6 foods for clear skin and acne, according to a dermatologist

This just might be the answer to your skin probs.

acne, clear skin, food, eat, diet, skin, skincare, beauty, woman, avocado

Real talk: I’ve tried every acne face wash, expensive topical cream, infomercial product—anything not to have to give up my favourite foods for the sake of good skin. And TBH, I’ve been a bit of a sceptic in the past. If powerful prescription products didn’t work to clear up my breakouts, why would a dumb salad work any better? But according to the American Academy of Dermatology, both a healthy diet and the right skin treatments could play a role in clear skin. If eating more veggies is what it takes to *finally* get rid of my flare-ups, so be it. To find out the best foods for clear skin, I turned to Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist who even Sofia Vergara trusts with her skin.

‘There is a real connection between skin health and the health of our gut,’ Dr. Engelman explains. ‘The concept is that if we have an unhealthy, unbalanced gut environment, toxins can be released into the bloodstream and cause inflammation throughout the body. On the flip side, the food we eat can promote healthy digestion and therefore provide vitamins and minerals vital to the health of our skin and body.’ If you’re thinking, Fiiine, I’ll give it a try, scroll on for six dermatologist-approved foods for clearer skin. I mean, I’ll admit. There’s no harm in eating healthy foods, right? Especially since we’ve all tried ev-er-y-thing else.

#1: Probiotics

Dr. Engelman breaks it down: ‘Researchers have discovered good and bad strains of bacteria in their patients’ skin. People with clear skin had the good strain that protects the skin, and people with acne-infected skin had the bad strain.’ Probiotics are a ‘good’ bacteria that you can get through fermented foods with active cultures like yoghurt and kimchi and beverages like kombucha or kefir, and they work to control inflammation. But don’t forget prebiotics like bananas or onions too. ‘Probiotics regulate the bacteria in our gut, while prebiotics are the fuel for probiotics,’ Dr. Engelman says.

#2: Nuts and Seeds

‘Nuts and seeds are power foods that host omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B, and E, monounsaturated fats, minerals, and antioxidants,’ Dr. Engelman says. ‘Due to the nutritional density of nuts and seeds, you can hydrate your skin, promote its elasticity, help regenerate cells, and protect against free radicals.’ Oh, and while we’re on the topic of seeds, ever heard of seed cycling? Some even swear by it for clearing up their cystic acne.

#3: Fruit

According to Dr. Engelman, most fruits contain high levels of vitamins A and C and powerful antioxidants that replenish nutrients in the skin, promote collagen production, and help keep your skin supple and firm. And since there is evidence that oxidative stress causes inflammation and plays a role in acne, antioxidants are an important factor for clear skin because they fight free radical damage.

#4: Avocado

Don’t stress! You can still have your avo toast in the morning, thanks to the fats, proteins, and vitamins in the yummy green fruit (did you know avocado was a fruit?!). Whether you’re experiencing dry skin or your pores look larger due to broken-down collagen, avocado can help. ‘The protein helps support the structures of collagen and elastin in your skin, while the fat keeps your skin hydrated,’ Dr. Engelman says.

#5: Dark, Leafy Greens

Think: spinach, kale, broccoli—all the stuff you hated as a kid (and maybe still do). ‘Veggies are packed with iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A, B, and E, which support your immune system,’ Dr. Engelman says. ‘The phytochemicals and folates also help hydrate skin and keep it healthy.’ I apologise for calling salads dumb earlier. My bad.

#6: Coconut Oil

Although the other foods on this list are meant to be eaten to reap the benefits, coconut oil applied topically could possibly be effective in treating acne, thanks to the linoleic acid and lauric acid. ‘Coconut’s healthy fats and antibacterial nutritional composition keep acne away and help keep your skin hydrated,’ Dr. Engelman says. Of course, coconut oil is also known to be comedogenic, so it might not work for everyone. But hey, it could be worth a shot.

Coconut skincare products worth trying:


Cocogold Coconut Milk Facial Cleanser

R249Faithful to Nature

This liquid treasure from Cocogold will leave your skin feeling naturally fresh and clean


Palmer's Coconut Oil Body Lotion


The raw, natural ingredients in this lotion deliver luxuriously rich moisturisation for decadently pampered skin


The Body Shop Coconut Beautifying Oil


This dry oil made from community fair trade organic virgin coconut oil and three nut oils to deeply nourish and moisturise the skin


Aromatica Natural Coconut Cleansing Oil

R825K-Beauty Africa

This award-winning gentle oil cleanser is formulated with 100% organic virgin cold-pressed coconut oil and keeps skin clean and nourished


This post originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com.

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