Is it just me or am I constantly looking to find solutions for better skin? It’s really, really, really hard to get naturally glowing skin without spending hundreds of dollars. Trust me, I know. What I am about to say is going to blow your mind: I cured my every day acne by changing my diet.
Below are three things I cut out of my diet to improve my acne. Coffee and sugar lovers, continue with caution.
Right after college, I was hit with TERRIBLE acid reflux to the point where I really had to change my diet so I could, well, breathe. I have never been a caffeine person but I did drink coffee in college to get me through the day. The last time I had any caffeine was 4 years ago. Sound crazy? It is (and that’s probably why I am always tired). Here are a few reasons why I quite caffeine:
Coffee stresses out your body. High doses of acidic caffeine activates your sympathetic nervous system — or stress hormones — according to nutritionist Paula Simpson. Caffeine fires up your adrenal glands, thus pumping out excess stress hormones, called catecholamines. This is bad news for your skin, especially if you’re acne-prone, which I am. The stress hormones that prep you for fight-or-flight also trigger acne by causing your skin’s oil production to go into hyperdrive, producing more sebum (oil) which makes you shiny and further clogs your pores. Coffee also heightens your body’s inflammation levels, which makes existing acne more red and swollen.
Coffee messes with your blood sugar levels. “Elevated stress hormones offset insulin sensitivity and balance,” explained Simpson. According to Simpson, excess insulin can cause excess sebum production, interrupt skin cell renewal cycles and trigger inflammation in the body. All three factors can increase acne. SCARY.
Cheese is life, don’t you agree? Yes, I do eat a few pieces here and there, and regret it because my stomach isn’t used to it, but it does help knowing that I am doing the best I can when it comes to avoiding pimples.
If you eat milk, cheese, ice cream, or any other kind of dairy, and you have acne, this blog post could be the most important thing you read all week.
In fact, removing milk and dairy products from your diet is probably the absolute, honest-to-goodness most effective thing you can do to clear up your skin.
Milk causes acne because…
• There is abundance of a hormone called IGF-1 in milk, which is really good for baby cows, but not for you. IGF-1 is a growth hormone. It makes baby cows grow up big and strong, but in humans, it tends to make your acne grow big instead. IGF-1 is one of several factors that cause inflammation in humans, and which eventually lead to acne (and the ugly redness and swelling that makes acne so annoying).
• Milk and dairy products cause an insulin spike in humans that cause the liver to produce even more IGF-1, leading to even more acne.
• Dairy causes your skin to produce excess sebum (oil), leading to – you guessed it! – more clogged pores, more acne, and a breeding ground for P. acnes bacteria, which feed on your sebum and spew out inflammatory by-products.
• Dairy glues together dead skin cells inside your pores, so they can’t exit naturally, leading to clogged pores (and thus more acne).
If you know me, you know that I am constantly craving anything-sweet. My sweet tooth is my enemy (especially during that time of month, ugh).
So, why is sugar bad for your skin? Well, to clear things up (literally), sugar by itself does not cause acne per se. There are many reasons that acne can form and hormonal fluctuations in the body (hormonal acne) can be a significant factor for your breakouts.
Recent studies also show that sugar and refined carbs (a high-glycemic diet) cause acne. In addition to less pimples, the participants lost weight, became more sensitive to the effects of insulin (resulting in less pimple-producing insulin circulating around the blood). We know that women who have too much sugar and insulin resistance get acne, hair growth on their face, hair loss on the head, and infertility. It is not just sugar, but the bad fats we eat that may also contribute to acne.
Don’t get me wrong, my friends. I still have oily skin to the point where I can fry French fries on my face and I do break out here and there, but cutting out acne-prone enemies is a great start to healthy skin.
What have you cut out that has helped your skin? Comment below and let my readers know!