Contributor: Primally Pure
Photographer: Primally Pure
As a teenager/young adult, I was prescribed all sorts of pills and topical creams for acne. You name it, I’ve more than likely tried it at some point.
Some of these treatments worked for a little while and some didn’t work at all. But none of them were a true solution to my problem, as they didn’t address the underlying issues that were causing me to break out in the first place.
It wasn’t until I changed my diet that I began to see a real and lasting improvement in the quality of my skin, which is why I’m tackling dietary factors first in this 3-part series on how to get rid of acne. For many people, consistently making better food choices will play a huge role in saying goodbye to bothersome acne once and for all!
FOODS TO AVOID
Acne can be indicative of inflammation in the body, and processed foods are often the culprit. Some of the most common inflammation-causing trigger foods are as follows:
Gluten (when giving up gluten, focus on eating real food carbs such as potatoes, plantains, and white rice as opposed to gluten-free junk food)
Dairy (not an inherently “bad” or unhealthy food, but many are sensitive to it)
Low Quality Fats (canola oil, vegetable oil, and soybean oil are all highly processed and should be avoided)
Nuts and seeds (usually tolerable for most people in small amounts)
Anything with SUGAR! (mostly talking about refined sugar here, but even natural sugars like fruit and honey have the potential to cause issues in some cases)
Each of us is unique and processes certain foods differently. But as a starting point, eliminating triggers like dairy and gluten completely (for at least a month) is a good idea. Seriously limiting or eliminating sugar and/or nuts and seeds for a period of time may also be helpful.
You may be able to slowly re-introduce some of these foods depending on how your body reacts to them. If your skin tends to be more reactive (or if you’re just looking to clean up your diet + get healthier), the paleo diet may be a good option to explore!
FOODS TO EAT MORE OF
Just as certain foods can make acne worse, some can also improve it! Nutrient-rich foods not only help to resolve the hormonal fluctuations and vitamin deficiencies that often cause acne, but they can also bring LIFE to tired, dull skin.
Food is such a powerful factor in how we feel on the inside + look on the outside. Here are a few of our favorite foods to eat for a healthy and balanced complexion:
Vegetables (different types and lots of them): not only are veggies rich in vitamins, but they can also help to flush out the excess hormones that are sometimes responsible for acne.
Healthy Fats: healthy fats can stabilize blood sugar + hormones and also build strong + resilient cells, so it’s important to pick good ones! Some of our favorites include coconut oil, tallow, ghee, olive oil and avocado oil.
Fermented Foods (sauerkraut, kombucha, etc): these foods contain probiotics that can help to boost beneficial bacteria in the gut. Healthy gut = healthy skin.
Pasture-raised meats: in order to get the most nutrients/least toxins, choose meat that comes from happy animals raised outside and fed a diet they were designed to consume.
Bone Broth: packed with gut-healing and collagen-boosting gelatin – also an abundant source of vital minerals.
The following real food-based supplements are ones that anyone and everyone can take.
Cod Liver Oil: contains a powerhouse combination of skin-healing nutrients including vitamins A, D, E and K2 (this is the only brand we recommend).
Probiotics: these help to promote good bacteria in the gut. A balanced gut is critical for skin health and overall health! Unfortunately, most drugstore or grocery store probiotic brands are low quality and not worth taking. You’ll want to do some research in order to find the best brand/type for you and your body (I’ve taken these for years with great results).
Turmeric: reduces inflammation like a beast! Fresh is best, but you can also find them in capsule form which is how I get my daily dose of turmeric (it’s just so easy that way)