My last skin care post was focused on the products that made a difference to my skin (for the better!). This time I want to tell you how adjusting my diet has helped me fighting acne. As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm not acne free but it is a whole lot better.
There are people who have a serious sweet tooth or a stronger preference for savoury snacks and then you have the unfortunate group of people who like them both. Yes, you've guessed it.. I belong to the third group.
I can have the most intense craving for chocolate and a day later the only thing on my mind are salt and vinegar crisps. Until a few months ago I used to give in to these cravings. I would single-handedly destroy a bag of crisps or the biggest chocolate bar out there. Always resulting in a state of self disappointment and most of all: new acne popping up the days after. I learnt this the hard way but I'll come to that in a bit.
At the end of 2012 I started to educate myself more on the effects of food on the skin. I think I have read every skin care and food related post on Annie Jaffrey and in addition I spent a good amount of time doing some research myself. I then started to minimise the amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats I consumed. That basically meant: no chocolate, muffins/other baked treats and no crisps or french fries etc. I did that for a while and I noticed my already existing acne was getting less and I didn't get that much new spots. After a month or so I had a bit of a relapse and this is when I learnt the hard way: I ate a bag (200gr) of caramel filled chocolate eggs over a course of two days. A day or two later I woke up with several new acne spots and a much oilier skin than I just got
During my little skin care research project I read about the positive effects beetroot juice can have for scars and acne. Beetroot is full of vitamins, potassium, and iron. It is an antioxidant and inflammatory vegetable known as a super food because of its ability to purify the blood and eliminating harmful toxins that cause acne. Therefore, beetroot juice can be used as a treatment to rejuvenate skin cells and healing blemishes*.
Unfortunately it was impossible to find beetroot juice in Barcelona under €11,- but as soon as I was back in Amsterdam I went to the supermarket and for a bit more than €2,- bargain!
As it is quite a strong juice I started with 50ml a day and after every week I added another 50ml. I soon saw a big difference: my acne scars and spots weren't as red anymore, they were a light pink. I've been drinking beetroot juice on a semi-daily basis now and some of the scars I've had for years have disappeared.
I can definitely say that refined sugars (chocolate, cookies, ice cream, doughnuts) and unhealthy fat (crisps, french fries, doughnuts) influence my skin in a bad way and so I try to stay away from them without depriving myself. If I really want some chocolate I let myself have a piece of milk or dark chocolate. The higher the percentage of cocoa the better.
I have read a lot of things about dairy being bad for the skin, but I can't say anything on that subject. I never have regular milk as it contains a lot of hormones humans don't need and I strongly dislike the taste as well, I usually go for soy or almond milk. I also prefer the taste of soy yogurt over regular yogurt. Same goes for wheat I can't say much about wheat. It can cause acne, some people react very strong to wheat. As I always get very bloated I try to eat as little wheat products as possible and when I do eat it I opt for whole grain rice and pasta (a lot lower in sugar but higher in fibers = good!).
As this is already a long post, I will talk about the things I can eat without worsening my acne in the 3rd post about skin care. For now I'll finish with some tips:
- Drink lots of water throughout the day.
- Try green tea, it's inflammatory.
- To lessen the appearance of acne scars, drink 1 glass beetroot juice a day*.
- Eat fruit and vegetables every day (if you forget -like me- to actually eat fruit, make a green monster!)
- To see to which foods you're sensitive to, try to eliminate: sugar, unhealthy fats, dairy and wheat one by one from your diet. Don't stop having them all at once, it'll be impossible to figure out what causes your acne.
Again, if you have any tips for me or other suffering from acne, leave them in the comment section below.
* Beetroot juice side effects:
''Before you jump into beet juice acne home remedy treatment, it's always a good idea to look at any possible side effects.
You should avoid the overuse of beet juice as it may lead to a condition called methemoglobinemia, which causes the blood cells to lose oxygen-
In addition, consuming large amounts of beet or beet juice may cause low level of calcium in the bloodstream (hypocalcemia) and possible kidney problems (if you prone to calcium oxalate stone formation) because of its high oxalate content.
Take note that eating beet or drinking beet juice can temporarily discolor your stools or cause your urine or to turn red or pink in color (beeturia). This is a harmless side effect and nothing to be worried about.'' - source