Diet & Acne: Does Pizza actually give you a pizza face?
At some stage, all of us have probably been told that our eating habits will give us a "pizza face". But what is the actual relationship between what we eat and the state of our skin? Does pizza really give you a pizza face if you eat too much? Let's find out more and suggest some ways to tailor your diet to make your skin as healthy and beautiful as possible.
When you eat an unhealthy diet, you can "feel" the oil, sugars, and fats working their way into your skin, but what's actually going on here?
There's a very simple connection between the way we eat and the state of our skin, and it's all about insulin. When we eat unhealthy diets, we tend to eat a lot of foods that are rich in oil and sugars (also known as high glycemic foods).
These foods have the effect of boosting your blood sugar levels much more rapidly than nature intended. To counteract this, your body increases its production of insulin, which acts to reduce sugar levels.
This is essential to protecting your body from harm, but it has one unpleasant dermatological side effect. When insulin spikes, it stimulates the sebaceous glands in your skin to go into overdrive. The oil that they generate can then clog up your pores, leading to an accumulation of dirt and bacteria. If you are unlucky, this can quickly turn into acne and the classic pizza face appearance.
So, there's definitely more than a grain of truth in the advice to eat well if you want unblemished skin. But this leads to an all-important question: what foods should be part of an acne diet plan which allows you to enjoy your meals while keeping your skin as healthy as possible?
Firstly, let's discuss a few dietary no-nos for anyone who wants to avoid blackheads or acne. As we touched upon earlier, the key category here is high glycemic foods.
We call these foods "high glycemic" because they are made from relatively simple carbohydrates. These carbs can be absorbed into the bloodstream instantly, causing sugar spikes in the bloodstream. The bad news is that this type of food is depressingly common in modern life.
For instance, white bread, rice, potato chips, candy, French fries, soft drinks, pasta, and even couscous are all designated as high GI (glycemic index) foods. Dairy and anything with a high-fat content tend to be lumped into the category as well, while most skin specialists will advise against alcohol consumption, especially beer.
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That list might seem daunting. After all, it encompasses many foods that are at the core of the modern western diet. But it's actually not that difficult to combine an acne diet plan with nutritious, satisfying meals.
The list of low GI foods is reassuringly long. It includes fashionable whole grains like quinoa, beans and pulses, almost all fresh fruits and vegetables, wholemeal brown bread, and some forms of brown rice.
If you're still unsure, let's think about a typical clear skin diet. You could start your day with a pot of blueberries, oatmeal, and nuts, follow it up with salmon, spinach and quinoa at lunch, before rounding off the day with a salad crammed with greens, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, and beets.
The great thing about this kind of diet is that it doesn't just combat acne. It's also coming to be thought of as the healthiest way to eat - mixing up protein and vegetables, without going overboard on carbs. So, you can lose your blemishes and a few pounds at the same time.
There are also several supplements and ingredients that are known to promote good skin health. Adding these foods to your diet is recommended if you want to ward off the bacteria that causes skin conditions (and most of them have a wide range of other benefits too).
Turmeric - This commonly used spice has become a cult supplement for fans of pure skin. The secret seems to be a compound called curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant. This neutralizes the "free radicals" which many dermatologists associated with skin aging.
Vitamin B Complex - Vitamin B12 has been highlighted as one of the best cures for skin diseases yet. Apparently, B12 stimulates the production of compounds called porphyrins, which counteract the bacteria which cause conditions like acne. However, users should be aware that B vitamins can promote skin conditions in a small minority of cases, so consult experts before using them.
Zinc - Zinc-based creams have long been used to treat skin diseases, and the metal is present in popular lotions like calamine. And studies have established that letting your zinc levels drop puts you at risk of acrodermatitis enteropathica, so it's a vital skin supplement.
Omega 3 Oils - Mainly derived from fish, these fatty acids are well known as key components of a clear skin diet, helping to keep skin firm and protected against bacteria. It's worth remembering that these oils are not synthesized by the body - so supplements can be an essential skin food.
Krill oil - A less well-known seafood-derived treatment, krill oil has a growing band of fans. Basically, krill oil works in a similar way to Omega 3 Oils - but is thought to be even purer, being processed from crustaceans harvested from remote Arctic waters.
CoQ10 - CoQ10 is an enzyme which acts as an antioxidant. It's naturally generated by the body, but not always in the quantities required to fix damaged skin and beat pathogens. By taking it as an oral supplement, you can top up your natural levels and give yourself the best possible chance of clear skin.
Astaxanthin - This "keta-carotenoid" is derived from algae and has pretty amazing skin regenerating abilities. Studies have found that regular doses help to retain skin moisture, prevent wrinkles, and ward off blackheads and other nasties. So, it's a skin food you shouldn't be without.
It's never nice to develop blemishes or spots. In the past, our lack of knowledge limited the way we could respond, but modern nutritional and dermatological knowledge has changed everything. With the right supplements and a diet that avoids high glycemic foods, you can create an acne diet plan which really works. Fill out our online questionnaire to get started today.
Writer: Ms Gauri Lokare