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Acne and Food: What to Eat to Reduce Acne?

Updated: Mar 11

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Food High in Fat and Sugar Increase Sebum Secretion

Different types of junk food such as burgers on a table

Excessive sebum secretion is one of the factors contributing to acne. Consuming high-fat and high-sugar foods and drinks can potentially stimulate sebum production, leading to acne breakouts.

The condition of our skin reflects the overall health of our body. To maintain healthy skin, it is crucial to have a well-balanced diet and nourish our body with nutritious meals.. Moreover, it's important to address any issues related to constipation caused by a lack of dietary fiber or imbalances in the intestinal environment. Improving the intestinal environment through dietary choices can help prevent acne.

An imbalanced diet fails to provide adequate nutrients to the skin, impeding the natural turnover process and increasing the risk of acne. Make sure to consume a proper balance of the five major nutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, and vitamins) on a daily basis.

In addition to diet, meal timings are crucial. Going to bed on a full stomach can, potentially impact the quality of your rest. Insufficient sleep can also affect skin turnover. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid late-night eating and drinking, ideally finishing your meal at least two hours before bedtime.


Ingredients Effective in Preventing Acne

An infographic of food and their specific vitamins

To prevent acne, we recommend actively consuming the following nutrients. You can take vitamins, dietary fiber, bifidobacteria, and lactic acid bacteria easily with nutritional supplements.


1. Vitamin B

Vitamins B supports the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.

Vitamin B2 is found in the liver, soybeans, eels, milk, etc., and promotes skin metabolism (turnover).


2. Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is found in bonito, tuna, bananas, brown rice, etc. It increases skin resistance and regulates hormone balance.


3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is found in kiwi, oranges, strawberries, and broccoli. It promotes collagen synthesis and prevents hyperpigmentation of acne scars due to its antioxidant properties.


4. Dietary fiber

Dietary fiber is contained in seaweed, vegetables, mushrooms, etc., and prevents constipation, the great enemy of acne.


5. Bifidobacteria and Lactic acid bacteria

Bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria are good bacteria found in yogurt and other products.

It is said that people with constipation tend to have an increased percentage of bad bacteria, which causes putrefactive products to circulate in the blood and leads to acne.

Good bacteria multiply and die repeatedly in the intestines and are easily depleted by stress, so it is recommended to replenish them daily as much as possible.


Foods Good for Acne that are Readily Available


1. Good quality protein

・Natto (fermented soybeans) and tofu

They contain protein, soy isoflavone, and vitamin B complex. If you want something for topping, a small amount of kimchi (which contains lactic acid bacteria) is a good idea.

・Chicken

Low in calories and rich in good quality protein, a component of skin.


2. Good quality desserts

・Yogurt

It contains calcium as well as protein and lactic acid bacteria.

・Bananas

They contain a variety of nutrients, including vitamin B6, and perhaps the best part is that they are easy to peel.

A bowl of yoghurt on the table

3. Foods rich in dietary fiber

・Seaweed salad:

Wakame seaweed is rich in fiber.

・Cereals

Oats, brown rice, etc. are rich in insoluble fiber. They are also easy to eat, often with added vitamins.


4. Foods rich in vitamins

・Vegetable Salads

Leafy greens as well as those high in vitamins, such as broccoli, are recommended.


5. Good quality snacks

・Nuts

They contain good quality oil, the source of beautiful skin. Dried fruits and other dry foods are also recommended. Just be careful not to eat too many as they can be high in sugar; limit yourself to a few grains per day.


Foods that Stimulate Acne

While there isn't a definitive connection between specific foods and acne, maintaining a balanced diet is crucial for promoting healthy skin. Lipids play a role in the barrier function of the outermost layer of the skin (stratum corneum), so it's important to consume a moderate amount of good fats found in nuts, fatty fish, and healthy oils (like omega-3-rich egoma oil or Perilla Seed Oil). Conversely, excessive sugar intake can raise blood sugar levels, increase hormone production, and lead to excessive sebum production. Additionally, consuming excessive fat and sugar can deplete the body's B vitamin stores, which is problematic for acne prevention. To minimize the risk of acne formation, it's advisable to avoid the following dietary habits:

  • Excessive consumption of sugary and fatty treats like doughnuts and cakes.

  • Overindulgence in fried foods such as snacks and fast food.

  • Excessive intake of carbohydrates from sources like rice, bread, and pasta.

  • Consuming high-sugar beverages like soft drinks and alcohol.


Prevent Acne with Microbiome Care

The intestines harbor three types of microbiomes: "good," "bad," and "opportunistic." Disrupting the balance among these microbiomes can impact our overall health, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a balanced intestinal microbiota for both well-being and radiant skin.

Short-chain fatty acids, a byproduct of intestinal microbiome metabolism, offer numerous benefits and are known to positively affect skin health. These fatty acids are produced when the microbiome metabolizes dietary fiber. Therefore, actively incorporating dietary fiber into your diet can increase the abundance of beneficial microbiomes in the intestines and improve skin conditions.

Fermented foods are another dietary option that promotes a healthy intestinal microbiome. They contain probiotics, which are beneficial for gut health. While yogurt is a well-known example, other fermented foods like miso, nukazuke pickles, natto (fermented soybeans), kimchi, and sauerkraut also harbor numerous beneficial microbiomes.

To enhance the gut environment, it is crucial to consume substances that nourish the microbiome. Soluble dietary fiber serves as food for intestinal bacteria, making vegetables an essential component of a healthy diet. Incorporating vegetables not only helps maintain nutritional balance but also provides nourishment to the intestinal microbiome.


Does Eating These Cause Acne?


1. Chocolate

A U.S. study conducted in the late 1960s reported that "there is no direct relationship between consumption of chocolate and the development of acne. Immunological studies have also failed to prove a definite link between chocolate and acne. On the other hand, the health benefits of high cacao polyphenols have also been reported, so be careful not to overeat, but enjoy a few grains a day to reap its benefits.


2. Alcohol

Like carbohydrates and sweet foods, alcohol has the property of accelerating glycation in the body and may trigger acne due to skin oxidation and inflammation. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages with high sugar content, such as plum wine, sake, wine, and sweet cocktails, especially in excess. Since red wine is rich in polyphenols, a glass or two is good for the skin.


3. Coffee

Coffee is said to be bad for acne because of the "caffeine," "sugar," and "fat" contained in coffee. Excessive consumption of caffeine results in dehydration due to its diuretic effect, and gastrointestinal and sleep disturbance due to its stimulant properties. On the other hand, coffee contains polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties and help prevent skin oxidation and acne. Choose black coffee to avoid excessive sugar, or cafe au lait with milk that does not contain trans fatty acids (like soy milk or cow's milk). It's important to enjoy coffee in moderation and not to drink too much.


4. Spicy foods

Acne may be caused by an upset stomach that is difficult to notice. If you're suffering from acne, avoid stimulants and oily foods that irritate the stomach.


Conclusion

Acne, diet, and the gut microbiome are interconnected, and making dietary changes can have a gradual yet significant impact on acne. By improving your diet, you can experience a reduction in acne breakouts and potentially alleviate associated stress, leading to healthier, glowing skin.

The initial step in preventing acne is to prioritize a well-balanced diet and seek guidance from a specialist for proper care. This article provides valuable information on utilizing specific nutrients to achieve clear, acne-free skin.


Schedule a consultation today and start your acne recovery journey today.


This blog post was medically reviewed by Dr Summer Zhang.

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