Acne and the Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Is your skin familiar with those red, swollen bumps that are painful to the touch and impossible to conceal? If so, your body’s response to inflammation may be working overtime, and among other things, your complexion is paying the price.
What exactly is inflammation? Inflammation is a natural response by the body in an attempt to protect itself from foreign irritants, such as bacteria, chemicals, or even foods that one’s body may be inclined to reject. Inflammation is a common part of the healing process and usually subsides once the foreign element has been addressed. In terms of acne symptoms, an inflammatory response can result in red, swollen bumps on your face that are often painful and irritating.
One way to combat an over-stimulated inflammatory response is to consider the foods that we put into our bodies. It’s not uncommon knowledge that dairy, gluten, trans fats, and sugar, among other culprits, can lead to changes in the body, which may aggravate acne symptoms. What many people don’t consider is that, while certain foods are wonderful for detoxifying the system, others are powerful aids in keeping inflammation under control.
In terms of diet and inflammation, restricting inflammatory foods is just as essential as adding anti-inflammatory foods, and should be one of the first changes we make to our eating habits. Avoid processed foods which include meats containing nitrates or other preservatives, baked snacks, refined grains such as white flour, and anything with a high sugar content. High-glycemic foods, known for increasing blood sugar and hormone levels, may result in the overproduction of sebum, an oily substance that, in excessive amounts, can lead to clogged pores. The clogged pore can accumulate dead skin cells which may lead to an inflammatory response as the body works to fight off what is essentially a bacterial invasion. The acute response results in pustules and prolonged inflammation and can lead to bumps under the skin called cystic acne.
Keeping an anti-inflammatory diet doesn’t have to be difficult. There are endless options packed with flavor and nutrition. Here are a few of our favorites!
- Wild-caught fish, such as black cod. Having a higher count of Omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, black cod is an excellent source of antioxidants. This is an excellent source of protein with a delicious buttery flavor, providing a versatile menu option for the foodie in you.
- Ginger. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger promotes healthy skin by aiding blood circulation. Fresh ginger is preferred to powdered ginger as the active ingredients benefit acne. Fresh grated ginger can be added to tea, stir fry, salad dressing and countless other options.
- Turmeric. Containing anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, this rhizome has a flavor profile similar to ginger. A long-celebrated skin remedy, widely used in Eastern regions such as India, this spice can be added to eggs, vegetables, meats, and spice blends such as curries,
- Coconut Oil.. The anti-inflammatory properties in this superfood improves current acne outbreaks and prevents future outbreaks by regulating hormonal balance and speeding up the healing process. Coconut oil has a high smoking point and can be used in the place of butter and other cooking oils. It is a great addition to sautéed meats and vegetables, desserts, or smoothies
- Berries. With too many to name, this juicy variety of antioxidants is a great-tasting way to fight inflammation.
- Extra-virgin olive oil. Studies have found the the compound oleocanthal mimics the effects of certain non steroidal drugs, such as Ibuprofen. In addition to possessing anti-inflammatory properties, e.v.o.o. is also abundant in antioxidants and antibacterial agents.
Ginger-Rubbed Black Cod (Sablefish) Recipe
Serves 2 (Recipe by Aron Canouse)
2 - 6 to 8 ounce pieces of wild-caught black cod with skin (thick fillet, avoid tail end)
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
Pinch of dark brown sugar
1 tsp Coconut oil, plus more for cooking
Mix ginger, low sodium soy sauce and dark brown sugar together, making a paste. Rub flesh side of fish with 1 tsp of coconut oil followed by ginger paste. Let fish sit for 2 hours in refrigerator with flesh side down in marinade. Heat pan over medium high heat. When hot, add small amount of coconut oil to pan, enough to coat the bottom. Add fish, skin side down, and immediately cover pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes and remove lid. Cook for an additional minute or 2, letting skin get crispy. Fish will release itself and not stick to pan when ready. Fish should be slightly undercooked as it will continue to cook when removed from heat.
In addition to acne, uncontrolled chronic inflammation has been linked with serious medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and arthritis. A good measure to keep skin acne-free, as well as maintaining a generally healthy lifestyle, the benefits of incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into one’s diet can enhance your life.
Combining a low-glycemic, anti-inflammatory diet with a systemic solution such as AcnEase® gives anyone their best chance at achieving and maintaining, clear, healthy skin. AcnEase® is an all-natural herbal supplement that works to fight acne at its source by regulating the overproduction of sebum by the sebaceous glands. Much like the science behind AcnEase®, the inflammation response of the body is an inside job, and must be treated as such. AcnEase® uses all botanical ingredients including Gardenia Fruit, an anti-inflammatory, to create a systemic solution that provides lasting results.
We want to hear from you! Do you keep your diet in mind when it comes to your skincare regimen? Have any favorite foods, or ones you absolutely avoid? Tell us in the comments below!