No matter how loyal you are to your 5-step skincare routine or how strict you are about keeping your 6-week facial appointments, zits happen. Factors like hormones, the weather, and beauty products can trigger breakouts at any time.
The foods we eat can be another major variable in acne’s sudden onset. Although what we munch on can cause pesky pimples, it can also be a way to clear them. Giselle Wasfie, D.A.C.M. (Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine), is well-versed in the connection between the food we feed our body and its internal and external effects. Basically, she’s the ultimate expert in “you are what you eat.”
How does food affect our skin?
First, let’s look at what a breakout is and why it mars our otherwise gorgeous faces.
“A breakout is an external sign of inflammation, or excess heat, in the body ‘breaking out’ to the surface of our skin,” Giselle says. “Inflammatory foods are the number-one enemy of clear skin. They can exacerbate acne symptoms, so it’s best to steer clear of these when experiencing a breakout.”
Inflammatory foods include the following:
- Red meat and processed meats
- Refined grains (white rice, white bread, pasta, and cereal)
- Fried foods
- Soda and other sweet drinks
Giselle explains why these foods aggravate acne. “If you eat inflammatory foods, your internal heat gets hotter and makes the skin even worse.” Yikes!
What foods should we eat during a breakout?
Now that we know what foods to avoid when our skin is less than stellar, Giselle shares some foods that may help heal our breakouts. Her first suggestion is to consume internally cooling foods. “They will help quell inflammation, calming the body and skin down,” she says. This also aids the body’s natural healing process.
Her first recommendation is to try an herbal remedy like mint and chrysanthemum tea as they are both part of that cooling group of foods that will help “chill” the skin. Fermented foods like kimchi, yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut are also safe choices. Giselle praises their probiotic benefits and reminds us that our skin also has its own microbiome.
Other excellent picks Giselle stands by are sour foods like lemons and cherries (which are rich in antioxidants) and “energetically cooling foods like lightly steamed vegetables.” Lastly, she emphasizes the importance of water. “Don’t forget to hydrate and flush!” Yet another reminder to keep yourself accountable for proper hydration.
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