Almost everyone experiences an occasional flare-up of acne, but it is most prevalent during adolescence, afflicting 85% of teenagers to some degree. Hormones are responsible for most of the cases of acne. Diet and other lifestyle factors, including cleanliness and sexual activity, do not cause acne. In rare instances, sensitivity to a food may exacerbate existing acne, but food does not actually cause it. An exception is a kelp, a seaweed that can cause severe cystic acne. Iodized salt can also provoke an acne flare-up. If you think your acne is a result of a food sensitivity, try eliminating suspect foods from your diet for several weeks. Add it back again to see if your skin is affected.
Heredity suspects in some cases of severe acne. A number of medications can also cause this: major offenders include steroids and other hormonal agents, iodine preparations, lithium, and anticonvulsants. Stress often triggers a flare-up of acne, most likely by altering hormone levels. In turn, hormonal changes can stimulate food craving. consequently, the acne sufferer may erroneously attribute the acne to food, rather than stress, the real culprit.
HOW FOOD CAN HELP
Clear, glowing skin reflects overall good health. This requires regular exercise, adequate sleep quitting smoking, and avoiding excessive exposure to the sun, as well as a diet rich in some important nutrients.
EAT VITAMIN A-AND C-RICH FOODS
They help build and maintain healthy skin. There is some evidence that beta-carotene, which is converted by the body into vitamin A, may reduce sebum production. The best dietary sources of beta-carotene and brightly colored fruits and dark green vegetables. Citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, melons, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, and potatoes, are especially rich in vitamin C.
It is found in meat, fish, poultry, whole grains, beans, lentils, avocado, nu, potatoes, bananas, and leafy greens. It may reduce acne by helping to regulate hormones implicated in the development of acne lesions.
DON’T FORGET ZINC
Some studies link this mineral to skin health and claim it may help to improve acne. Zinc promotes healthy hormone levels and advances healing. Seafood-especially oysters-red meat, poultry, yogurt, milk, and whole grains are rich in zinc.
Do not attempt to self-treat with high doses vitamin and mineral supplements; this might worsen the condition. Some studies show that high doses of vitamin B6 and B12 can aggravate acne symptoms, and high doses of vitamin A can cause dry, flaking skin and hair loss.
GOOD NUTRITION IS THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE
Most persistent mild t moderate acne can be controlled with proper skin care, good nutrition, and nonprescription drugs, such as 2.5- to 10-percent strength benzoyl peroxide gel, lotion, or ointment.
A dermatologist may prescribe tretinoin, a topical medication derived from vitamin a; an antibiotic may also be tried. Isotretinoin, a potent oral drug, is reserved for severe cystic acne. Since Accutane can cause severe birth defects, women taking this medication should be counseled to use multiple methods of birth control.