Can you treat acne with a hormonal acne diet?
The truth is that there is mixed and contrasting evidence about the relationship between diet and acne. But this is not entirely surprising considering that treating skin blemishes is as mysterious as it sounds. A hormonal acne diet that keeps zits and pits at bay varies widely from person to person, depending on their dietary needs and their individual triggers. This write up attempts to explore the ideal hormonal acne diet plan while putting into consideration some of the foods that could set off hormonal acne and the specific dietary changes you can try to treat acne solely through what you eat.
But first, what is hormonal acne?
The term hormonal acne is simply what the mainstream media uses to describe breakouts that appear to be caused or influenced majorly by specific hormonal changes. People who are likely to suffer from hormonal acne will notice that there are more prone to breakouts and pimples;
- During or just before their monthly periods
- After and during pregnancy
- After stopping or starting contraceptives, particularly birth control pills
- During menopause or perimenopause
As much as it is not always possible to classify a breakout as being caused by hormonal changes by simply looking at it from a physical point of view, there are usually some dead giveaways such as the general timing of the flare ups and acne episodes. A person with a flawless complexion during other times of the year, for instance, will have a nasty breakout during their periods or vice versa. If this sounds like you, then there's a high chance that the oscillations of your hormonal cycle is responsible for your skin problems.
While in depth studies into how different hormones impact skin complexion and clarity continue, scientists seem to have established the fact that androgens have a critical role to play in all of this. These, for those who may not be familiar with the term, are a group of sub-hormones that are known to activate the sebaceous glands into producing more oil.
You see, there are several things that can spike the base levels of the androgen hormones in your body, including;
- The onset of puberty
- Chronic emotional stress
- A few medical conditions or disorders such as PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)
- Medications and contraceptives such as progesterone-based birth controls
- Your diet
In all of the above factors, there's none that you could exercise greater control over than watching what you eat. The fact that there's a link between hormonal acne and diet is actually the crux of this article.
What Kind of Diet is Good for Hormonal Acne?
A 2016 study found out that the best diet plan to prevent hormonal acne revolves around the following major pointers.
1. Low Glycemic Index Foods
The study mentioned above unearthed a few interesting findings about the connection between the glycemic index load of food and acne. One of the them is that reducing the intake of high GI foods plays a significant role in decreasing the likelihood of developing acne vulgaris and staves off occasional flare ups. And this can be traced back to the fact that low GI foods rarely interfere with the body's blood sugar levels unlike high glycemic index foods that are known to trigger the release of insulin which, consequently, can precipitate a skin breakout.
Speaking of which, some of the low GI foods that you can add to your diet include
- Cereals and whole grains
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Legumes and beans
- Seeds and nuts
- Fruits such as berries, apples and plums
The same can be said about most conventional protein and healthy fat food sources as they do not have any considerable impact on one's insulin levels or blood sugar control. Therefore, incorporating foods such as chicken, eggs, olive oil and fish in your diet can go a long way in keeping your blood sugar stable while providing critical nutrients needed for the proper maintenance of a gorgeous complexion.
2. Omega 3 Fatty Acid Foods
It should go without saying that the ideal diet for hormonal acne cannot be complete without throwing in some fatty acids rich foods. You see, a diet that contains high amounts of omega-9, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids can lower cellular inflammation considerably to the point where it can offset any damage sustained from exposure to environmental pollutants.
Although the link between omega-3 fatty acid intake and acne is yet to be proven through water-tight empirical studies, one cannot deny the fact that this food suh-group can temper the levels of IGF1 (insulin-like growth factor 1). And, as it has been established before, this always has a direct effect on one's androgen levels that can be capitalized upon to ensure a consistent gorgeous complexion.
You can get omega-3 from the following common food sources
- Oily fish such as mackerel and wild-caught salmon
- Nuts and seeds such as walnuts and flaxseeds
- Fish oil supplements or algae oil
Research shows that people who are always battling acne are more likely to be deficient in certain antioxidants e.g selenium than those who have a clear skin throughout the year. Whether this predisposes one to hormonal acne is still debatable but one thing remains clear - selenium plays an integral role in stabilizing sebum production which, in one way or another, maintains a balanced skin tone.
That aside, antioxidants still play an integral role in the maintenance of a perfect bill of health, so it's still a good idea to include these foods in your hormonal acne diet plan. This includes;
- Red Grapes, peanuts and mulberries which are considered rich sources of resveratrol
- Brazil nuts, beef, seafood, turkey, and organ meats that contain plenty of selenium
- Blueberries, red cabbage, leafy greens, green tea and other superfoods that contain a conglomerate of important nutrients.
Keto Diet Hormonal Diet
While there's not a lot of in depth research on how exactly adhering to a ketogenic diet can improve hormonal acne symptoms, observation proves that keto is more than beneficial for combating breakouts. And this matches the theory that suggests that a keto diet hormonal acne regimen is instrumental in lowering one's insulin levels which then translates to better skin and less flare ups.
