A Fresh Look at Diet, Lifestyle and Acne
By Alan C. Logan, ND, FRSH, author of The Clear Skin Diet
Acne. It used to be the plight of the young and hormonal. But today, acne is striking professional women at alarming rates. In fact, acne is now considered a world-wide epidemic. Some 20 million North Americans are diagnosed with acne while millions more suffer but do not visit doctors.
So what’s made this skin condition leap from the pages of adolescence onto the faces of hardworking men and women worldwide? According to the latest research it is environmental factors that are to blame. That’s right, it’s time to once again look at our stress levels, diet, sleep patterns and frequency of exercise. It’s time to relook at how hormones and inflammation, that contribute to a host of health conditions, also contribute to acne.
The Clear Skin Diet (September 2007 Cumberland House) looks at the latest scientific research on acne and the environmental link and comes up with a list of lifestyle modifications needed for glowing, perfect skin.
The traditional diet of high fiber, high omega-3 intake, a variety of dietary antioxidants, low sugar, low processed foods, and almost no dairy is key to acne-free skin.
A breakfast of oatmeal, fresh fruit and some non-fat organic plain yogurt is research-proven to help your skin. Stick with whole grains, nuts, seeds and a colorful array of fruits and vegetables to ensure that you’re getting enough fibre and low-glycemic foods in your daily diet.
Milk As Acne Promoter
Two recent Harvard studies have also confirmed what many patients and some dermatologists have been saying for years – milk may be the strongest dietary acne promoter. The first Harvard study examined milk intake and acne among almost 50,000 women and the second followed 6,000 pre-teen and teen females for three years and both found that milk is strongly associated with acne.
Other forms of dairy such as cheese and sherbets were also implicated, yet fermented yoghurt was not, perhaps because yoghurt (unlike milk) does not spike blood insulin levels. Milk may promote acne directly due to the hormones it contains and/or indirectly by spiking blood insulin levels.
And people that consume the greatest amounts of saltwater fish and seafood have the lowest rates of acne. This is likely due to omega-3 fatty acids and their anti-inflammatory effect.
In summary, the top 5 foods for perfect skin:
- Fish and seafoods
- Whole grains
- Colorful fruits and vegetables
- Green tea
- Probiotic-rich non-fat, organic plain yogurt
Still, diet isn’t everything when it comes to acne. Even in isolated communities the overall lifestyle and dietary context is critical, and theirs is usually one where perceived stress is lower and social bonds are strong. Given the complex relationships between stress, dietary choices and acne, we cannot view diet in isolation. Lifestyle, including adequate, quality sleep is essential, and an awareness of stress and its management techniques should also be prioritized in the promotion of clear skin. Relaxation techniques including mediation, deep breathing, yoga, tai chi can be incorporated to regular aerobic and strength training to complete a lifestyle for the promotion of clear skin.
Increases in daily stressors, particularly in working women, has been reported to be a potential reason for the emergence of adult-onset acne. Indeed new research has confirmed that psychological stress can contribute to the development of and/or exacerbation of acne. Interestingly, under stressful working conditions women tend to have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than do male counterparts. Cortisol levels are higher in acne patients and it has been shown to drive production of the oily sebum that blocks up the pore. It has also been noted that levels of the acne-promoting hormones called androgens rise up steadily in women under stress.
In various international studies, most patients report that lack of sleep causes acne flare-ups. Sleep deprivation is also well known to promote stress and poor dietary choices.
Our sedentary lifestyle at home and work may be influencing acne hormones as well. Research shows that couch potatoes are more likely to have higher levels of the acne-promoting hormone called IGF-1. So get moving – aim for a half hour each day of physical activity.
The Clear Skin Diet Outlines the Scientifically Proven Natural Acne Fighters: Anti-inflammatories & antioxidants!
- EPA from fish oil: Most potent and proven natural anti-inflammatory (Omega-3)
- EGCG from green tea: Powerful antioxidant, reduces sebum production, improves Zinc & Selenium status
- Zinc: Antioxidant, helps metabolize omega-3s, important stress nutrient – often low in acne sufferers
- Chromium: Helps maintain blood sugar levels, reduces sebum production
- Selenium: Promotes antioxidant enzyme, assists body during stress, may regulate blood sugar levels
For a natural acne solution that works from the inside out, consider perfect skin.
perfect skin’s formula is based on leading skin care research and goes beyond any other acne treatments by targeting the “root” causes of acne, including blackheads and blemishes. Containing all-natural, proven ingredients, perfect skin reduces acne lesions and blackhead/blemish count, reduces inflammation of acne lesions,, decreases sebum (oil) production – which blocks follicles and clogs pores, prevents breakouts, and increases resistance to stress while regulating mood. Until now, no other all-natural supplement like perfect skin has been available .
Just two softgels daily is all that it take for perfect skin to give you noticeable improvements in as little as 4 weeks. And unlike traditional acne treatments, perfect skin is completely safe and all-natural with leading research backing all of its ingredients.
Go beyond other acne treatments; take perfect skin daily to get lifelong, beautiful skin starting from the inside out – naturally. Visit Genuine Health.com for more information.
Top 3 Recommendations for Perfect Skin
1) Change Diet & Supplement Wisely
- Increase Omega-3 fatty acid intake
- Increase intake of antioxidant-rich foods
- Eliminate (high glycemic) processed foods
- Reduce/eliminate dairy products
2) Eliminate/Reduce Stress
- Improve work-life balance
- Practice deep breathing/meditation/yoga
- Regular massage
- Get adequate (8 hours) sleep
3) Seek Out Information
- Learn about all forms of treatment, in addition to conventional approaches
- Consult with a naturopathic doctor or medical practitioner to determine your state of health (food allergies, sensitivities, etc.)
Dr Alan C. Logan is a faculty member of Harvard's School of Continuing Medical Education where he lectures on dietary supplements. In addition, Alan facilitates stress management and anxiety support groups at the Anxiety and Phobia Treatment Center of White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York. In addition to regular lecture and seminars, he is nutrition editor of the International Journal of Naturopathic Medicine with published articles in leading health magazines and mainstream journals including: Nutrition, Arthritis and Rheumatology, American Journal of Hypertension, Medical Hypotheses, Hospital Physician, and Medical Clinics of North America.
He is the author of The Brain Diet, co-author of Help and Hope for Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia, and the new release The Clear Skin Diet. He is a Genuine Health Health Expert and formulator of a number of omega-3 products including perfect skin.For more information about Dr. Logan, including his books, articles and recommended supplements, go to: www.drlogan.com