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The sebaceous glands present all over your skin secrete oils (sebum) to keep the skin moist. When these glands get clogged with dirt or oil, it can lead to a common skin condition called acne. Acne can show up as whiteheads, blackheads, pimples or other skin problems. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages.

Apart from the clogging of pores, there are some other factors that can trigger or worsen the occurrence of acne, including: 

  1. Diet changes to make if you have acne
  2. How to manage acne with lifestyle changes
  3. Acne diet (sample menu plan)
Doctors for Anti acne diet: Foods to eat and diet plan

Skin specialists may treat this condition with antibiotics, gels, lotions, creams and supplements. But along with all of these, you also need to fix your diet and lifestyle. Here are a few changes you can make: 

  • Avoid processed and junk food: Such foods contain high amounts of fat, sodium, simple carbohydrates and preservatives, which inhibit the work of our oil glands. Try to avoid pizzas, burgers, fries, namkeen, packaged snacks and juice, biscuits and ready-to-eat food items. 
  • Add vitamin C to your diet: There is a close link between vitamin C and your skin health. Skin specialists suggest including recommended amounts of this nutrient in your regular diet if you are prone to skin problems. It is best to opt for natural and fresh forms of vitamin C instead of supplement. You can have sweet lime, lemon, oranges, Amla (Indian gooseberry), green chilly, etc. to achieve this. 
  • Have vitamin A rich food: Vitamin A is known to promote bright and clear skin. It also reduces the production of sebum, which helps reduce acne and pimple formation and open up the pores of the skin. Add this nutrient to your regular diet by having more of foods like carrot, papaya, sweet lime, pumpkin, tomato, fatty fish and cod liver oil.
  • Ensure your diet is fibre-rich: A bad digestive system can easily trigger your acne. If you have acne already and you are suffering from constipation, your condition can become worse. Try to add fiber to your diet to clean your digestive tract. You can include more of green and leafy vegetables such as fenugreek leaves, amaranth, spinach, apple gourd, sponge gourd, bottle gourd etc. in your diet for this. Millets are also beneficial for your bowel movement such as finger millet (ragi), sorghum (jawar), pearl millet (bajra), barley (jau). Trifla Churn is also helpful for constipation; take one teaspoon of it with warm milk at your bedtime. 
  • Have cinnamon tea in the morning: There are few pieces of research that say that cinnamon is beneficial for managing hormonal imbalance in the body. Along with acne, it is also helpful for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and hypothyroidism. If you have it in the morning, it can be helpful throughout the day. Take half a teaspoon (2.5 grams) of cinnamon and boil it in 250 ml of water. Drink it as a tea when it reduces 125 ml.
  • Try an acne diet cleanser: Drinking enough water helps the body flush out toxins while giving you healthier skin. Try to drink 3 to 4 liters of water (12-15 glasses) daily. If you are not able to drink plain water, you can have detox water, buttermilk, lemon water, etc.

Making some simple lifestyle changes can also help you deal with acne breakouts. Here are some that you can start off with: 

  • Insomnia creates a hormonal imbalance which can worsen acne. Try to get 7-8 hours of good sleep every night. (Read more: How to fall asleep)
  • There are a few research studies that say that there is a close relationship between smoking and hormonal imbalance. Try to quit smoking as soon as possible. 
  • Excessive use of makeup and expired products can clog the pores, which can give you pimples very easily. Always go to the bed after removing your make up properly. Regularly check the expiry of the product and discard them at the right time.
  • Clean your make-up tools (makeup brush, sponge, makeup blender) well about twice a week if you apply makeup daily.
  • Wash your face twice a day to cleanse it of dirt and extra oil.
  • Don’t touch your face frequently and especially not before you wash your hands well. 
  • If you go to any dusty place, always cover your face with a scarf. 
  • Work on reducing your stress levels but meditating or engaging in fun and calming activities. (Read more: Meditation)

Following is a sample diet that can give you an idea of what you should eat in a day to avoid and manage acne breakouts: 

  • Early Morning: Cinnamon tea (1 cup) + soaked almonds (5) + soaked walnuts (2)
  • Breakfast: Bajra vegetable daliya (1 big bowl) + milk (1 cup) + papaya (1 small bowl)
  • Mid meal: Mixed fruit salad  (1 medium bowl) / buttermilk (1 glass)
  • Lunch: Jawar chapati (2) + palak chana daal (1 bowl) + aloo lauki (1 bowl) + vegetable salad (1 bowl)
  • Evening Tea: Green tea (1 cup) + roasted chana (1 handful)
  • Dinner: Methi chapati (2) + moong daal (1 bowl) + bharwa tinda (2-3 pieces)
  • Bedtime: Milk (1 cup) + trifla churn (1 teaspoon)
Dt. Akanksha Mishra

Dt. Akanksha Mishra

Nutritionist
8 Years of Experience

Surbhi Singh

Surbhi Singh

Nutritionist
22 Years of Experience

Dr. Avtar Singh Kochar

Dr. Avtar Singh Kochar

Nutritionist
20 Years of Experience

Dr. priyamwada

Dr. priyamwada

Nutritionist
7 Years of Experience

References

  1. Kucharska Alicja, Szmurło Agnieszka, Sińska Beata. Significance of diet in treated and untreated acne vulgaris. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2016 Apr; 33(2): 81–86. PMID: 27279815.
  2. Pappas Apostolos. The relationship of diet and acne: A review. Dermatoendocrinol. 2009 Sep-Oct; 1(5): 262–267. PMID: 20808513.
  3. Julianti Elin, Rajah Kasturi K, Fidrianny Irda. Antibacterial Activity of Ethanolic Extract of Cinnamon Bark, Honey, and Their Combination Effects against Acne-Causing Bacteria. Sci Pharm . 2017 Apr 11;85(2):19. PMID: 28398231
  4. Logan Alan C. Dietary fat, fiber, and acne vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol . 2007 Dec;57(6):1092-3. PMID: 18021854.
  5. Telang Pumori Saokar. Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2013 Apr-Jun; 4(2): 143–146. PMID: 23741676.
  6. Melnik Bodo. Dietary intervention in acne: Attenuation of increased mTORC1 signaling promoted by Western diet. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012 Jan 1; 4(1): 20–32. PMID: 22870349
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