Teen Acne: the best food choices
Acne! Is this a frequent topic of conversation with your friends during recess? Acne is a very common skin problem affecting many teenagers and young adults. If you don’t suffer yourself, then I’d be willing to bet that you know someone that does. Rather annoyingly, acne isn't exactly shy either, as the breakouts appear mostly on the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders staring you back when you look in the mirror. No doubt you’ve tried various washes, creams or lotions to manage this skin problem. But have you thought about what you are eating and how that may be affecting your skin health?
Read on to find out more about my favourite foods to support your skin health naturally.
Wholegrains and legumes
Wholegrains and legumes are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. We need carbohydrates for energy but you need to choose wisely as your body is likely to do best when you eat unprocessed, complex carbohydrates, found in foods like wholegrain breads and oats. All carbohydrates break down in our bodies into small molecules of sugar (glucose) and, may then be stored away until needed with the help of a hormone called insulin. However, when you eat foods like lollies, cakes, and white bread, the carbohydrate breaks down really quickly, thus lots of insulin is produced to store the excess glucose. Too much insulin can be a problem and for acne-sufferers, this can mean an increase in sebum production (thus, the oily pus) and inflammation.
And so I suggest to minimise flare-ups and break outs, switching to whole food sources of carbohydrate instead of the processed, refined foods you may be drawn too. Buckwheat pancakes topped with bananas and berries doesn’t sound too bad for breakfast does it? Nor does a Mexican bean wholemeal burrito?
Wholegrains and Legumes Sources: wholegrain breads, wholemeal, spelt flours, buckwheat, quinoa, oats, brown rice, brown pasta, beans, peas, lentils
Fruits & Vegetables
Eating a range of colourful, seasonal fruits and vegetables are essential for our health. Fruits and vegetables are made up of carbohydrates too, along with lots of other vitamins and minerals. Fruits with skins and vegetables are particularly useful in providing fibre to help slow down the breakdown of the sugars, and thus, affecting the rate of insulin production. And as we know, too much insulin may be a problem for acne-sufferers. Fibre is also important in our gut health and so may be useful in your body’s elimination of excess hormones. The other really great thing about fruits and vegetables are the vitamins and minerals they contain which may help with skin cell production, maintenance and function too.
Try having a selection of colourful veggie sticks, like celery, carrot, cucumber, tomato and capsicum, in your lunchbox or your fridge to snack on or bake a veggie muffin for an after school snack, or even eat it for breakfast with a few slices of avocado.
Fish and other seafoods are full of nutrients to support healthy skin. One such nutrient is Omega-3, which is a type of fatty acid, found in fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel. The Omega-3 is essential to our body and helps maintain the structure of the skin cells, and may help with reducing inflammation too. Fish also contain several minerals such as Selenium and Zinc which are also important in balancing hormones and reducing inflammation.
Try mashing up (or whizzing up in a blender) some tinned mackerel or sardines with a big squeeze of lemon, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a small handful of parsley. This will make a delicious spread for a wholegrain sandwich or a yummy dip for the veggie sticks. Alternatively, if you don’t like eating fish or are allergic to seafood, you can get lots of omega 3 in chia seeds which can be used to make an awesome quick and easy breakfast. Keep an eye out on my instagram page for this recipe coming soon.
Whilst your food choices are unlikely to solve your acne problems, some foods may be exacerbating it and contributing to flare ups. Choosing whole foods, such as wholegrains, legumes, fruits, vegetable and fish, are likely to be better choices for your overall health as well as your skin health. It is important, however, to remember that everyone is different and so what is helpful to your friend may not be helpful to you.
If you would like help with managing your acne naturally, I’m here to help. An appointment can be booked here.