Struggle with acne? Try an anti-inflammatory diet


While everything from puberty to genetics are linked to acne, the underlying cause is always hormonal in nature.  There are medications that can help of course, but they have terrible side effects and they don’t even address the hormonal issues that are causing the acne in the first place.

Instead, most traditional western medications work by “masking” the problem by addressing acne’s secondary causal factors such as infection or excessive oil production.  One way that you can naturally control your balance of hormones, including stress hormones which exacerbate acne, is to control your diet by adopting one that has a high percentage of “anti-inflammatory” foods.

Even people without acne or other inflammatory skin conditions notice an improvement in their skin when they are on anti-inflammatory types of diets. This is because inflammation causes so many different types of undesirable side effect when it comes to the appearance of your skin.

This includes redness, a rough texture, an unhealthy color and tone and of course pimples and other bumps that occur when the skin is experiencing inflammation.  Eliminating or greatly reducing certain types of foods will help address all of these problems and will always improve your skin, no matter what your biggest complexion complaint is.

One of the first foods that must be greatly reduced or eliminated to quell inflammation is refined sugar.  Sugary foods such as pastries, candy and other types of desserts that are made with white sugar trigger a series of events in the body which lead not only to skin cell inflammation, but also the degradation of collagen.

This means a few things if you have acne. First of all, this series of events not only triggers inflammation but it also interferes with the proper balance of hormones in your body whether you’re a man or woman.  Acne’s underlying cause is an excessive level of androgens, or male hormones.

Men and women both are supposed to have a delicate balance of both male and female hormones but certain events can cause the androgens to surge. Stress can actually impact these levels. Medications, monthly cycles and other lifestyle factors, as well as your diet, can all affect the balance of hormones in your body.  Any significant changes in these factors can trigger a surge in acne-causing androgens.

Refined carbohydrates are also inflammatory. That white bread or bagel in the morning not only provides very little in the way of blood sugar stabilization throughout the morning, but it sets you skin on an inflammatory path since it breaks down very quickly in the blood stream into simple sugars.

Studies have shown that consuming a low glycemic diet helps to keep the endocrine system in balance by keeping insulin levels in check.  As you’ll start to see, insulin stability is closely related to inflammation within the body (and hence your skin).

Refined carbohydrates are extremely high on the “glycemic index” for their ability to cause large spikes and subsequent plummeting falls in blood sugar and are therefore not conducive to hormonal balance in addition to have an inflammatory effect on the tissues.

Additional foods and beverages that can lead to inflammation are caffeinated drinks that also contain large amounts of sugar (like the double mocha latte you might enjoy here and there from your local coffee chain).  The combination of caffeine AND sugar seems to pack a double punch in that they can cause not only changes in the endocrine system by impacting the nervous system, but also in that they cause surges and crashes in insulin levels.

Eating the most “whole” diet you can is really key in helping maintain clear, calm skin.  This means greatly reducing or eliminating all processed foods and sticking to whole vegetables, nuts (not processed) like walnuts and almonds, unprocessed whole grains, whole fruits and preferably grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free, low fat dairy and meat products.

Danna Norek founded, which offers a growing line of natural body, skin and hair care products including an acne soap with Lemongrass (toning, actibacterial, deep pore cleansing), Lavender (antibacterial, calming) and Tea Tree Oil (antibacterial) as active ingredients.

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Danna Norek founded AuraSensory, a line of naturally inspired and effective hair, body and skin care products free of harmful chemicals.