3 min read

Eat your way to a clear complexion

08 Dec

If someone asked you what the secret to flawless skin was, what would you say? Regular facials, the best cosmetic creams? No, it’s your diet! What goes in your mouth shows on your skin. Try implementing these four rules of good foods to eat for a glowing and clear complexion.


1. Ditch those processed food products and refined carbs

Did you know that white bread, pasta, rice, sugar-laden foods and anything made from refined carbs do not enhance skin health? Because these foods are rapidly digested they cause a sharp spike in blood glucose to which your pancreas reacts to and produces a large amount of insulin.

Researchers speculate that this insulin spike stimulates insulin-growth factor 1 (IGF-1) receptors in the skin which in turn increases the growth of skin cells that cause the sebaceous gland ducts to kink leading to the formation of pimples.

Easy tips

Instead of highly processed foods, go for moderate amounts of whole foods – since they contain more fibre, they are digested more slowly. This allows for a more gradual release of insulin.

  • Try 100% whole grain products (check the ingredient list)
  • You love rice? Then go for brown rice
  • Instead of pouring sugar in your beverages, try adding some cinnamon powder or raw honey – artificial sweeteners are a big no-no if you want clear skin!
  • Be adventurous: try pseudo-cereals like amaranth, buckwheat or quinoa.
  • Throw out your morning sugar laden cereals and try oatmeal with some nuts and berries

2. Cut down on dairy

The two major proteins in milk are casein and whey. Studies have shown that:

  1. Whey protein contains betacellulin, a growth factor that causes the skin follicles to produce too much sebum that can get trapped inside clogged pores – this can cause inflammation.
  2. Whey and Casein increase production of IGF-1.

Researchers have also linked acne to the hormones and other bioactive substances present in milk products.

Easy tips

  • Try non-dairy milks like almond, rice or coconut milk

3. Go fish!

"Inflammation triggers the cells to clog the pore, causing acne," explains Nicholas Perricone, a dermatologist.

What’s inflammation got to do with fish? Seafood, especially cold water fish like tuna, salmon and mackerel, are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3s have been shown to improve acne severity and reduce lesions.

Easy tips

  • Don’t eat fish? Ask your doctor about omega 3 supplements. Nuts and seeds also contain some omega 3s
  • Opt for wild fish instead of common farmed ones

4. Eat antioxidant rich vegetables

When the oily sebum is exposed to UV light or toxins, it is oxidised by free radicals and the oxygen content of the sebum is lowered. This helps the bacteria responsible for acne namely Propionibacterium acnes to multiply and cause further inflammation. Scientists have observed that people with acne have considerably lower levels of antioxidants but a much higher sebum output. One way to dampen this inflammation (besides consuming omega-3s) is to consume more antioxidant rich vegetables.

Easy tips

  • Eat a vegetable at each meal

By following these tips on good foods to eat and foods to stay away from, you’ll be well on you way to developing a healthy and clear complexion.

Has this article been helpful? I would love to hear your thoughts, please let me know in the comment section below.

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Topics: Face
Dr Naveen Somia MBBS, PhD, FRACS

Written by Dr Naveen Somia MBBS, PhD, FRACS

Dr. Naveen Somia is a Sydney Plastic Surgeon who listens to his patients, understands their problems and works alongside them to help achieve their aesthetic goals by applying his skills and years of experience in Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery. A published author on Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery, Naveen’s blog is aimed at helping you make the right choices and stay safe in your quest to look your personal best.