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Acne and your diet


We all struggle with acne at some point in our lives, though there are several factors that affect acne there are also actions we can consciously take to minimize acne and quickly get rid of it. In this blog post, we speak on the question 'Is there a link between acne and your diet? We often hear the  As old adage; 'You are what you eat and according to research this is ever more visible when it comes to issues such as acne that affect our faces. Our main Achilles heel here is Acne! 

Acne is a skin problem typically caused by inflammation and infection of the sebaceous glands of the skin that can cause several types of bumps to form on the surface of the skin. Sebaceous glands are stimulated by hormones (particularly androgens).  These bumps can form anywhere on the body but are most common on the:

  • Face
  • Neck
  • Back
  • Shoulder

Acne is thought to develop through a combination of factors; these include the production of too much oil in the skin, clogged skin pores, bacteria in the skin, and inflammation. Hormonal changes — which occur during puberty, or with a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome — and the menstrual cycle can have a big impact on acne because they affect oil production in the skin.

Research suggests that certain foods can promote inflammation throughout the body, and it’s possible this triggers acne outbreaks. In addition, diet can affect hormones that, in turn, could make acne worse. For example, milk and foods with a high sugar content can cause a rise in insulin levels, altering other hormones that can affect the skin. 

Some medications can also cause acne breakouts (especially steroids and lithium). Then there are the products you use on your hair, makeup, and other products we put on our skin that can contribute to clogged pores. Some contributing factors to acne include genetic factors, pollution, smoking, and stress.

There are three main types of acne:

  • A whitehead is a pore that gets clogged, closes then sticks out of the skin
  • These appear as hard, whitish bumps.
  • A blackhead is a pore that gets clogged but stays open. These appear as tiny dark spots on the skin’s surface.
  • A pimple is a pore whose walls open, allowing oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells to get under the skin. These appear as red bumps that sometimes have a pus-filled white top (the body’s reaction to the bacteria).

We know, everyone has a favourite face cream, cleanser, serum or treatment to help fight acne that you swear by and we believe you. We do offer some awesome ones through our Marapa Skincare Line if we do say so ourselves.

However, at Sugar Town Organics we teach a holistic approach to good health incorporating topical products carefully crafted for how they work with your skin to keep you healthy and beautiful. Older cells are constantly shed and replaced by younger ones and a steady supply of key nutrients is essential to support this rapid growth.

Without the diet element also functioning there is only so much topical skincare can do especially if there are underlying, internal issues that need to be addressed.

We encourage eating a balanced diet of nutritionally rich foods and you'll feed your skin the vital nutrients it needs to help it stay soft, supple and blemish-free.

If you are experiencing skin breakouts and/or irritation, here are some helpful tips. As I always tell our customers with any regime give it a few months (be patient with both yourself and your skin, your issues did come about yesterday and so are unlikely to disappear tomorrow) and see how it changes over time.

Eliminate potential problem foods:

Gluten, dairy, sugar and coffee can all make acne worse. Experiment with eliminating them. It doesn't mean you'll never get to eat them again, it just means giving your body a break from them now and then. Moderation is key.

Eat more fibre to fight acne

Our bodies are constantly in a state of detox. The levels vary according to your diet and metabolism. The liver process excess hormones and prepares them for elimination. If you are not eliminating (bowel movement) at least once daily, those hormones which remain active can be reabsorbed and cause another acne breakout. Soluble fibres grab onto these hormones and other toxins and escort them out of your body (hello! exit stage left!) 

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that help to protect the skin from the cellular damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals, smoking, pollution and sunlight can cause wrinkling and age spots. Eat a rainbow of colourful fruit and vegetables. If you don't like them fresh make a drink or dish with them. Though for maximum benefit fresh is better. Beta carotene, found in carrots, mango, sweet potato, watermelon, pumpkin, tomato and bell peppers. Lutein is found in kale, papaya, spinach and avocado, which are sources of potent antioxidants, important for normal skin cell development and healthy skin tone.

Eat protein with every meal

Refined and/or sugary foods cause a blood sugar spike that is bad news for your skin. Instead of reaching for a pastry or sweet beverage in the morning. Balance that meal with protein and fibre like an egg and some oatmeal or craft a smoothie and add some nuts!

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant found in fish, eggs, wheatgerm, tomatoes and broccoli that works alongside other antioxidants such as vitamins E and C and is essential to support the immune system. A selenium-rich diet can help to protect against skin cancer, sun damage and age spots. As a bonus eating adequate protein can help nix sugar cravings altogether helping with our first tip overall.

Eat fermented foods and beverages

Sarsaparilla Drink

You can eat the healthiest foods in the world, but if you are not absorbing those nutrients you will see no benefits. If you are in the Caribbean add fermented foods and beverages (such as sarsaparilla, noni tonic, ginger beer and mauby). A digestive enzyme can be beneficial too!  Remember a healthy gut = healthy skin!

Eat plenty Zinc

Pumpkin Seeds

Zinc is an essential mineral that your body does not make on its own that aids growth, DNA synthesis, immune function and is involved in the normal functioning of the sebaceous glands in the skin (these sebaceous glands produce oil in the skin). They help to repair skin damage and keep skin soft and supple. Zinc-rich foods include fish, whole grains, poultry, nuts like cashew and seeds like pumpkin seeds.

Drink your tea!

Herbal teas offer a wide range of benefits. No one knows that better than grandma! If you have a cold, headache, need help winding down at night, just had a baby, need help lactating, you name it a good ole' cup is just the thing. Did you also know that spearmint tea works wonders against hormonal acne along your jaw? 

For your immune system adaptogens like basil, roselle and guava and mango leaf. For digestive support licorice, ginger, burdock root. Try our Island Bush Tea Blend for immune support! Which you choose enjoy at least a cup daily and you will see your skin change.

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