Pimples are pretty much a given experience for kids around puberty time and moving through adolescence. For some kids, it is a daily challenge and a source of emotional stress that can have a strong impact on their self-esteem.
We are often told that it is all about cleanliness and a proper skin cleansing routine is all you need to keep pimples and acne under control. While cleanliness helps, it is more about what is going on under the surface that matters most.
What are the main causes of acne?
Our skin is a reflection of our internal environment and pimples and acne can have a number of drivers related to hormones, digestion and detoxification. The foods we eat can therefore further add to the already imbalanced processed that are going on in the body.
How do I clear up my acne?
When it comes to acne (full name, acne vulgaris), there are a few foods we really want to avoid.
The first one is sugar. This obviously means the added sugar type you will find in soft drinks, sports drinks, lollies, chocolate, ice cream, ice blocks, cakes and biscuits but even in yoghurts, museli bars, cereals, potato chips, sauces and spreads. I would even include avoiding high intakes of fruit juices here as well.
Sugar is pretty much included everywhere and you really need to get good at reading the labels on food items to avoid it.
Sugar would have to be the number one thing to work on reducing or eliminating from your diet to get on top of your acne. Sugar triggers an increase in a hormone called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). IGF-1 contributes to increased sebum and keratin inside skin pores responsible for whiteheads and blackheads. Blocked pores are more susceptible to inflammation. This is your classic red pimple or in worse cases, cysts.
Cow’s milk dairy is a very common issue for acne sufferers. Not only is it quite inflammatory for some people but it also increases that same hormone that sugar does: the IGF-1. If you grew up with bouts of ear infections, tonsilitis, hay fever and/or eczema, then dairy really isn’t your best friend.
Dairy is found in milk, yoghurt, cheese, butter, ice cream, custards and chocolate.
Refined carbohydrates and especially white flour products (bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits) lack the all-important fibre much needed to avoid blood sugar spikes that increase IGF-1 and inflammation. There are many other drawbacks to a lack of fibre in the diet. Without good amounts of fibre, we are less able to bind up wastes and toxins and clear them out of the body effectively. A build-up of wastes and toxins, especially if we are not passing a stool daily, means we are at risk of reabsorbing them and having them circulate around the body where they can do damage and cause inflammation.
Refined and processed oils
These types of oils, including trans fats, are found in many processed and packaged foods, deep-fried foods, fast-foods and standard bakery items including sweet and savoury pastries and pies. These oils are very inflammatory and throws the balance of good fats to bad fats out the window affecting many systems in our body. In regards to acne, it is understood that a these bad fats contribute to an increase in sebum production.
Avoiding these foods can be a challenge for the average teenager who is very much influenced by those around them, by social media and advertising, and by the increasing amounts of personal spending opportunities.
Knowledge is priceless and educating your child on the whys behind how pimples and acne come about leaves the ball in their court to take health into their own hands and make the necessary changes.
What’s left to eat I hear you ask!!! Plenty. Read all about the best foods for acne.
Some kids may need some extra support in sorting out their digestive health or balancing their hormones on top of these dietary changes. Get in contact with me today to put together a tailored plan for your child.