How horrifying can it be to wake up and be greeted with a huge, attention grabbing pimple right in the middle of your face? Regardless of age, sex, or occupation, you will spend your upcoming days wondering if everyone you speak to is looking at you, or your new companion. Nothing kills confidence quite like something on your face. When your billboard to the world is marred, your self-esteem quickly follows suit, and staying indoors for the next few days becomes a viable option.
The obvious solution is to stop these unwelcome dermal visitors before they establish themselves on your face. So put away the creams, gels, and sprays, and look at whats going in your body to control whats coming out.
Know your enemy:
Whether you get cysts, pimples, zits, blackheads, whitehead, backne, or just the occasional blemish the root causes are the same. When the sebaceous glands are inflamed they produce excess oil (sebum), and this oil is the perfect breeding ground for the P. acnes bacteria to set up thriving populations around the hair follicles. Let some skin cells block that follicle (or “pore”) and you have yourself a brand new blemish.
The underlying causes of over-active sebaceous glands are pretty diverse, and include hormones, your pancreas, and your liver. All of these internal triggers are directly affected by your diet. So, while chocolate and fried chicken may not be direct causes for pimples, depending on the individual, they may certainly contribute. The major point to remember about dietary influences is that we all react differently to foods, so setting up a free Health History consultation to get a clearer picture of your body’s needs.
Prevention is the best medicine:
It seems that the biggest culprits in robbing our skin of its beauty and radiance are staples in the Western diet. Processed and refined foods and diets rich in inflammatory fats are the main culprits in causing organ stress that affects our skin. In a diet that has huge amounts of convenience foods and ingredients filled with artificial ingredients, white sugar and flour, preservatives, hormones and antibiotics, our bodies are assaulted on a daily basis with foreign toxins. Our bodies are amazing, and have unbelievably efficient methods to remove these toxins. When the influx is unyielding though, our ability to remove the impurities lessens and can cause complications ranging from acne to diabetes to cancer.
If we look at the tremendous percentage of our diet that is founded on refined grains (flour, white rice, sugar, pasta, breads) and understand that all these foods are treated the same once they enter the body a clear picture begins to develop. These foods all enter our body and are chemically, simple carbohydrates, and to the body that means easy energy. Because the body breaks down food in order of complexity, the simplicity of these foods means rapid digestion into glucose, and glucose is regulated by insulin which is secreted by the pancreas. Excess insulin in the blood has an inflammatory reaction to our old friends: the sebaceous glands.
So to summarize: simple carbs + your skin + insulin spike = breakout.
Another major component of our battle against blemishes are our hormones. Both male and female sex hormones trigger excess oil production. So during puberty, as well as menstruation, our risk factors for facial distress skyrocket. Here is an easy tip to help control the effects of excess hormones in the body: eat more fiber. Fiber is a key tool in removing our unneeded hormones from our body. So, for everyone in puberty, or if you are prone to breakouts in conjunction with your cycle, add some fiber (and extra water) to alleviate some of your stress.
Finally, general toxicity in the body is a cause of skin blemishes. The liver is the primary tool used to purify the body, and when it is overtaxed it can seek reprieve from another major organ: the skin. Medications, poor diet, stress, and an overindulgent lifestyle can easily overload the liver’s ability to effectively filter our body’s systems. Our skin remains an excellent supplement to the liver for detoxifying our bodies, which is why saunas and steams have always been lauded for their benefits. However, when we are internally stressed, the toxins will be pushed out through the same means, adding blemishes to our list of daily stresses.
A wide array of foods are beneficial to the skin. The biggest thing to consider is your relationship and personal reaction to different foods. To get a deeper understanding of how you respond to certain foods and why, set up a free Health History consultation now.
Some of the majors types of food that will aid you in your battle against blemishes include the following:
Whole grains – Adding more whole grains, and thereby reducing the quantity of processed grains in your diet, will be a huge step towards clear skin. The variety of tastes, types, and preparations will please almost any palette, and the benefits are well worth exploring. High in fiber, anti-oxidants, and other anti-inflammatory nutrients, whole grains are a wonderful addition to any diet. Here’s a great recipe for millet with roasted sunflower seeds.
Fresh, organic fruits and vegetables – Not a big surprise here. Adding more fresh, organic fruits and vegetables will boost your fiber, help keep you full, can potentially lower your blood sugar, and fill your body with blemish fighting goodness! Try to add a little more fruits and veggies to your meals in small ways, maybe to a salad or your oatmeal. Here is recipe for butternut-apple skewers and dandelion salad with warm hazelnut vinaigrette (dandelion is a great food to detoxify the body, doubly effective in the springtime).
Water and green tea – Water is the most natural way to detoxify and cleanse the entire body from the inside out. Add a cup in the morning upon waking to get a great energy boost and increase your daily amount. Hooked on soda? Try having a glass of water before or after each soda to help cleanse and reduce the impact on your skin. Adding green tea to your regimen boosts your healthy fluid intake AND gives you powerful boosts of anti-inflammatory compounds. Try for two cups a day and watch your skin clear up!
Fats and zinc – A huge move you can make towards clear, sexy skin is being more aware of the types of fat you eat. Substituting coconut oil for other cooking or baking oils is a great positive step. Also, maintaining a healthy balance of inflammatory (omega 6-9) and anti-inflammatory (omega 3) fats is a great way to help reduce the inflammation that can cause blemishes. An easy way to do this is to enjoy some fresh seafood. Here is a great recipe for ginger halibut with shredded daikon radishes. Increasing the zinc in your diet could help also, because as studies have shown, zinc is important to wound healing and fighting inflammation. Get a great dose with mollusks and shellfish, the fresher the better.
So now you’re prepared to face the day, armed with the knowledge to stop those confidence killing blemishes before they show up. A little prevention goes a long way. If your skin is a consistent problem, it may be a sign of an imbalance somewhere in your diet, or even in your lifestyle. Schedule some time to examine the different aspects of your life that can contribute to being unbalanced here. In the meantime, experiment with these tips and see if your skin can be as radiant and sexy as you want it to be. Walk with confidence and pride, and feel beautiful both inside and out!
– John Garda
John Garda is a Holistic Health Coach working out of NY and Miami. He has been able to help his clients overcome their challenges, and now has a practice that focuses on helping busy individuals lower their stress, lose weight, achieve wellness, and love who they see in the mirror.
Visit John’s website.