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What is the Diet for Acne? Part-2- The Pimple Clearing Power Diet

Are you coming out of an ineffective OTC medication, antibiotic treatment or out from a dermatologist clinic being treated with a high budget procedure for getting rid of acne permanently? Have you not yet recovered from the undesirable side effects yet? Are you still frustrated and having a nightmare for the next morning to wake up with acne?

Are you looking for research proved diet or a nutrition therapy for acne cure but always in limbo and wondering is there really a diet for clearing pimples! If so what is the diet for acne?

You like to replace your medicine cabinet with your pantry with pimple clearing diet but not sure what to stack!

The one line answer today is there is no said diet.

The very simple reason is symptoms and multiple causes of acne. The association of diet with the severity still needs more research to be conclusive. The research community comprehends “the jury is still out”, but there are substantial pieces of evidence exist linking diet to acne.

Let’s delve in and unravel the diet universe for prevention and cure for pimples. We go in the following order. The blog will start with a small synopsis on acne and its causes, go through the diet that treats the causes of acne one by one and ends up presenting the overall power diet for clearing pimples and living healthier.

Table of Content

  • Cause and Symptoms of acne
  • Low glycemic diet reduces acne lesions by striking insulin spike
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids The Wise Superstar Fat
  • Pro- and Pre-Biotics-Calm Inflammation
  • Anti-Oxidants-Fight off free radicals
  • The elimination diet for acne-What not to Eat
  • Food that Help Get Rid of Acne
  • Finally,- The Pimple Clearing Power Diet Box!

Low Glycemic Diet Reduces Acne Lesions by Striking the Insulin Spike

Topic/Idea 1

Low GI diet (1) has shown an eye-catching connection in the reduction of acne breakout and severity of acne.

High GI diet suddenly elevates your blood sugar leading to the insulin rise. Insulin rise stimulates androgen production leading to excess sebum oil generation. This is fundamentally connected to acne pathogenesis.

In 2018 publication – A recent study, which is depicted below, clearly shows low GI/GL diet reduce IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor -1), which has a bearing on the formation of pimples on your skin.

Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial

Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial
 Patients 34 32
Acne Severity Moderate to Severe Moderate to Severe
Starting IGF 267.3 ± 85.6 267.3 ± 85.7
Diet Given Low GI/GL Usual Eating Plan
Duration 2 Weeks 2 Weeks
Ending IGF 244.5± 78.7 267.3 ± 85.7
Result Decreased IGF No Change in IGF

This is a small study that needs to be elaborated to a higher population for a longer duration to be meaningful. The way I visualize it: even feeding low GI/GL diet to acne patients for only two weeks showed a reduction of IGF-1 that translates to lower occurrence of acne.

Altering the diet to low GI food offers a multitude of benefit

  • Reduced number of acne lesions
  • Reduced severity of acne breakout
  • Reduced sebum production
  • Reduced chance of hormone changing the composition of skin oil-thus the susceptibility to acne formation

The following categories of Low GI foods, fruits and vegetables gradually increase the blood sugar vs. high GI diet which spikes the insulin swiftly. These are holistic diets (the diet that is close to its natural states).

Legumes

Quinoa

Whole and unprocessed Food

Leafy Greens

Fiber-rich fruits

Starchy vegetables

Asparagus and broccoli do not change the blood sugar level at all.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – The Wise Superstar Fat

Acne is a chronic inflammatory disease (2). Wise selection of rich Omega-3-diet is your weapon to fight off inflammation and much more. Americans are eating less and less omega-3 vs. omega-6. Omega-6 is inflammation causing but some amount of is required by the body. So a balance is necessary.

While the accepted ideal ratio of Omega-3: 6 is 2:1, It is alarming to see that inflammation-causing Omega-6: omega-3 now is 1:15. Surprisingly, 150 years ago the ratio was 1:1. The reason is fast food and overall food industry incorporates Omega-6 diet to process the food. The following table illustrates the history.

Omega-6 Omega-3
150 years ago 1 1
Now in US 20 1
Ideal ratio 2 1

Omega-3 is the superstar diet for acne and it is skin healthy with multiple benefits.

Acne and omega-3 (3):

  • Omega-3 rich foods help reduce inflammation
  • Help control sebum oil production
  • Help prevent acne by heightening hydration.
  • Building blocks of cell membranes and hormones
  • It feeds the skin microbes maintaining a healthy microbial balance, where P.acne are inhabitants.
  • It is necessary for brain and immune system functioning

Here is a list of the food containing omega-3-fatty acids.

