even more cortisol and too much of it can cause a breakout.
This hormone is also responsible for the fight-or-flight response, which may arise if there are enough sleep-deprived nights. You will be on edge constantly. That translates to being too wired to go to sleep and too tired to do anything the next day.
Things pile up and your anxiety routine starts all over again. There are a few cycles more stressful than this one.
If you’re already at this point, you’ll need to exercise patience with yourself. The habit has already been embedded in you and it will take some time to root out.
Start going to bed earlier. There’s no need to be drastic – start with just 10 minutes earlier than usual. It doesn’t matter what time you actually fall asleep at the beginning. Just get into the habit of being in bed earlier than usual.
Once you start falling asleep 10 minutes earlier, try adding on another 10 minutes. Keep doing this until you get about 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
Avoid all electronic screens at least half an hour before you go to bed. It may seem relaxing to play a game on your tablet or chat with friends, but the screen is actually highly stimulating.
Manage your anxiety
Managing anxiety, stress and anger all sounds wonderful until you start to practice the oft-prescribed methods. What most proponents of such techniques don’t emphasize upfront is that you first have to master patience and self-forgiveness.
You’ll probably not get it in on the first try or even 10. It may take 50 tries before you start to calm down, but each try is one step closer to peace and the consequent outer glow of good health.
Another way to reduce stress, anxiety and anger is to disconnect. Our world today is wonderfully networked – we get to talk to loved ones anywhere, anytime, and at almost no cost.
But there is such a thing as being over-connected. Bosses and colleagues do not always exercise boundaries when it comes to sending emails or text messages. Often, if they have a sleepless night, they’ll happily correspond with you, assuming your phone is on silent.
Even if your phone really is on silent, you may get up in the middle of the night to use the washroom. And let’s face it – you’ll probably check your phone and find messages that add to your stress.
There is only one way to handle this: put your phone in a different room when you go to bed. It should not be your alarm clock until your sleep patterns have been sorted out.
At the end of the day, there’s really very little in this world to get stressed about. You have reached this point in your life because you have – in one way or another – solved every problem you have encountered.
Have faith in yourself and stress less. When you glow on the inside, your skin will glow on the outside.