Breakouts? The 7 Sneaky Foods That Trigger Acne

 

7-sneaky-foods-that-trigger-acneThere is nothing worse than an unexpected acne breakout. You’ve been diligent with your skin-care regime, you’ve avoided the beauty products that you’re sensitive to, but still your skin seems to have a mind of its own. It’s time to look to your diet.

 

There are seven foods that might be triggering your flare-ups without you even realizing.

 

Dairy

Dairy might be tasty, but it can cause major issues for people with skin conditions, particularly acne. This is because it causes an exaggerated response in blood sugar levels, causing fluctuations that can trigger hormone imbalances. Research supports that dairy can be a trigger food for a variety of populations who suffer from acne.

 

The good thing is, there are plenty of dairy alternatives to try out. Switch your cream for coconut cream, your milk for almond, coconut or other nut milks, and your yogurt for coconut yogurt.

 

Gluten

Good health begins in the gut, and your skin is no exception to this. But gluten may be part of the problem when it comes to your acne. Gluten-containing foods trigger a compound called zonulin, which creates ‘holes’ in your gut lining. This allows undigested food and other particles into the bloodstream, which cause inflammation and a higher toxin load on the liver. The end picture is that your skin suffers the consequences.

 

There’s plenty of gluten-free alternatives available for you to use instead. Look out for brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth options. Some products may substitute in other gluten-free flours, such as potato.

 

Peanuts

Even the humble peanut can cause issues for your skin. Although the mechanisms are still being studied, it’s believed that peanuts can increase testosterone levels. This throws out the balance of sex hormones and increases the production of sebum on the skin.

 

If you’re munching your way through a jar of peanut butter, you may be making it even worse thanks to the combination of peanuts and sugar. Peanuts are also a major source of aflatoxins, fungal poisons that can make you very sick and affect your immune system.

 

Luckily, you can switch over to other nut products instead. Make up a trail mix of almonds, walnuts and macadamias, or try a new type of nut butter.

 

Corn

Suffering from cystic acne? There is thought to be a link between uncontrolled cystic acne and undiagnosed corn allergies. Corn allergies are known to cause skin issues, and health practitioners believe that cystic acne may be a sign that your body is reacting to corn.

 

When you have an allergy, it can flare acne by causing systemic inflammation, causing oxidative stress on the body, and throwing out the immune system’s delicate balance.

Corn also has a high glycemic index, which means it can spike your blood sugars and cause hormone balance disruptions.

 

Corn is easy enough to replace – simply use brown rice products instead, and switch your corn-based sweeteners to Stevia.

 

Caffeine

Caffeine might wake you up in the morning, but it also puts an extra heavy load on your liver. This load adds up quickly, and can lead to excess hormones circulating around your body. Imbalanced hormones lead to excess sebum production, and the next thing you know, you have a flare-up of skin symptoms.

 

Caffeine also impacts on adrenal hormone production, which is closely linked to sex hormone production. By throwing out one balance, you will inevitably impact on the other, and your skin will suffer the consequences. Caffeine-based beverages are often a source of added dairy and sugar, so your morning Starbucks fix becomes your skin’s worst nightmare.

 

Caffeine can be difficult to wean off, but there are a few tasty options. Dandelion and chicory based brews give you the bitter flavor without the caffeine of coffee. Herbal teas are also a great option to include, and can soothe your skin.

 

Alcohol

Having a bottle or two of wine per week might seem like moderation, but it’s enough to wreak havoc on your skin.

 

Alcohol is inflammatory and increases the burden on your liver, meaning it can’t detoxify other toxins such as excess hormones. As we know, inflammation and toxin build-up are two major causes behind acne flares.

 

Going alcohol-free doesn’t mean you have to miss out on flavor. Try whipping up some low-sugar mocktails with sparkling water, or make your own kombucha.

 

Sugar

Got a sweet tooth? It might taste good, but sugar is a terrible trigger for your acne flare-ups. Sugar causes your blood sugar levels to spike, which then leads to imbalanced sex hormones and inflammation across the body.

 

All of this adds up to increased sebum, a sluggish immune system, and a flare-up of your symptoms.

 

If you want to enjoy a sweet treat, keep it whole and natural. Snack on fresh whole fruit, and if you want a sweetener for a dessert recipe, try using Stevia.

 

 

By switching out these major triggers, you will find your skin improving daily, and your confidence will grow.

 

References

http://www.jle.com/fr/revues/ejd/e-docs/the_influence_of_dietary_patterns_on_acne_vulgaris_in_koreans_286618/article.phtml

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-4632.2009.04002.x/full

http://www.centerforfoodallergies.com/acne.htm

 

Vitamin D: Your Skin’s Best Friend

Vitamin D is a hot topic when it comes to health and well-being. But what many people don’t realize is that it’s one of the most important nutrients out there when it comes to skin health.

