Nutrition and Skin

If I have acne, why should I change my diet, aren’t facials and good products enough? 
Many times, that’s all you need, but when dealing with persistent acne whether teen or adult that won’t resolve, you have to look at food and lifestyle. 

First, let’s review normal skin function.  Our face has 3 layers of “skin”, the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. 

Let’s focus on the epidermis because that’s what we see in the mirror every day. The epidermis is 5 layers deep and the deepest layer, the stratum basale, is where the skin we see every day comes from.  Keratinocytes, merkel cells and melanocytes(pigment) are produced in this layer and slowly rise to the surface taking 2-4 weeks.  This process is continuous and once they reach the surface, they die creating a layer of dead skin which then sheds.  

Good skin care, good products and treatments support this process, poor diet interferes with this process.

So what foods or conditions cause problems?  
Dairy is a big offender, it causes elevated calcium levels which impairs zinc metabolism. We need zinc, it accelerates new skin cell growth necessary for clear skin while reducing the swelling and inflammation from acne. What to do? Eliminate dairy from your diet for 2 weeks, if skin improves its dairy, if not, look for other causes. Can’t live without, try eating goat or sheep dairy products and/or eat lots of oysters, they are super high in zinc!

Next up, diets high in sugar and grains, these foods cause “sticky” skin cells.  When skin cells stick together they don’t shed normally causing blocked pores that result in pimples. To get rid of “sticky cells” eliminate grains and sugars from diet for 2 weeks. This includes alcohol as well, wine has the most sugar of any alcohol and tequila the least!  After 2 weeks, re-introduce those foods one at a time and you’ll find the culprit, it’s almost always sugar!!!

Conditions like “Leaky gut”, poor gut bacteria, nutrient poor diets and stress cause either inflammation or sticky cells or both. Stress is unique in that it causes inflammation, sticky cells and increased testosterone production leading to increased oil production and more breakouts. 

When persistent acne remains a problem, think diet and lifestyle.

Need help with persistent acne? 
Good products, good treatments and a simple nutrition consult to put you on the path to clear skin and good health.

-Nancy, Nurse/Nutrition Consultant

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