In 1978, Foreigner had a fever of 103. Something tells me they were not talking about the cause of ACNE when they asked you to “feel the fever burning inside of me.” Their fever was sexy. ACNE: Not so sexy. Blemishes are not only unsightly but ding our self esteem and confidence. We spend thousands of hours and dollars every year searching for miracle products and treatments to ease our predicament. While I champion this cause, I must sound like your mother and remind you, “you are what you eat” and what you are eating may well be setting you on “fire.” Further, is not always what we consider junk food that is fueling those little red and yellow monsters.
Ancient Chinese Medicine attributes heat (and toxicity) in the system as the root cause of ACNE. Because acne generally occurs in the T-zone where energy meridians of the stomach, small intestine and large intestine begin and end, we naturally deduce that it is a digestive issue- Again, not so sexy.
Heat is an indication of the inflammation in the body that can be responsible for a myriad of issues. It’s not surprising that “inflammation” is a new wellness “buzz” word as it destroys balance in the body rendering it susceptible to aging and disease. Along with cancer, Alzheimer’s and arthritis, it is largely responsible for acne conditions.
For thousands of years the Chinese have known that beauty comes from the inside. The first question I ask my clients with active acne is “what are you eating” and “how much?” Eating too much food is just as suspect as eating the wrong foods. Overeating causes an increase in testosterone which increases the production of sebum (oil). The oil mixes with dead skin cells and creates a playground for bacteria. Pigging out weakens the digestive system that, in turn, weakens immunity and the body’s ability to fight disease.
Your best bet to control your acne is to eat small portions frequently to keep blood sugar levels steady. Identify any food allergies or sensitivities. As we age we can develop allergies to foods we have always eaten and loved.
My most wanted list includes:
Identifying the culprit is difficult and time consuming. Start by eliminating all and then slowly adding, one by one, suspected foods back into the diet to see how skin reacts.
AVOID foods that specifically cause inflammation in the body (again, we must become good label shoppers):
partially hydrogenated fats
snack foods:chips, cookies,crackers
EMBRACE foods high in:
Omega 3- the best sources are found in Wild Caught salmon and flax seed oils
Fiber- kale,spinach and broccoli
Healthful Bacteria-yogurt and kefir
Beta Carotene- carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, green leafy veggies such as spinach, kale and romaine lettuce.
Vitamin C- guava, papaya, strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, orange, grapefruit
Vitamin E- seeds, vegetable oils and grains
Zinc- oysters, zinc fortified cereals, dark meat turkey and beans.
Antioxidants- these free radical scavengers include berries, beans, and hot peppers
Water, water, water. Its almost silly to drink anything else (except alcohol, of course. We do need our sanity). Dehydration is one of the major contributors to acne conditions.
Must have supplements for ACNE:
Unfortunately we do not get enough of these supplements from our foods, even in the healthiest of diets.
Omega 3: It is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and ensures normal transport of nutrients into the cells.
Zinc with Copper: Prevents scarring, resists infection and reduces inflammation.
Acidophilus: Maintains normal digestive function.
I realize that this plan is not fool-proof. Skin conditions are oftentimes genetic, hormonal and stress induced. All of the best food and supplement intentions in the world will not always cure acne. Regular treatment from your Skin Care Professional and/or Dermatologist are recommended. In severe cases, medications and laser treatments may be necessary. To help determine if you are experiencing heat and toxicity make an appointment with your Natural Health Practitioner (Acupuncturist, Chiropractor, or Clinical Nutritionist).
It has been my experience that 90% of these ugly eruptions can be controlled by what we put in our mouths. Go ahead, give it a shot- what have you got to lose? Perhaps a few pounds and some unsightly zits. If nothing else you will have adapted a healthier diet that will improve your quality of life, give you more energy and set a conscientious example for your children to take control of their well being.
Kimberly Rockefeller is the owner of “Thrive! Body and Skin” and single mom to Corbin in San Diego, CA firstname.lastname@example.org