1. Fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds
Increase the variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds in your diet. The easiest way to do this is to create delicious smoothies and juices from ripe fruit, have at least one salad every day — even just as a side dish — with your main meal, and snack on nuts and dried fruits. Brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds are fantastic for acne because they contain selenium (Brazils) and zinc (pumpkin seeds), deficiencies in these minerals have been linked to acne. If you're stuck for recipes containing a good variety of fresh ingredients, look no further than Clear Skin, the new book by Karen Jessett — it contains over 80 delicious recipes to aid acne-prone skin.
Drink plenty of water every day. Aim to drink at least two litres of still mineral water. If the skin becomes dehydrated, dead skin cells are not effectively shed, which can lead to blocked pores and further acne.
3. Probiotics and prebiotics
Antibiotics destroy the bacteria in your digestive system, which can lead to poor digestion, constipation and reduced absorption of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients — all of which can lead to more acne because your body isn't able to get rid of waste effectively and toxins get expelled via the skin instead. If you have been taking antibiotics for your acne, it's vital you replace the "friendly" bacteria in your digestive system with a good quality probiotic, such as Nature's Biotics.
Prebiotics are foods which help re-establish the good bacteria in the gut — these include honey, onions, artichokes and bananas. Taking a probiotic supplement and eating prebiotics foods will help restore the levels of beneficial bacteria that are destroyed by antibiotics.
Sometimes it's not possible to get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients required to obtain and maintain clear skin. We can be eating all the right foods, but because of other factors — such as long-term antibiotic use — we may not be absorbing everything we need from our diets. There are a few supplements that are particularly useful to those with acne, including:
Maca — a powdered Peruvian root vegetable that helps balance and stabilize the body's systems and helps normalise hormones. It tastes delicious blended into smoothies, a little bit sweet and little bit savoury. Maca is also rich in essential amino acids, fatty acids, phytochemicals and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, silica and iodine.
Manuka honey — Manuka has powerful antiseptic, antiviral and antibiotic qualities. Externally good for the skin, internally good for digestive disorders.
Pure Synergy — A comprehensive, effective and respected superfood product, it contains a broad spectrum of valuable micronutrients and antioxidant phytonutrients.
Nature's Living Superfood — A nutrient-dense, mineral-rich superfood, it contains a full spectrum of absorbable nutrients: vitamins, minerals, trace minerals.
Vita Synergy™ for Men — This supplement contains antioxidant botanicals, flowers and spices, many culled from ancient healing traditions, provide their powerful, protective and restorative attributes for every system of a man’s body and being.
Vita Synergy™ for Women — Provides optimum nutritional support to help women function at their highest potential. Deeply nourishing female herbal tonics have been united with powerful antioxidants, adaptogenic and rejuvenating herbs.
5. Use only natural products on your skin
Many skin care products on the market contain chemicals that can aggravate acne-prone skin. By overloading the skin with harsh chemicals that strip the skin's natural oils, the skin will produce more oil to compensate — which can lead to more blocked pores and acne! Use products that contain natural ingredients such as tea tree oil, which is known for its antibacterial properties. The best method for dealing with acne-prone skin is the less-is-more attitude. Use as few products as possible so your skin gets a chance to heal on its own. If you wear make-up, buy formulas that are non-acnegenic or non-comedogenic (non-pore blocking).
Devina's choice peel-off face and body mask — A complete facial in a sachet. Exfoliates and helps unplug clogged and inflamed pores, smoothes skin, anti-bacterial, prevents spots, clears spots and eradicates bacteria. Contains 2% tea tree oil, vitamin E and eleven other essential oils.
Tea tree oil body wash — is suitable for use all over the body, including the face. You can use it as a shower gel, facial cleanser or even bubble bath! It contains no harsh ingredients known to aggravate acne-prone skin, and the tea tree oil is well known for its numerous beneficial effects as a deep cleansing, antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral and antimicrobial agent.
Neem soap — Antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antiparasitic and therefore very beneficial for those with acne. Neem soap helps calm and soothe irritated skin.
6. Reduce stress
Stress is on of the biggest precursors of acne, especially beyond puberty. Controlling stress can reduce the release of the stress hormone cortisol, and therefore reduce the severity of the acne. Id you suffer from stress regularly, learn to recognise the early symptoms and take action. There are various ways you can reduce stress and become more relaxed:
Exercise — especially Yoga and T'ai Chi. Moderate exercise will increase blood flow to the skin and aid healing, as well as improve the health of your internal organs enabling them to get rid of waste more effectively.
Relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises and meditation
Using InnerTalk CDs, such as Relaxation, Freedom from Stress and Exercise
7. Reduce your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates
There is recent research pointing the finger at diet — eating refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, rice, flour etc) and sugar leads to a surge in insulin and an insulin-like growth factor called IGF-1. This in turn leads to an excess of male hormones, which encourage the skin to excrete large amounts of sebum. This grease-like substance encourages the growth of bacteria responsible for acne.
Refined carbs/sugar = more insulin = more hormones = more sebum (oil) = more bacteria = more acne
8. Reduce your intake of caffeine
Caffeine increases the levels of stress hormones in the body and can aggravate acne. Avoid coffee, tea, chocolate and other stimulant containing drinks.
9. Reduce your intake of dairy and red meat
Dairy products and meat are hard for us to digest, and are acid-forming in the body. The condition of the skin is linked to the health of your internal organs. If you're struggling to digest high levels of animal protein, your body won't get rid of waste products effectively, and they will be released via the skin as acne. Dairy and red meat also contain high levels of hormones which can increase our our levels, and result in more acne. Many people are also intolerant to dairy products without realising it, and a mild intolerance can manifest itself as acne. There are plenty of alternatives to dairy these days — and you can create simple and nutritious nut milks at home, such as the calcium-rich sesame and banana super smoothie.
10. Sunshine and fresh air
Sunshine stimulates the creation of vitamin D in the body — an essential vitamin for healthy skin. A little bit of fresh air and sunshine every day will also reduce stress and increase oxygen to the skin. Even when it's overcast, the sun's rays reach us, so take a 10 minute walk outside every day. Don't get burnt in the sun though — apart from increasing the risk of skin cancer, burnt and heavily tanned skin forms a thick layer on the skin's surface that doesn't exfoliate quickly enough and leads to blocked pores.