What is hormonal acne? How is it different from acne?
Acne is sometimes called hormonal acne or acne vulgaris, to refer to teenage skin condition during hormonal changes, especially androgens in the body related to puberty. Otherwise, it is not a clinical condition.
You need to have a whole concept of what is acne, what causes, and worsens acne. Only in that case will you realize what foods to eat and what foods you should avoid.
Acne lesions form when sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria clump together and clog skin pores. Inflammation and bacteria especially Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) flare up the condition.
It may appear in the form of blackheads, whiteheads, and small pimples or cysts beneath the skin with tender bumps.
Conditions that fuel up acne triggering hormones by sebum production and inflammation include:
Increase in androgen levels during puberty
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Diet for hormonal acne
Now that you understand what exactly we are aiming for, let’s go for a compilation of foods to eat and foods that you must avoid to deal with hormonal acne.
Foods to eat
You should prefer foods with high protein content and low glycemic index. The Glycemic index of a certain food provides you the measure of blood sugar level changes associated with it.
1. Foods that prevent sugar spikes
Foods high in sugar trigger insulin spikes, and bursts of inflammation throughout the body. Prefer foods with a low glycemic index such as:
Whole grains like bran, rye, and barley
Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews
Non-starchy leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli and cucumber
Apple cider vinegar
2. Foods with antioxidant properties
Oxidative stress and inflammation are just the right things P. acnes needs to do its work. Oxidation of sebum alters the oxygen levels in the follicle. Diet patterns can help you in dealing with them:
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
3. Foods that fight inflammation
Inflammation is what causes the progression of a pustule or a nodule into an inflamed, red, sore acne lesion or cyst. Inflammatory mediators along with sebum and bacteria encourage acne lesion formation, hence its consequences such as pigmentation and scarring.
They say the cure of inflammation is in the refrigerator, not your kitchen cabinets!
The following foods can help you fight inflammation:
Strawberries, blueberries, and cherries
Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines
Nuts (almonds and walnuts)
Foods to avoid
If you have been dealing with acne for some time, you will relate to the fact that sometimes, despite following a healthy diet regime acne persists. That’s because you are taking foods that are healthy for your body but they are secretly aggravating hormonal acne. And by avoiding them, you can enjoy the benefits of the good diet that you are taking.
Say Good-bye to all the dairy products you have been taking till now. These include cheese (yes, you read it right), butter, cow milk, and yogurt.
The special feed and the hormone injections given to the milking cows stimulate our endocrine systems as well. This is even worse for hormonal acne because excessive glandular secretions are the actual culprits.
Replace these products with olive oil, coconut oil, almond milk, cashew milk, or any other food item on our healthy diet list.
2. Refined grains and processed foods
Get rid of any food item that is giving you calories but not nutrition (minerals and vitamins). Overly processed grains and sugar are on the top. They are simply giving your body sugar and insulin spikes, which you are already struggling with. Insulin is stimulating your glands even more. Say no to breakfast cereals, pasta, white potatoes, and white rice.
3. Sweet beverages and sugar
Again, the glycemic index. But sugar is inflammatory as well because it has oxidative properties. Get rid of all the sugary foods in your kitchen especially the sweetened beverages. They love acne!
4. Unhealthy fats: Omega 6 fatty acids
Omega 6 fatty acids are inflammatory mediators. Replace them with omega 3 fatty acids. To sum it up, fast food is a big no for you.
The bottom line
You may have observed, a healthy diet regime is in total agreement with solving all your health problems. Still, there was room for research to know what to avoid as well.