Overall, sticking to a ketogenic eating plan can do wonders for you skin since;
1. A Ketogenic Diet Encourages the Consumption of Complexion-boosting Foods
Whether it is intentional or not, most keto diet plans include a bunch of foods that are highly beneficial to the overall state of the skin. This includes the substitution of simple carbs with non-starch vegetables like cucumber, cauliflower, collard green and spinach.
Besides, since a ketogenic diet plan is not considered to be complete without the inclusion of plant-based healthy fat sources such as olive oil and avocado, it is not hard to see how the eating plan helps boost and preserve the skin's handsomeness. The same applies to the inclusion of fatty fish such as mackerel, sardines and wild-caught salmon.
2. Eating Less Sugar Means Fewer Wrinkles and Fine Lines
A typical ketogenic diet has very few refined sugars and low in simple carbohydrates. What you do get, instead, is complex carbs and non-starchy energy sources. This combination is very important in stabilising blood sugar levels and reducing the chances of suffering from glycation. Glycation, as you may already know, contributes immensely to the weakening of collagen which can lead to the development of fine lines, wrinkles and, generally, saggy skin. So, in one way or another, having a keto eating routine works wonders for your skin.
3. Emphasis on the Consumption of Good Fats Prevents Solar Damage
The ideal keto diet focuses on the consumption of healthy fats and the elimination of low-quality processed ones. In short, it encourages the consumption of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids which are known to be instrumental in preventing skin damage by the sun's ultraviolet rays. In a way, it's like building your own internal sunscreen that filters harmful rays from the sun and stops them from wrecking untold damage to your skin's architecture.
What's more, adherence to a proper keto diet also translates to zero intake of the trans fats that are typically found in processed and fried foods. Therefore, you will be inadvertently staying away from foods that can cause redness, acne, inflammation and a progressive loss of collagen.
4. A Ketogenic Diet Encourages Eating Vitamin A-rich Foods
In the simplest of definitions, a keto diet is built on the idea that eating plenty of nutrient dense and low-carb veggies is better for your overall health than stuffing yourself with simple, low-fibre carbohydrates. Most of these vegetables and food sources that make up the bulk of a ketogenic diet are rich in vitamin A retinol, an essential vitamin needed for the youthful-looking and glowing skin. It is also to be remembered that vitamin A prevents recurrent skin infection and sun damage.
Korean Diet for Hormonal Acne
It's an open secret that Korean women have relied on non-inflammatory antioxidant rich foods to keep their complexion in tip-top shape. It's not surprising that you don't get poreless, wrinkle-free and eternally youthful skin via a steady diet of mince pies and greasy chips. In fact, it will take adherence to a comprehensive korean beauty diet for hormonal acne to keep seasonal blemishes at bay.
Here are some of the food pieces that Seoulites live and swear by for their enviable plump skin.
It's a fermented, a bit pungent and spicy cabbage that features in any korean diet for hormonal acne treatment that's worth talking about. Packed with plenty of garlic to drive away a pack of rats, kimchi is exceedingly rich in selenium and antioxidants. And, this imparts two sets of benefits. First, it helps combat premature ageing then, secondly, promotes an even complexion within a shorter-than-normal timeframe. You can eat it alongside almost any meal, especially taking into consideration that it can infuse a unique oriental flavor to any bland Western dish.
Overall, though, it's a powerful addition to your anti-acne arsenal diet, especially when paired with avocado and eggs.
2. Miyeok Guk / Seaweed Soup
It's a regular staple in a standard Korean breakfast routine and also consumed on birthdays and special occasions instead of sugar-tastic and calorific cakes as we do here in the West. Now, you know why Koreans always look eternally youthful despite blowing more candles on their birthdays.
Seaweed soup, in particular, imparts plenty of sulfates that has a soothing effect on one's complexion in addition to slowing down age-related decay.
3. Soybean Soup
Soybean soup is the heart and soul of most Korean and East Asian meals. Not only is it healthy and quite frugal, its richness in Vitamin E makes it a national favorite among people looking to protect their skin from any UV-related damage as well as keep occasional hormonal breakouts at bay. The fact that it's relatively very cheap in Korea also explains why it features in most Korean diets for hormonal acne prevention or treatment.
4. Barley Tea
One of the suspected reasons behind occasional flare ups is poor blood circulation, especially in the colder, chillier and wintry months. The Koreans counter this by incorporating freshly brewed barley tea into their winter dietary eating plans. It has a deep taste and its reputation as a cell regeneration booster has seen it secure a permanent spot in the beverage lists of many beauty-conscious people. Besides, it's thought to play a role in keeping skin firm and the maintenance of the integrity of the underlying collagen architecture.
Final Thoughts - Healthy Food diet for Hormonal Acne
While acne can develop and persist for a number of varied reasons, there's no denying the impact that diet plays on the severity and likelihood of hormonal flare ups. By eating lower glycemic index foods as opposed to sugary energy sources, you can drastically reduce our probability of being plagued by hormone-induced breakouts by a large margin. The same applies to including antioxidant-rich foods and those that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (as discussed at lengths in this article) to your eating habits.