Food for your face
For years, the common belief was that diet had no effect on acne. That may be wrong, according to recent research.
CHOW DOWN ON COMPLEX CARBS
How they work: Carbohydrates with a high glycemic index (GI) are digested rapidly, causing blood sugar (glucose) and insulin levels to spike. This may influence the development and severity of acne, a 2007 Australian study found. Conversely, a diet high in protein and low- GI carbohydrates (complex carbs) seemed to improve breakouts.
How to get them: Minimize your intake of sugars (sucrose, fructose, corn syrup); processed and refined foods; white rice and bread; pasta and baked goods made with white flour. Instead, eat plenty of whole-grain products, including breads, cereals and brown rice; beans, lentils and split peas; and fruits and vegetables.
OPT FOR OMEGA-3s
How they work: A report published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease in 2008 suggests that by suppressing inflammation throughout the body, omega-3 fatty acids may help control inflammatory acne, a severe form.
How to get them: Cold-water oily fish, such as salmon and sardines; flax seeds; omega-3 supplements.
SUPPLEMENT YOUR SKIN
The following herbal remedies combat acne by detoxifying the liver, fighting bacteria, reducing inflammation and regulating male and female hormones (women produce both types), which trigger oil production and otherwise contribute to acne. All are available in natural-foods stores, but consult your doctor if you could be pregnant; some can be dangerous.
Milk thistle (standardized extract): 200 milligrams, three times a day
Burdock (tincture): 60 drops, three times a day
Bupleurum (decoction*): Use 15 grams bupleurum and 5 grams licorice. Drink about 2∕3 cup, three times a day.
Goldenseal (tincture): 60 drops, three times a day
Dandelion root (decoction*): Drink 1∕2 cup, three times a day.
Green tea: Drink 1 cup 10 minutes before each meal.
Vitex (chaste tree), saw palmetto and gentian: Consult an herbalist. * Cover 20 grams of the chopped dried herb in 3 cups of cold water, bring to a boil, simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until liquid is reduced by one-third, strain and store in a cool place; drink hot or cold.