I know how annoying acne can be. In fact, it can be downright depressing. Really bad acne can make you want to stay home all day and make you feel like everyone is looking at your skin. Recently, I have been dealing with terrible breakouts, which is uncommon for me. While I've always had acne, it has recently gotten a lot worse. I have a sneaking suspicion as to why: I tried to cure it topically and it wound up backfiring in my face (literally). Sure, dermatologist prescribed treatments might work for a little bit, but they are only putting the acne on hold, not actually solving the issue. Any time acne pops up, there's always a reason for it, but it might not be the reason you think. It might have to do more with what you're eating, and less with what you're putting on your face.
That's not to say I don't believe in a good, all-natural facial care routine. I do, whole-heartedly. That said, certain foods really do make a difference in your acne, be it for better or for worse. After doing a little research, I've come to the conclusion that acne can be cured (or at the least, greatly reduced) by watching what you eat. Here's what you should be eating in order to prevent acne.
Loaded with zinc, chickpeas are a great go-to snack of mine. They're super tasty when roasted and sprinkled with a little sea salt too. Thing is, zinc is amazing at zapping zits away and is a mineral most acne-sufferers lack. Getting more into your body is essential for having a blemish-free complexion. Chickpeas also contain fiber, protein, and folate -- all essentials your body needs. They're definitely antioxidant-rich and full of phytochemicals that boost immunity and aid in the absorption of other important (beautifying) minerals. Not to mention they contain copper and manganese, which are two important minerals for energetic, youthful, and healthy cells. If that's not enough to convince you of how awesome chickpeas are, take it from me: One night I ate at least 1 cup worth of chickpeas and the next morning I woke up to greatly reduced acne! I suffer mainly from whiteheads and redness, and almost all of that was either gone or very minimal. So when in doubt, eat some chickpeas!
Want to have a peaches and cream complexion? Eat more peaches! They're full of vitamin C and beta-carotene (which converts to vitamin A). Vitamin C is a powerful free-radical fighter that is essential for healthy collagen, which keeps your skin radiant and smooth. The beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A helps with regular cell repair and exfoliation. Peaches also contain a small amount of vitamin E, which helps to strength the cell membranes for healthy skin and scalp. They're also very cooling for the body (I mean, come on, they're always super juicy), so eating them on a summer day is a great idea. They help with maintaining healthy circulation and digestion, so they make a perfect summertime treat.
Pumpkin seeds are ridiculously tasty, but most importantly, they too are loaded with zinc. In fact, they're one of the best plant-based sources of zinc. If you have breakout woes, make pumpkin seeds a regular snack. They reduce Propioni bacterium acnes, which, as the name implies, are bacteria that cause blemishes. They're also a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, which helps produce relaxing, calming serotonin in the body. In other words, these make a great go-to snack before bedtime, or when you're feeling stressed (and anxious). Their benefits don't stop there: They also contain a long list of omega-3s, vitamins A, B, and K, and the minerals copper, iron, magnesium, and niacin. In other words, meet your new favorite seed that does it all! I recommend eating at least 1 cup full a day, preferably right before bed.
Sweet potatoes are amazing at creating a glowing complexion most acne-sufferers crave. That's because they're loaded with vitamin A, which keeps skin smooth, helps cell division run properly, and regenerates collagen. Collagen is super important for a blemish-free, glowing complexion. Vitamin C also helps with collagen production, and thankfully, sweet potatoes have that too. In fact, they have fantastic doses of vitamins A, C, and B -- especially B6. B6 actually helps with supporting healthy hair and beauty sleep, so sweet potatoes are good multi-taskers. Eating them helps with not just your skin, but a multitude of things (who'd argue with more benefits?). Don't confuse them with yams though: Yams offer significantly less beauty nutrients than sweet potatoes, so make sure you purchase the right ones!
This superfood is known for its famous health benefits, but did you know it can also help with acne? Kale supports detoxification of the liver, which is an important factor in clear skin. It also contains vitamins A, C, and K, which team up to maintain moisturizing oils in your sebaceous glands. This helps keep skin soft, supple, and moisturized. In fact, just 1 cup of kale delivers over 200 percent of your daily vitamin A (which is a powerful skin smoother) and 130 percent of your daily vitamin C (a major collagen builder). Vitamins A and C also play an important role in anti-aging, so that's a nice added bonus. And that single cup of kale also has a whopping 684 percent total of your vitamin K needs (important for healthy blood vessels). So if you want clear skin (and to age gracefully), get at least 1 cup of kale in a day. I recommend using it in a salad or eating kale chips, but if you must cook it, lightly steam the leaves (overcooking won't keep kale's beautifying properties intact!).