We’ve all heard the saying “beauty is only skin deep.” When it comes to treating and preventing acne, however, this is not the case. There are a myriad of facial cleansers, creams, and masks that provide a variety of beneficial topical treatments to our more problematic areas. However, when it comes to skincare, we need to keep in mind that our skin is a large and complex organ. As such, promoting total skin health requires a more holistic approach. As dermatologists all over the globe are now discovering, diet may have more impact on acne and blemishes than originally believed. Specifically, our consumption of simple carbohydrates and sugars.
The Scoop on Sugar
When we consume sugar, our bodies set to work breaking down the complex structure to prepare it for absorption. This process converts the sugar into glucose that enters the bloodstream and triggers a rise in insulin levels. Simple carbohydrates, such as white bread, soda, and sweets, causes an extreme spike in insulin levels as our body works hard to lower our high blood sugar levels. According to board-certified dermatologist, nutritionist, and author of Ageless Face, Ageless Mind Dr. Perricone, it is this insulin spike that leads to “a burst of inflammation throughout the body.”
Inflammation is the culprit responsible for producing the enzymes that deteriorate elastin and collagen in the skin. This process, known as glycation, exacerbate pre-existing skin conditions like acne and rosacea and also result in sagging skin and wrinkles as our skin loses elasticity. Consuming large quantities of sugar can even lead to insulin resistance, causing dark, patchy skin, and excessive hair growth. As our skin cells deteriorate, they are left vulnerable to the infections that cause breakouts, blemishes, blackheads, and cysts.
Eating foods that promote internal health, used in conjunction with topical treatments and remedies, is the most efficient way to ensure healthy, young, and glowing skin.
Blackberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, and Plums
Foods high in antioxidants rid the body of the free-radicals commonly associated with various forms of melanoma. According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, these four fruits hit the top of the charts with the highest “total antioxidant capacity” of any food, making them the most efficient way to get your daily dose of antioxidants.
Flaxseed and Walnuts
Rich in healthy fatty acids, these foods offer support to the cell walls that make up our skin. Cell walls are responsible for absorbing nutrients, ridding the cell of wastes, and supporting the cell structure, among other things. Healthy cell walls are essential for skin cells to thrive and remain forever young.
A study featured in the Archives of Dermatology revealed that green tea is not only incredibly high in antioxidants, but also chock full of anti-inflammatories, reducing redness and swelling of the skin. Whether applied topically or ingested, green tea has even proven to reduce the damage to skin caused by the ultraviolet light our skin is exposed to daily from the sun.
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day ensures our skin is well hydrated, so it is able to maintain high levels of elasticity. Additionally, proper hydration allows the body to release toxins into our pores through sweat. A dehydrated body will not sweat as often, or as much as it should, resulting in clogged pores and cracked, dry skin.
The cause of facial blemishes vary from person to person depending on their genetics, diet, lifestyle, and overall health. However, when considering potential blemish remedies, these basic nutritional factors play a part in us all. Before turning to expensive dermatological treatments, incorporate these favorable food groups (along with the right topical treatments) and give your skin a fighting chance.