By Gladys Halima

Acne is a skin disease that causes pimples. Pimples occur on the face, neck, chest and shoulders. Acne is more common in young adults and teenagers although anyone can get it. But what many don’t know is that the kind of food one eats can either cause or cure pimples.

This is how you put acne in check:

•     If you have adult-onset acne, limiting sugar and other refined carbohydrates intake, minimises the sensitivity of your skin to inflammation and reduces pimples, nodules and cysts formation.

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•     Adding more protein to your diet helps open pores, but only if you consume healthy fats, like those in nuts, seeds, dairy products, avocado, and cold-water fish.

•     Sugar-sweetened soft drinks make your skin more prone to break out, especially under stress.

•     Vitamin A maintains the skin’s health and C increases oiliness.

•     Vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol greatly increases skin oil production but the natural supplements don’t cause this problem.

•     Men are more likely to break out after eating tomatoes than women.

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How soft drinks worsen acne

Soft drinks and energy drinks usually contain sugar and caffeine. The sugar makes the skin more sensitive to testosterone and increases oil production.

While the caffeine enhances the skins sensitivity to a chemical called substance P — a pain transmitter in the body.

Your body produces more substance P whenever you are going through stress or are hungry.

If you satisfy hunger with sugar-sweetened caffeinated soft drink, your body keeps producing more substance P, thus heightening your cravings for sodas.

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Substance P triggers the release of a hormone that makes your skin more vulnerable to inflammation.

Even if you don’t have an overgrowth of acne bacteria, your skin can still break out whenever your drink sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

Misconception about fats

Contrary to what many people think, fats are not always bad for acne. But you need to distinguish between good and bad fats.

Having a little fat in the diet actually does reduce acne. This is because the skin uses fats to stay moist and supple.

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Flexible skin allows sebum to drain out of pores. Thus the more beneficial fats the skin has, the lesser sebum appears in pores.

Fats in most vegetables and also in milk products is healthy, as opposed to that found in processed oils and foods. 

Protein as a skin moisturiser

The skin uses amino acids from high-protein foods to make collagen, which absorbs water for rehydration purpose.

It does not do any good to put expensive collagen products on your skin. They absorb moisture from skin-care products and make your skin look smoother until you rinse them off, and have to start all over again.

Eating protein foods to increase collagen in your skin, however, helps keep pores open. Reducing fat cancels out the benefits of eating protein. You have to have the beneficial fatty acids from healthy plant foods and fish in your skin for increased collagen production to make a difference.

acne diet health