Acne and Diet

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Diet is linked to acne. What you eat can directly influence the way your body performs; it can alter your body’s ability to fight off infections and even change your hormonal levels. The effect that altering your diet has on your acne will differ from person to person depending on your lifestyle and the individual root cause of your acne. Eating a healthier diet anyway will not worsen your skin. A particular diet will not cure or cause cancer but it is possible to find a diet for you that can prevent acne worsening or even improve your condition.

Essential Fatty Acids and Acne

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are largely lacking in modern Western diets. Ensuring that you get enough of them extremely beneficial to many areas of your health. Acne is no exception to this rule. Not only do EFAs help to regulate hormonal levels but also linoleic acid (a key kind of EFA) is a main ingredient in sebum, the natural oil produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin. Studies have shown that people who have more EFAs in their diet, and therefore a higher quantity of linoleic acid in their sebum, are much less likely to suffer from acne.

EFAs are found in foods such as flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, many kinds of nut, avocados, green, leafy vegetables such as kale or spinach and many types of fish including tuna, salmon and sardines. Many people take supplements such as omega-3 tablets and evening primrose oil to make up for the lack of EFAs in their diets.

Vitamin A and Acne

Vitamin A is most widely understood to be particularly good for the eyes but it also functions to keep your skin healthy. In fact, one of the most effective and commonly used acne medications, Accutane, is made up of retinoic acid which is a major component of Vitamin A. Exactly how the vitamin works to improve the skin is not yet entirely understood, but it is effective and can reduce not only the number of bacteria present on the skin but also the size of the sebaceous glands and the amount of sebum the produce. All of these factors can reduce, improve and, to an extent, prevent acne.

Vitamin A is present in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables including carrots, mangos, broccoli, apricots, pumpkins and spinach. It is also found in common staples like butter, milk and eggs as well as in the liver of most commonly eaten animals. Vitamin A supplements are readily available.

Vitamin B6 and Acne

Vitamin B6 is another vitamin which is good for almost every part of your body and its effects on acne can be impressive. The vitamin is thought, to an extent, to limit the effect that androgen has on your sebaceous glands. This results in less acne. The vitamin has been shown to be especially helpful when treating female teenage acne; especially acne closely linked to menstrual cycles as well as stress-related acne. It also contributes to the functioning of the immune system.

Vitamin B6 is found in a variety of foodstuffs including wholegrain foods, meat, nuts, potatoes, tomato juice, fish and bananas. It is also available as a supplement.

Zinc and Acne

Zinc, in small quantities, is vital to our physical development and continued health. It is especially useful in an acne reducing diet as it helps to regulate your hormonal levels, especially during puberty, and also works to keep your skin healthy as it heightens your body’s abilities to fight off infections.

Zinc is found at particularly high levels in shellfish, especially oysters, as well as in yeast, nuts and wholegrain foods. Supplements are available to increase your zinc intake.

Chromium, Selenium and Acne

As part of a balanced diet, Chromium and Selenium are thought to help to control and even to reduce acne. Chromium helps to regulate the level of sugars in the blood, which can help control the production of sebum in the sebaceous glands. Selenium, meanwhile, has antioxidant properties and is key to a process that helps repair damage to cells. This means that it can quicken the healing process of acne, reduce the damage which the skin condition can do and reduce the chance of permanent scarring.

Brewer’s yeast and molasses are good sources of Chromium and Selenium can be found in Brazil nuts and seafood. Supplements of these trace elements are available.

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