Struggling with acne? Heard that a diet change might help, but not sure where to begin? Babe, in the words of the great prophets of our time, Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz: get low.
Acne is one of the most common skin problems. In. The World. It's shown to be caused by several factors: an increase in the production of sebum (the skin's natural oil), inflammation within the skin, hyperkeratosis (aka thickening of the skin thanks to keratinoyctes, which are the skin cells responsible for producing keratin), and bacteria (namely Propionibacterium acnes, or 'P acnes' as the cool kids would say). Or, e) all / a combo of the above.
Now, there are also several ways to handle acne - natural and non. All of my acne clients are treated with a combination of dietary, herbal and nutritional advice and remedies. And, just as Get Low is one of my all time favourite dancefloor bangers, a Low GI diet is one of my favourite, go-to approaches for acne tackling. Coincidentally, a low glycemic load diet has been proven by several studies to reduce the intensity and recovery time for acne. And, further, a high glycemic load diet has been found to actually exacerbate (or worsen) acne.
So what even is a GI? The glycemic index, or GI, ranks carbohydrates according to their effect on blood sugar levels. If a carbohydrate has a low GI, it will prompt a slower rise in blood sugar levels than a high GI food. High GI foods on the other hand lead to elevated insulin levels, which can do two things: stimulate androgen secretion, and increase sebum production. Both? Yeah, they can result in acne by messing with our keratinocytes.
Low GI foods have a ranking below 55. These foods help to stabilise blood sugar levels whilst also helping us to feel full for longer (added bonus).
These are some of our favourites:
There are a few important things to remember when you're getting low:
- The GI ranking of a food isn't always a reflection of how healthy, or how good for you + your skin, it is - for example, a Snickers bar has a low GI, but won't be doing favours for your #skingoals (like, not many, if any)
- Keep in mind how much you're eating - small amounts of watermelon (we're talking a max of 2 cups) are fine, but any more will push the GI to a higher ranking
- The one exception to the 'a low GI diet helps to treat acne' rule is dairy - while many dairy products have relatively low GI rankings, dairy itself can contribute to acne
- If you're venturing to the land of higher GI rankings, don't forget to combine that one food with low GI foods to help reduce the overall GI of that meal
- Always keep quality in mind - a variety of quality, fresh, wholefood carbohydrates with lower GIs will help provide your body + skin with the essential nutrients they need
If you're suffering from acne, and not sure where to start with your diet, why not book a one on one consult with me to get started on achieving those #skingoals of yours together?