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What to eat to beat acne

Mar 28,2022 | HISEEK PRETTY

Acne, in medical terms, is called acne vulgaris. In fact, until 2007, the prevailing view in the international dermatological community was that the association between diet and acne was minimal and was mainly due to genetic factors and high levels of androgens.

But this view changed after 2009: in March that year, the International Academy of Dermatology published a retrospective review online, which clarified that diet can be linked to acne to some extent.

What to eat more of?
Seafood: You must be surprised to see this, don't many people say you can't eat seafood? In fact, you don't need to avoid seafood when you have acne.

Seafood contains essential unsaturated fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid, which is lacking in the Chinese diet. Eating more seafood when you have acne, especially seafood with low mercury content such as anchovies, sea bass, salmon (i.e. salmon), scallops, yellowtail, canned tuna, shrimp and crab, but avoiding fish with high mercury content such as squareheads, sharks, swordfish and Atlantic mackerel (mackerel), can regulate the ratio of unsaturated fatty acids in our diet and better promote the recovery of acne.

Vegetables and fruits: yellow vegetables and fruits such as oranges, carrots and tomatoes are rich in carotenoids which, when converted into vitamin A in the body, help to maintain normal skin keratinocyte metabolism and reduce sebum production; vegetables such as cabbage, beets, kale and broccoli have antioxidant properties and may be beneficial for inflammation repair.

Foods rich in selenium: Whole wheat bread, salmon and lobster are all rich in selenium. Selenium is known to promote antioxidant effects and facilitate inflammation repair. Selenium also increases the level of vitamin E in the blood, and some studies have shown that low levels of vitamin E in the blood can increase the inflammatory response to acne.

Green tea: The polyphenols in green tea can reduce the level of oxygen free radicals in the skin and inhibit the action of androgens on the sebaceous glands of hair follicles.

What should I eat less of?
Sweets: especially high glycaemic index foods. The glycaemic index (GI) is an important indicator used to measure the glycaemic response caused by food in the body. Foods with a high GI, such as crispy cornflakes, white bread and cream cakes, can lead to higher levels of free androgens in the blood by reducing insulin sensitivity. Androgens are a major contributor to acne formation.

Dairy products: Both whole milk and skim milk can aggravate acne because milk contains IgF-1, an inflammatory factor that promotes keratinocyte differentiation and accelerates keratinisation of the sebaceous ducts of hair follicles. Excess keratin mixes with sebum to form keratin plugs, which become the best feeder for bacteria, fungi and mites.

Some fitness enthusiasts get acne after supplementing with whey protein because whey protein is precisely the protein most likely to produce IgF-1, so while building muscle, the user has to accept the side effect of oily skin and even acne.

It is recommended that people with acne use yoghurt instead of plain milk, as it is likely that lactic acid bacteria use IgF-1 in their fermentation, so the IgF-1 content of yoghurt is significantly lower than that of other dairy products.

Saturated fatty acids: Most commonly found in fatty meat from animals such as pork, beef and lamb. It can increase IgF-1 and acne sufferers need to control their intake.

What is mentioned above as something to be eaten sparingly is not a complete no-no, but just something to be reduced appropriately. The most important thing for healthy skin is to have balanced nutrition. To say which things will aggravate acne and not touch them at all will lead to malnutrition and yellow skin in the long run, but instead, the skin will look worse.

Diet plays a supporting role in the recovery process of acne and is not a cure. If acne tends to get worse, it is important to see a dermatologist promptly to rule out any endocrine problems or the need for special medication.

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