Oily fish

Seeds

Nuts

Avocados

Eggs

The ratio of omega-3 to 6 from dietary sources is one of the factors that regulate inflammatory mechanisms. Unhealthy quantities of processed Omega-6 are found in lots of western diets. Avoiding processed and packaged foods will reduce Omega-6 in your diet.

A good oil choice for acne could be extra-virgin olive oil. Although it has a higher ratio of omega 6 to 3, it contains fewer amounts of saturated fat.

Pro- and Pre-Biotics-Calm Inflammation

Poor gut health is related to inflammatory skin disease including acne (4). Think, if you ingest the healthiest diet on the planet but it faces maldigestion and malabsorption in your body, then you suffer from nutrient deficiency. Toxins are created out of undigested food. The gut microbiome is out of balance, the body produces a lower level of anti-inflammatory material. Balancing the skin and gut microbiome is essential to create an anti-acne environment.

Gut Healthy Food

Gut Healthy Food
Pre-biotic Probiotic
Raw and cooked onions Sauerkraut
Raw Garlic Yogurt
Raw asparagus Pickles
Raw banana Kimchi
Raw leek Kombucha

Prebiotics and probiotics improve gut health and are found in the following foods. Balanced gut health removes toxins from the body and keeps acne in control.

Anti-Oxidants-Fight Off Free Radical

Initiation of acne can be the result of free radicals and oxidative stress (1, 2, 3). Free radicals induce lipid oxidation or sebum oxidation. They release inflammatory markers.

It is recommended to consume lots of foods with anti-oxidant properties for acne prone patients (Dr. Whitney Bowe, The Beauty of Dirty Skin, p131). There are vitamins and minerals which act as powerful anti-oxidants and good for acne prone skin.

Vitamin-E is known to provide healthy skin which helps prevent acne. It is known to be one of the most important anti-oxidants. As one of the most beneficial for acne:

  • It is a free radical quencher.
  • Vit-E oil neutralizes free radicals that otherwise damage the skin and lead to acne.
  • It protects sebum from inflammatory damage.
  • It protects the immune system from viruses and bacteria.
  • Vit-E is a fat-soluble vitamin and leads to faster healing of acne scars.

Foods containing Vitamin-E are almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, broccoli, nuts, seeds, avocado, dark leafy greens and fish, olives.

Vitamin-D:

Vitamin-A:

  • Vitamin-A is a powerful anti-oxidant and reduces damage made by free radicals
  • It helps acne by reducing the sebum that skin produces thus preventing the breakout.

Foods include carrot, broccoli, spinach, kale, sweet potato, and cantaloupe. Excess vitamin-A is bad for health. It changes your vision and can lead to liver damage.

Zinc

The mineral zinc occupies a very special place in skin health

  • It helps in skin turnover, help in healing.
  • It is an anti-oxidant and helps the immunity.
  • It is thought to reduce acne flare-up.
  • Zinc decreases stress and it is anti-inflammatory

Zinc is found in beans, legumes, nuts, poultry, red meat, oyster and whole grains. All of these could be acquired from natural sources.

The Elimination Diet for Acne-What Not to Eat

Staying away from the following diet could benefit you in acne cure.

Coffee

Sugar and refined process food

Sugary drinks

Use oil constituted of right ratio of Omega-3 to 6 or closer.

Dairy Products

Soy Product

Fast food

Whey protein powder

Alcohol

Food that Help Get Rid of Acne

Whole grain bread

Brown rice

Beans and legumes

Salmon

Sardine

Fresh greens and vegetables

Fruits

Almonds

Chia seeds

Pumpkin seeds

Kimchi

Kombucha

Olive oil

Finally,- The Pimple Clearing Power Diet Box!

Help yourself to pick and choose different varieties of food from the box to help cure acne and get clearer skin. Quick hint for you-the food presented in the 1st column comes under the category of superfoods. That never means other foods are less important. In fact, there are few other foods on the box that carries superfood status as well. It was not easy to organize. You can plan a diet for acne based on food presented in the box. It is handy.

There are foods empowered with multiple vitamins and mineral having overlapping

A legitimate well-researched diet to cure acne might take longer than we think. But the diet on this blog has a substantial scientific basis to help acne prone skin and acne lesions

Alteration of diet can potentially impact your system. Talk to your doctor before changing your diet.