 

It’s time to look at the role of vitamin D in skin health, and how to get enough of it safely.

Vitamin D for Happy Skin

About Vitamin D

Vitamin D, strictly speaking, isn’t a vitamin. It’s actually a natural seroid that your body produces. There’s a few different forms, but they are all grouped under the heading of ‘vitamin D’.

 

Vitamin D in the human body is usually produced when UV-B rays hit the skin, which is why it’s known as the ‘sunshine’ vitamin. However, you can also get small amounts in foods such as eggs, fish and mushrooms. Some foods may also be artificially fortified with vitamin D.

 

For people who are at a high risk of deficiency, such as those with dark skin or who work long office hours, supplementation may be necessary.

 

Skin Benefits Of Vitamin D

Vitamin D has a host of general health benefits, including supporting immune function and skeletal health. But there are also many ways that it benefits your skin.

 

Acne

If you have sore, inflamed acne, vitamin D may be able to ease your symptoms. This is thanks to vitamin D’s role in boosting the immune system, as well as it being a vital precursor to sex hormones.

 

By having enough vitamin D, you will have the building blocks for hormones, and also protect yourself from bacteria that can infect your blemishes.

 

Psoriasis

Itchy, scaly psoriasis prone skin? Vitamin D might be part of the solution. Multiple studies have shown that higher vitamin D levels through UV-B ray exposure can significantly improve psoriasis symptoms.

 

Though there is no official explanation as to why this happens, it’s likely to be thanks to vitamin D’s role in balancing the immune system, as psoriasis is an autoimmune condition.

 

Eczema

If you, or your little one, have eczema, it might be time for you to check those vitamin D levels. Research suggests that both children and adults with eczema are likely to have low levels.

 

Lower levels of vitamin D are also linked to more severe symptoms, and people with low vitamin D have a greater risk of getting infections related to their eczema.

 

Like psoriasis, the most likely mechanism behind these is vitamin D’s immune balancing effect, as eczema is considered to be an autoimmune condition.

 

Inflammation

Have any kind of skin condition that involves inflammation? Whether it’s acne, rosacea, or just general redness of the skin, good vitamin D levels are vital for bringing your skin back to health.

 

Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties in the human body, so if you don’t have enough of it, inflammation may run riot. But by boosting up your levels, the level of inflammation in your skin will lower naturally.

 

Appearance Of Complexion

Vitamin D’s benefits aren’t just confined to skin conditions – it can also give you beautiful skin. Vitamin D production stimulates your keratinocytes, which are cells that make up most of your skin.

 

When you don’t have enough vitamin D, you have fewer skin cells in total, giving you thin and fragile skin. By getting plenty of natural vitamin D from sunlight, your skin cells will constantly renew themselves, so you have a more youthful appearance, no matter what your age.

 

Getting Your Vitamin D

Most health organizations recommend that your blood levels of vitamin D sit between 30-100ng/ml, although many complementary health practitioners would prefer you to have at least 50ng/ml for optimal health.

 

You do need to be safe with getting enough vitamin D. This is not a permission slip to go to a tanning salon – that level of exposure will cause damage to your skin, due to the high doses of UV.

 

How much exposure you need depends on where you are in the world, what time of year it is, and what type of skin you have.

 

One guideline suggests that short but frequent exposure, such as 10 minutes without sunscreen around midday, is the best way to boost vitamin D levels without exposing you to excess risk of damage.

Through the winter months, the right amount of Vitamin D can be next to impossible to get from sunlight.  In this case, you’ll want to consider supplementing with a liquid Vitamin D3 from a reputable supplement brand.

 

If you’re not certain of where you’re sitting right now, schedule an appointment to have your levels tested and find out how to get the best dose for you.

 

References

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S209012321400023X

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21034990

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1751-1097.2006.tb09833.x/full

http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/testing-for-vitamin-d/

http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-010510-100611

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2133.2010.09767.x/full

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jcb.20095/full

 

The Toxic Skincare Ingredients That Can Ruin Your Health

toxic-skincare

 

It’s no secret that skincare is a necessary process in modern society. Thanks to all of the chemicals and toxins that we are exposed to throughout the day, as well as artificial lighting, heating/cooling and more, our skin needs a bit of TLC to be at its best.

 

The problem is, many conventional skincare products actually contain ingredients that can be harmful to your skin and your health.

 

Here are some of the most common ingredients you will want to avoid in your skincare choices.

 

Parabens

What are they?

Parabens are widely used preservatives, used for their ability to prevent growth of bacteria, yeast and molds in cosmetic and skincare products.

 

Where are they found?

They are most commonly found in facial cleansers, as well as deodorants, shampoos, make-up and body washes. They may also be added to pharmaceutical products, so keep your eyes peeled.

 

How can I spot them?

Any paraben listed is pretty easy to spot, as they will usually have the word ‘paraben’ in the name – such as methylparaben.

