First, we have to understand acne?
To put it very simply, we have a protein in our skin called keratin. When everything is functioning properly a build-up of keratin and dead skin cells are pushed out of the pores smoothly, with hair growth and natural cellular turnover. All of these natural processes and the regulation of keratin production are fueled by proper nutrition! If we lack essential vitamins in our diets, keratin and dead skin cells do not exit the pore. They build up over time, eventually rupturing or inflamming the wall of the pore/follicle causing acne.
So what’s the secret to clear skin?
Vitamins A, B, E, and Zinc!
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for growth, cell differentiation, immunity, sexual maturity, and healthy vision. Night blindness may occur if there is a deficiency in this vitamin. Vitamin A is found in some foods, but beta-carotene, which is found in more foods (like squash, carrots, and pumpkin), can be converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin B
We need all forms of vitamin B due to their amazing ability to help our bodies metabolize and regulate. When working with acne we want to focus on B6. Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin essential for proper metabolism, particularly of protein and keratin. It is involved in a variety of enzymatic reactions throughout the body and supports immune function. Low levels of B6 can lead to a depletion of progesterone. Low progesterone and high estrogen can trigger an insulin response, causing a boost in testosterone and ending in acne.
Food sources: liver, chicken, wild-caught salmon, organic potatoes, avocado, chickpeas, navy beans, pistachios, walnuts.
Part of acne has to do with the oxidation of our sebum from environmental, or internal, free radical damage. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that functions as an antioxidant in the body. As an antioxidant, it helps support healthy aging, cellular immunity, and decreases sebum production.
Food sources: sunflower seeds, almonds, olive oil, peanuts, spinach, avocado.
Zinc supports enzymatic reactions necessary for everything from DNA replication to protein digestion (keratin!). Zinc is also an important component of immunity and supports wound healing. Zinc also dramatically increases the delivery of vitamin A. Combine with foods that contain vitamin A for added anti-acne supplementation.
Food sources: cashews, sunflower seeds, oysters, pumpkin seeds, beef, chickpeas, cocoa, crab, lobster.
I'm an esthetician and a holistic health coach. I am not a physician, homeopath or nutritionist. Everything I recommend is from my personal experience of using products, treating my own conditions and naturopathic doctors I've seen. If you're being treated by a doctor or have a medical condition, please talk to your doctor before choosing a new route. Never stop using medication without consulting your doctor first.