Anusuya Choudhury

22 Comments

  1. Great Content and Information!

    What a concise and thorough article. I found the post very detailed and Informative. So so many useful tips and tricks all on one page! Wonderful! I bookmarked to look further. I have been looking for this type of product in order to sort outthe pimples on me . Thank God I checked on your blog in order to find this secret. Thanks for the eye opener

    • I am glad you found my article informative. Hope it helps you.Thank you for reading.

  2. Thank you Anushaya for your informative and helpful article. Acne is a common problem for many people and sometimes it didn’t go away very easily. I have a friend and her acne was very horrible. She even goes through for laser treatment. I think treatment with food supplements or the right foods is much better. I enjoy a lot reading this article because it has many details in depth. Once again thanks a lot for sharing this valuable post.

    Regards,
    Ranao.

    • Hi Ranao,

      I am glad that you found my article informative and enjoyed reading. That means a lot to me. Food is what the body and skin depend on to fully perform. 

      Acne is a widespread disease and really disturbing. Right food definitely helps acne as per my research. 

      Thank you for your time.

  3. That’s really a cool article. Thanks to the author for publishing this one. My girlfriend who is suffering a lot for her acne on her face can get a solution from your article. You have written down several techniques or tips to remove acne. I will try to make her follow your diets. In my opinion, the most important thing is what not to eat. My girlfriend likes to eat dairy products and fast-food a lot. She should avoid these things immediately. Your article is like an eye opener to me and more precisely it would be for my girlfriend. I’ll suggest to her to read your article.
    Have a great day!
    Tushar :

    • Hi Tushar,

      I am glad to know that this article will help your girlfriend having acne. Dermatologist suggests using almond milk, coconut, cashew milk as alternatives. Cow milk has hormones and that is the reason for avoiding it from the diet. Skim milk is even worse having more hormones due to processing reasons. This external hormone in the body creates hormonal imbalance leading to more sebum oil production and can be a cause of acne.

      While there are several reasons, food really can be a great culprit for acne. Eating the right diet as described in the article really helps.

  4. Hi Anusuya,

    Thank You very much for sharing such an informative article with all the necessary information about “What is the Diet for Acne? Part-2- The Pimple Clearing Power Diet”

    Really this is an amazing article. I like this article very much. Actually there are lots of pimple in my face.I did so many treatment for pimple clear my pimple but all are gone in vain.But i have totally surprised to learn that there is a diet for clearing pimple.This pimple clearing power diet is looks like very worthy and surely i am going to try this power diet. I believe finally i can get rid from my pimple problems if i follow this power diet.I am going to bookmark this article so that i can study it later.

    • Hi mhasanalvi,

       I am glad that you found this post informative.

      Diet is what your body and the skin live upon. 

      Your skin can be a reflection of what you eat. 

      The power diet definitely improves acne situation. 

  5. Most people think about changing their diet only when they realize they need to shed a few pounds. The truth is that what we eat has a huge role in overall skin health as well. Fast food should definitely be avoided at all costs. Since I cut it entirely out of my diet 10 years ago I’m not even tempted to eat it. Luckily I’ve always loved nuts (especially almonds), avocados and eggs. You don’t mention dairy as being bad for acnes but I’ve read that it can be very bad for gut health and acne. What is your opinion about dairy? 

    • Hi Lynn,

      Thank you for your time reading the post. My Part-1 of the acne diet (the previous blog) is about avoiding fast foods. You are absolutely right about this.

      I love almonds as well. They come with loaded nutritional benefits.

      Yes, the elimination diet of this blog covers dairy. 

      Dairy, in particular, the cow milk (worse is skim milk) carry hormone and extra hormone tilts the hormonal balance of the body leading to trigger the sebum oil production. Additional sebum oil is a bad scenario for acne. Substituting dairy with almond milk works well. 

  6. Hi,

    I appreciate you for writing nicely. I think this post will be very efficient to get rid of the pimple. It is possible to solve this problem by meeting the proper nutrition requirements of our body. And The food you mentioned on your diet list will relieve many many other problems besides pimple if this is present in our daily diet. Coffee, Sugar, and refined process food, Sugary drinks, Dairy products, Soy Product, Fast food, Alcohol, etc. are very harmful food for our health. Thank you very much for sharing this informative article.

    • Hi Irin,

      I appreciate your time reading my article.

      I am glad that you find this information informative.

      Thank you very much.

  7. Hi Anusuya,

    I think it is much better to consume the right foods to prevent or cure certain conditions, rather than treat them with chemicals. When it comes to skin health, I believe drinking plenty of water and eating lots of fruit and vegetables is the way forward. Which is the same for many other conditions. So if you live healthily, you look healthy.