 

How do they affect health?

Parabens mimic estrogen, which can not only throw out the delicate balance of sex hormones and worsen your current skin issues, but may also be associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.

 

Phthalates

What are they?

Phthalates might be hard to spell, but what they are is pretty simple – they’re a type of chemical that increases flexibility and softness of plastics used in products.

 

Where are they found?

The main phthalates that are used in skincare are those found in perfumed products and lotions, however they can also be found in nail polish and hair spray.

 

How can I spot them?

There’s three main phthalates to look out for – diethyl phthalate, or DEP, is most used in skincare, but also watch out for dibutyl phthalate, or DBP, and dimethyl phthalate, or DMP.

 

However, if it’s part of a fragrance, it won’t be listed separately, so you’ll want to avoid any artificial fragrance just to be safe.

 

How do they affect health?

Phthalates are thought to be endocrine disruptors, throwing out the delicate hormonal balance and may worsen your skin issues if they are hormonal in origin.

 

Endocrine disruption can also increase risk of breast cancer, and early development in young girls, as well as birth defects of the reproductive system in infants.

 

Phthalates are also linked to damage of major organs such as liver, kidney and lungs, as well as suspected links to cancer. In fact, they are banned in Europe because of the potential health issues.

 

Petrochemicals

What are they?

Made from by-products of petroleum, these chemicals are generally used to create a film on the skin, to give a moisturized feeling.

 

Where are they found?

They are commonly used in moisturizers, skin oils and baby oils, as well as in styling gels for hair.

 

How can I spot them?

There’s a lot of petrochemicals out there. Here’s a few to avoid:

  • Mineral oil
  • Paraffin wax
  • Toluene
  • Benzene
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • PEG, or polyethylene glycol
  • Any ingredient ending in ‘eth’ such as laureth
  • DEA, or diethanolamine, and MEA, or ethanolamine
  • Butanol and any ingredient including ‘butyl’
  • Ethanol and any ingredient including ‘ethyl’
  • Artificial fragrance or parfum

 

This is not a comprehensive list, but is a good starting point – with most skincare products, if they have one petrochemical you can spot, there will most likely be multiple others listed under various names.

 

How do they affect health?

Petrochemicals have multiple effects on health. The film it forms on skin can block the skin from releasing sweat, toxins and more, reducing your skin’s effectiveness as a pathway of elimination.

 

The main issue with petrochemicals is that they can generate a substance known as 1,4 dioxane. This compound can cause cancer, and be toxic to kidneys, brain and lungs.

 

The risk with this is higher than you might think – research showed that 22% of all products contain levels of 1,4 dioxane that are considered unsafe.

 

Synthetic Fragrances & Colors

What are they?

Just like the name suggests, these are artificial colors and fragrances, used to create scent and color in cosmetic, haircare and skincare products.

 

Where are they found?

These can be found in almost any type of skincare product – cleansers, toners, moisturizers, creams and more.

 

How can I spot them?

Fragrance listed without any further information is a pretty big giveaway that it’s artificial – if it’s natural, the company will list that. Colors are easy enough to spot – look for D&C followed by a color and a number, such as D&C Red 27.

 

How do they affect health?

Fragrance blends are associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory issues and may even act as endocrine disruptors. They can also exacerbate asthma and trigger headaches or dizziness.

 

Synthetic colors are suspected to cause cancer, as well as irritating skin and being linked to ADHD in children. In fact, Europe have banned artificial colors.

 

Both colors and fragrances are also a common source of petrochemicals and phthalates, and all of the health issues that come along with those products.

 

Sulfates

What are they?

A degreaser, sulfates cause the foaming that many of us know to be associated with cleansers and shampoos.

 

Where are they found?

Sulfates are found in almost every product in skincare and haircare that foams up, including cleansers, soaps and shampoos. It’s commonly used in acne skin care products due to its degreasing action.

 

How can I spot them?

Luckily, sulfates are pretty easy to spot – the two main types to look out for are sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS, and sodium laureth sulfate, or SLES.

 

How do they affect health?

Sulfates can irrritate the body, particularly irritating the skin, lungs and eyes. Unpleasant, but not the end of the world.

 

But, the big bad about sulfates is their potential to react with other chemicals and form a potent carcinogen known as nitrosamine. This can also lead to kidney and respiratory issues..

 

Looking for the right skincare products and regime for your healthiest skin? Make sure to book an appointment!

 

References

http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm128042.htm

http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm128250.htm

http://www.ewg.org/news/news-releases/2007/02/08/ewg-research-shows-22-percent-all-cosmetics-may-be-contaminated-cancer

https://cspinet.org/eating-healthy/ingredients-concern/food-dyes

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140673607613063/abstract

http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/ColorAdditivesinSpecificProducts/InCosmetics/default.htm

http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm388821.htm