Published on November 8th, 2012 | by Fahreen Wahid0
Healing Acne From The Inside Out
Acne. It’s one of those things that come and go and we desperately hope to grow out of. While some of us are lucky and rarely break out, there are others who have to constantly deal with inflamed skin and embarrassing bumps which no foundation or concealer can truly cover. Dermatologists may prescribe antibiotics, accutane, or birth control to help “cure” acne. However, the reality of the situation is that these approaches only mask the symptom as opposed to getting to the bottom of the problem.
What many people don’t seem to understand is that acne develops from inside the body, not outside. The inflamed blemishes that erupt on your skin are an indicator that there are internal imbalances that need to be addressed. This might all seem very intimidating and overwhelming. However, there is no need to give up and justify acne as being a part of growing up. Finding the root cause in healing acne may be a challenging and frustrating process, but once you figure out what that is, you’ll realize that there really is light (and a clear complexion) at the end of the tunnel.
Internal Factors That Exacerbate Acne:
1) Problem : Food Sensitivity
Many people who suffer from acne are not aware that they may have a food sensitivity that is causing them to break out. When we get a blemish on our skin we just assume that applying a topical remedy (there is only so much benzoyl peroxide you can apply on your face before it starts feeling like sandpaper) and having a healthy diet will eradicate the problem. However, this is where the problem lies. Instead of getting to the root of the issue, we tend to focus on the surface. We can be unknowingly eating foods, even ones that are considered healthy, to which we have an unidentified sensitivity. When we continuously consume these foods, our bodies create inflammation, which leads to an eruption of acne on our skin. Constant inflammation in our body is not a good sign as it can cause havoc on our immune function leading to a number of other problems. Common foods that cause sensitivities are:
Solution: Blood Test/Food Journal
Luckily, there are a number of ways to find out which foods you may be sensitive to. The most common methods are taking a blood test or keeping a food journal. The blood test will examine how your body responds to certain foods and thus help you figure out what to avoid in the future. A more hands on approach is to keep a food journal. You start by eliminating suspect foods that you think may be causing you to break out. Once you figure that out, try avoiding those foods for a week or two and then slowly reintroduce the food (one item at a time) back in your diet. Jot down any symptoms or changes you have and the problem foods will soon be discovered. Depending on the severity of your acne, you have the option of eliminating the food completely or simply eating it in moderation.
2) Problem : Eating Foods That Cause Blood Sugar Levels To Rise
It’s absolutely normal to crave a piece of chocolate or indulge in a bag of potato chips. However, you have to know the difference between indulging and over-indulging. Unfortunately, the human body is designed in a way where our cravings tend to be foods that have a high glycemic index. What’s a glycemic index you may ask? The GI is a measure of how foods affect blood sugar levels. Having a diet that solely consists of high glycemic foods (processed foods high in carbs, sugar and fat) is not a good idea because the more processed your food is, the quicker your body converts it to sugar resulting in an increase in insulin levels. A spike in insulin levels causes inflammation and stimulates oil production which leads to clogged pores.
Solution: Replace High Glycemic Foods with Low Glycemic Foods
Foods That Have A High Glycemic Index: (eat less of)
- White Bread
- Refined Sugars
- Bakery Goods (pastries, rolls, cookies)
-Boxed Fruit Juices
- Processed Food
Foods That Have A Low Glycemic Index: (eat more of)
-Fruits (Can be eaten daily: berries, cherries, apples, pears, grapefruit, figs. Should be eaten in moderation due to high sugar level: watermelon, mangoes, papayas and pineapples)
-Vegetables (Should be eaten daily: dark leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, onions, mushrooms. Should be eaten in moderation: potatoes and parsnip)
- Sprouted Breads (Ezekiel Bread)
-Foods that are high in fiber
In order for something to flourish the foundation needs to be strong. Likewise, in order for us to remain healthy and have a clear complexion, the foods we put in our body must be top quality in terms of nutrients. Analyze your diet. If you are constantly eating white rice, try switching it up to brown rice and if you always drink store bought fruit juices, than try making fresh juices at home. It’s these small changes that will make a big difference on your skin. You do not have to completely eliminate high glycemic foods, but eating them in moderation will definitely help keep breakouts at bay.
Extra Tips to Maintain Beautiful and Blemish Free Skin:
- If you have acne prone skin try to use a clay or mud mask twice a week to eliminate impurities. Clay and mud have the ability to absorb excess oil and toxins from the skin which will help to regulate oil production. If you suffer from dry skin as well than apply the clay/mud as a spot treatment on areas where you break out rather than applying it as a mask all over your face.
- Gulp down your H20! This is one of the most important but overlooked methods in clearing up blemished skin. By protecting your body from dehydration, you are essentially protecting your skin from breakouts ( dry skin and dehydration prompts our sebaceous glands to produce more sebum/oil which in turn clogs our pores and causes even more breakouts). For those of you who are not a fan of plain water, try infusing your H20 with fun ingredients like strawberries and basil or a couple slices of cucumbers, oranges and lemons. Not only will you have more exciting options, but you will be gulping water infused with nutrient filled fruits that will help eliminate toxins from the body. It’s clearly a win-win situation.
- Change your pillowcases. It’s a fact, dirty pillowcases play a big role in causing breakouts. Bacteria from your eyes, nose, mouth and skin get trapped and rubbed all over your pillowcases during those seven to eight hours of shut eye. No one wants to do laundry every day, so to save yourself from that extra load place a clean towel over your pillow and switch the sides on day one and two. On day three and four you can use your pillow and do the same thing(switching the sides).
- Don’t touch your face! Whether it be leaning on your hand during class or simply itching your skin, touching your face is a big no-no. Throughout the day our hands accumulate dirt, bacteria and oil which can clog pores and exacerbate acne if it comes in contact with the skin. Washing your hands every five minutes is out of the question so try to carry a wet wipe or hand sanitizer to keep your hands squeaky clean throughout the day.