Acne & nutrition
Whether suffering from occasional breakouts (maybe it’s that time of the month) or from a more severe acne, a large number of our clients need to deal with this skin issue.
To help you understand what can be done against acne, we have gathered information from Kamilla Schaffner, Clinical Nutritionist, who talks about the effects of nutrition on the skin.
Acne and nutrition
What foods to eat to clear and prevent acne?
The most important aspect of acne prevention nutrition is identifying what are the causative factors in acneic breakouts – in other words, what causes spots and what drives the condition forward. It is very case sensitive as people are vastly biochemically individual but diet is always at the top of the list for acne and most other skin conditions.
The most common causes of acne breakouts typically come down to the following:
- Hormonal factors
- Gastro-intestinal dysfunction
- Dysbalances in endocrine and reproductive hormones in cases like PCOS, endometriosis, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes always manifest in appearances of acne in addition to other symptoms. If that is your situation then the best nutritional tip is to maintain a very low Glycaemic Index (GI) diet that will prevent significant fluctuations in Insulin production, which will somewhat prevent subsequent hormonal cascade. This can assist in minimising androgens production in the female system – a very common driver of chronic acne condition. Typical examples of low GI foods are: wholegrains like bulgur wheat, buckwheat, millet, oats; super grains like quinoa, amaranth, spelt, teff; sweet potatoes (vs. white potatoes), brown/red/black rice (vs white rice), non-starchy vegetables (courgettes, aubergines, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, all cabbages). All proteins fall into the category of low GI foods, berries are generally considered low GI, whist some fruits like bananas, dates and dried fruits are considered fairly high GI so moderation here is key.
- Next and potentially the most common aspect of acne appearance is dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract. The digestive system is enormous in its size and identifying the causative factors in acne breakouts are best done with the help of a clinical nutritionist: your gut health might need extra nutritional support in detoxification of accumulated wastes and toxins, you may also lack hydrochloric acid in your stomach that helps break food down into easily assimilated parts. Patients may also lack intrinsic factor exclusively produced by the stomach required in order to breakdown certain foods to synthesize Vitamins B9 and B12 vital for Iron synthesis and skin nutrition. Or patients may lack digestive enzymes (protease for protein digestion, lipase for fats, amylase for carbohydrates digestion to name a few) needed for complete assimilation and absorption of macro nutrients coming from ingested food.
- Lastly, gluten, lactose, casein intolerance as well as isolated food intolerances can play a massive role in causing and worsening skin conditions like acne. Junk foods as we all know do absolutely nothing to our health improvement, waistlines and skin so avoiding foods like burgers, cookies, chocolate, deep fried chips and sodas is imperative in skin nutrition and acne prevention.
My typical suggestions always include temporary removal of all potentially skin irritating foods with a focus on healthy, fresh, organic and fairly uncomplicated produce in order to maintain the highest quality nutrition: wholegrains, salads, lean proteins, nuts, seeds and fresh foods high in Vitamins A, E, all B group, as well as skin loving minerals like Zinc, Magnesium, Sulphur, Calcium, Copper, with inclusion of vastly important Essential Fatty acids like Omega-3 and mono-unsaturated fats to keep the skin supple and promote natural dermal detoxification and recovery.
Inclusion of potentially preventative/ prophylactic detox agents like green juices (fantastic for clearing blood and lymph), spirulina or chlorella (very potent anti-inflammatory agents that help reduce skin eruptions and inflammation) can be very beneficial in preventing acneic breakouts.
Ultimately, maintaining a very simple diet: sticking to just one source of protein per meal, with dishes that are low in fats like saturated or hydrogenated ones, and foods low in GI will help reduce the occurrence of acne and will have a preventative effect on managing problematic skin in general.
Kamilla’s typical daily menu
Here are some examples of a typical daily menu for anyone wishing to reduce acne formation and maintain clear skin through specific skin nutrition:
Upon waking: A small glass of room temperature water (lemon juice is not necessary).
