Body Blog: Pimple Protection 101
There is nothing like waking up ready to start a new day, only to behold what appears to be a gargantuan pimple on your face. Believe me, I’ve been there. Suddenly, what could have been a pleasant morning heads directly towards Awfulsville. Instead of looking forward to running into a crush, the goal becomes to walk very quickly in the opposite direction….with your face buried behind your hair. Granted, I do realize that there are infinitely worse scenarios that can be inflicted upon a person, but at the same time us ladies should not have to face the awfulness of pimples amidst all the other chaos in our lives.
Simply put, the world would be a much better place if pimples did not exist.
So the question is: do these loathsome little suckers form haphazardly or can we control their formation? It used to be that doctors claimed diet has nothing to do with acne. Well not anymore. Upon doing some investigation, it turns out the medical research indicates that there is indeed much we can do to prevent zits – actions that don’t involve buying hoards of benzoyl peroxide creams and cover up. In fact, what we eat largely determines how healthy our skin looks.
Welcome to my one-article class on eating your way to healthy skin. Nom nom.
Pimple prevention 101:
1) The hormones inside our bodies are what cause pimples to appear on the outside. In particular, the hormone insulin is to blame for breakouts. Insulin is most commonly known as the hormone for regulating blood sugar and is associated with diabetes, yet, interestingly, it also produces the oils that appear on our skin. Who would have thought? Insulin levels fluctuate based on what we eat.
2) Processed foods made with white flour and sugar lead to blood sugar spikes, causing insulin levels to go into the hateful “pimple-producing zone.” Sugar and processed foods are n-o-t good for our skin.
3) The peeps at Harvard say milk is not a skin friendly food. The Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study in which the diets of 6,084 teenage girls were analyzed. Girls who drank two or more servings of milk per day were 20 percent more likely to have acne. Milk contains bioactive molecules that act on the glands where blackheads are formed. William Danby MD, a dermatologist at Dartmouth, noted in an editorial accompanying the study that 70 to 90 percent of all milk comes from pregnant cows and that the milk contains hormones such as progesterone, testosterone precursors and insulin growth factor releasing hormones, all linked to acne.
4) The foods you should eat for radiant skin? Green vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, seeds, avocadoes, starchy vegetables, and whole grains. These foods are loaded with antioxidants, substances that help our skin repair damage. Plant foods also contain an array of phytochemicals. In my opinion, phytochemicals are just kick ass. They are super foods for your body, not just your face. They supercharge the immune system’s defensive capabilities and help prevent many diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Many thousands of these chemicals are found in brightly colored plant foods. So in regards to the health of our skin, the more phytochemicals that are present, the faster our skin can repair damage, and remove and detoxify waste products and toxic compounds.
So, in summary, consumption of natural plant foods leads to radiant, pimple free skin and processed foods and dairy are blackhead friendly. I know it might seem hard to give up or eat less candy, white bread or milk if you are used to eating them, but it’s really easy to still enjoy eating while on an anti-pimple or anti-acne diet. I’m a huge fan of Silk soy milk, for example. To me, it tastes better than milk. Resisting ice cream becomes pie in the sky when I know I can have a delicious fruit smoothie instead. Instead of poppin’ M&M’s, I choose to pop blueberries and cherries.
Great skin and tasty food? Check!