    • You are absolutely right, Tom. 

      With savvy nutrition that completely nourishes you, your lifestyle also should include adequate exercise, managing stress, choosing appropriate dairy, keeping your microbiome healthy builds the beauty inside out.

      Thank you for your time.

  8. Hello ANUSUYA CHOUDHURY,

    This is an informative article you wrote about acne. You described the causes and also the necessary ingredients needed to get rid of acne. so this is so helpful as acne is a common problem specially among girls. high glycemic diet stimulates acne, it was unknown to me. j have a question here. we know that, whatever we eat as diet, most of it is carbohydrate. even when we starv or fast, our body’s reserved components converts in suger to provide us energy. can these suger cause acne? 

    I also want to add something that using more cosmetics is a leading cause of acne. that is why acne is more common among girls.

    • Hi Touhidur,

      I am glad that you found the article informative. The better carbohydrate for the body is low GI grains like brown rice, quinoa, sprouted brown bread,Teff etc. with high fiber content. They are less likely to cause insulin spike because they digest slowly. Yes, white rice, refined flours and grains at the high end of food chain can release sugar quickly, increases insulin. This rise creates a hormone imbalance in our system which can be attributed to the cause of acne.

      Thank you for your time.

  9. Hi Anusuya, 

    In your article, You have described the causes and also the necessary ingredients needed to get rid of acne. so this is so helpful as acne is a common problem specially among girls. high glycemic diet stimulates acne, it was unknown to me. j have a question here. we know that, whatever we eat as diet, most of it is carbohydrate. even when we starv or fast, our body’s reserved components converts in suger to provide us energy. can these suger cause acne? 

    I also want to add something that using more cosmetics is a leading cause of acne.

    • Carbohydrates rank the highest on the list if not at #1 among all the dietary culprits in case of bad skin. This is from research. It is true when it comes to acne as well. 

      There is a great correlation between refined carbohydrates and acne (research finding). Studies show the non-Western population has a low incidence of skin condition (sometimes virtually non-existent!). The reason: they eat closer to nature, a diet rich in healthful fats and proteins where most carbohydrates come from low GI fruits and vegetables. 

      My dietician did not recommend fasting but she recommended small meals and healthy snacking in-between to keep the insulin spike at bay. She recommended me to eat a fist of cooked brown rice but lots of salad and veggies.

      Sugar is an absolute necessity in our living. It is the to get them from low GI carbohydrates. 

      Regarding cosmetics my rule always has been-I will never put anything on my skin that I can not eat.

      Check your skincare product not to have paraben, phthalide, and triclosan. According to the FDA, triclosan may lead to hormonal disruptions and may create antibiotic-resistant strain. 

      I hope I answered your questions. But please let me know if you have any more questions.

  10. There are those people at an early age having too much of this acne and many have been negatively affected with low self-esteem. I think they need the guidance of a dermatologist but have to have a change in lifestyle. 

    Your list of foods and diet and vitamins can help in the long process of cleansing and finally get rid of acne. There is no better way of solving this skin disorder than to have a programmatic way of addressing through your recommendation.

    • Acne can show up for a variety of reasons. 99% of acne is caused during the hormonal change when approaching puberty. Eliminating additional hormone from the diet can help. 
      Acne is social slur when the world is on a rat race to get that dewy-glowy skin. 
      Savvy nutrition and smart lifestyle is the way to go. It makes you radiate from the inside out.

      Thank you for your time.

  11. I was talking to a person the other day who’s suffering from serious acne, he was asking me what medications he can buy from my pharmacy (I’m a pharmacist). I recommended to him some creams and soaps that are good in treating acne problems but wasn’t able to recommend a good set of diet as you did here. So, the next time that I will see the person, I will recommend him to visit this site of yours.

    By the way, I’d like to ask, what’s the difference between probiotic and prebiotic?

    • Hi Gomer,

      Thank you for your time. I would appreciate if my article could help your friend.

      All prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber (they don’t contain bacteria). They are fuel for bacterial growth. 

      The fiber inulin in pre-biotics is found in bananas, asparagus, chicory root, onions, garlic, and lentils. Essentially they are food for gut bacteria. 

      Pro-biotics: Certain types of Yogurt, Kefir, Kimchi are sources of good microbiome. They contain active microbes. Their growth is propelled by pre-biotics. 

      As such the pre-biotics does not seem to have much use. However, research has shown adding prebiotics added to infant formula makes it closer to the health of breast milk.

      I hope, I answered your question. 

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