Oat porridge (low GI carbohydrate) cooked with water, with a table spoon of chopped walnuts (Vitamin E and Omega-3fats) with raspberries and blueberries (Vitamin C, Folate, fibre, Magnesium, Iron, antioxidants). A cup of mint tea (antibacterial agent, hydration) and a glass of green juice (detox agent, antioxidants).
Gluten free toast (low GI carbohydrate) topped with poached organic egg (lean protein, Choline, Inositol, Vitamins A and E) and a slice of smoked salmon (Omega-3, lean protein, Vitamin D, Zinc). A cup of rooibos tea (Vitamin, C, anti-inflammatory agent) and a glass of green juice (detox agent, antioxidants).
Lentils (folate, lean protein, Low GI carbohydrate, fibre, Iron, Magnesium) cooked in vegetable Bolognese sauce (Vitamin C, lycopene, folate, Magnesium) with wilted garlic spinach (Vitamin B6, B5, B9, Vitamin C, anti-inflammatory agent, anti-bacterial agent) and a small green salad (antioxidants, detox agent).
Baked cod (Omega-3, lean protein, Zinc) with sautéed asparagus (Sulphur, anti-inflammatory agent, liver cleansing, blood cleansing) and a small fresh tomato and onion salad (lycopene, Vitamin C, anti-bacterial agent, anti-inflammatory agent).
Large miso soup (probiotics) with firm tofu (lean protein, phytonutrients, Calcium), buckwheat noodles (low GI carbohydrate), shiitake mushrooms (lean protein, immuno-stimulating agent) and fresh rocket and dill (antioxidants, antiviral agent, antibacterial agent, detoxifying agent) sprinkled with sesame seeds (Vitamin E, Calcium, Iron, Copper).
Quinoa (low GI carbohydrate) with poached shrimp (Zinc, Vitamin B12, Magnesium, lean protein), and steamed baby cauliflower (phytonutrients, Sulphur, Iron, Magnesium) topped with fresh red chillies (anti-inflammatory agent, anti-bacterial agent, antioxidants).
Specific skin care products
Biologique Recherche has a range of products for acne-prone Skin Instants®:
This cleansing milk removes excess oils, but also nourishes the skin, so the skin feels really soft and light after the cleanse. Ideal for oily skins that may be sensitised.
Our Exfoliating Lotion:
If you have active acne, we would not recommend using any of the Lotions P50. For occasional breakouts and overall seborrhoea, the Lotions P50 will help as they regulate excess of sebum and purify the skin. Please contact us to find out which formulation is the most suitable for you.
This intensive purifying treatment that rebalances the skin, unclog and tighten pores, and revitalise the skin. It also contains Yeast to regulate sebum secretion as well as Lactic Acid, which is one of the most popular Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and a powerful ingredient that helps reduce acne breakouts and minimise trans epidermal water loss.
This detoxifying and lifting mask not only purifies the epidermis, tightens your pores and unifies your complexion thanks to containing White Clay, but also provides an instant lift for any skins lacking firmness.
This anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial serum aims at preventing and alleviating breakouts. It contains Zinc and Salicylic Acid to regulate your sebum secretion and keep your acne at bay. It can be used regularly or occasionally at an on-spot treatment.
Acne may lead to skin scarring and hyperpigmentation. This healing and regenerating serum strengthens and rebuilds the skin. It contains Cellular Oligopeptide that helps to reconstruct the skin and lighten pigment spots.
This decongesting and purifying treatment cream purges the skin and cleanses it from the inside out. It contains Thyme Extract and exfoliating active ingredients that regulate the production of sebum and mattify the skin.
This soothing emulsion not only alleviates redness and relieves tightness but also regulates sebum secretion, tightens pores and lightens the complexion. It contains White Tea Leaf Extract to suit sensitive skins.
Complete our Online Consultation to find out what the most suitable products are for your skin.