You Are What You Eat: Diet, Acne and Rosacea
In the Tang Dynasty, the famous doctor Sun Si-miao said that, when a person is sick, the doctor should first regulate the patient's diet and lifestyle. Certainly the combination of a change in dietary habits and herbal medicine can achieve remarkable results.
Although diet is not the cause of skin problems like acne and rosacea it can clearly play an important role in their treatment and elimination. In just the same way that, herbs have their own taste and properties so do foods. According to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acne (termed heat sores) and rosacea are due to an excess of heat and toxins in the body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine bitter tasting herbs are used to clear heat and fire toxin from the body and in the same way bitter tasting foods can also help to clear heat. Similarly herbs that are sweet in nature have a warming and tonifying effect, but in too large a dose will make the body damp and sluggish. Overeating sweet foods can create dampness and phlegm, which can increase the discharge of pus in acne therefore its important to eat sweet foods sparingly. The herbal ingredients in AcnEase each have different properties and nature. The overall effect is a product that cools the blood, eliminates toxins and drains dampness away from the skin. The foods that we choose to eat can either support us and help balance our inner body environment or they can cause imbalance and disease.
The foods to avoid for acne and rosacea are those that are" hot" and "damp" in nature. Hot and damp foods are excessively rich and fatty and often contribute to a poorly functioning digestive system. Try to avoid foods classified as hot and damp which include: sugary cakes, cookies, sweets, alcohol, chocolate, fried and greasy food, dairy products and peanuts. Coconut products, fats and oils are also generally too greasy and difficult for the body to breakdown and should also be avoided. If eaten to excess some citrus fruits such as mandarin oranges and clementines will cause damp heat and encourage the formation of pimples and acne.
As rosacea feels hot or burning (facial flushing), foods that heat the blood should be eliminated, especially alcohol, coffee, lobster, prawns, and hot spicy foods. Many additives like artificial sweeteners, preservatives, food colorings and MSG can heat the blood and cause rashes to appear on the skin.
The way food is cooked can effect the nature of individual foods and cause them to become either hotter or cooler in nature. For example, foods that are roasted, curried, barbecued, baked, smoked or deep-fried become much hotter in energy and create more heat in the body. The best cooking methods for acne sufferers are: steaming, quick boiling, blanching, poaching, braising, stewing or quick stir-frying using very little oil.
As far as possible a diet for acne and rosacea should be high in whole grains, legumes, pulses, seeds, nuts and plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. Chicken and fish are preferable to the more heating red meats and tofu is an excellent form of protein, which has cooling qualities. Foods are better cooked rather than raw, because cooked food is easier to digest and less damp forming. Seaweed is also good for the skin and helps eliminate dampness. One final tip, add a small amount of Job's tears (pearl barley) to rice when cooking and this will help to eliminate heat and damp and its delicious as well!