Body + Mind is reader-supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through some of the links on our site.
You thought you could leave them in high school where they belong. However, now you want to cure acne for good. Pimples can strike well into your 40s, giving you the joy of trying to balance wrinkle creams with acne formulations.
What if you could improve your skin by switching up your diet? You can. Certain foods have the right combination of nutrients to make your complexion glow — but not with the angry, neon red of erupting pimples. Here are four foods that cure acne and four you should avoid for clearer skin.
Mother Nature provided a handy color code for some foods that cure acne, including yellow and orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and apricots. What makes these plant-based wonders beneficial for healing pimples? They’re all rich in beta-carotene. This nutrient converts to vitamin A in the body and is essential for fighting inflammation and damaging free radicals.
Yellow foods fight the harmful effects of the sun’s radiation and environmental pollutants, both of which can aggravate acne. Many of these foods also contain high doses of vitamin C, another vital nutrient for skin health. You can purchase vitamin C serums at many high-end department stores, and these formulations help heal blemishes and make your complexion appear more luminous.
You don’t have to turn to sugary store-bought drinks to get your oranges. Whenever possible, stick to whole fruits and vegetables. Too much of the sweet stuff can aggravate acne — more on that in a bit.
Deep, leafy greens are another food boon for curing acne and improving your overall health as a bonus. Foods like kale and spinach are among nature’s best sources of phytonutrients, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, neoxanthin and violaxanthin. These substances all possess potent anti-inflammatory properties, making them perfect for calming angry red pimples.
These foods are also excellent plant-based sources of iron, a necessary nutrient for keeping strong muscles and preventing pimples. It’s particularly beneficial for vegans and vegetarians to chow down on spinach and kale salads. Nutritional anemia is common in postadolescent women of reproductive age by increasing adrenal androgens, causing hormonal disruptions.
Nuts and seeds are marvelous for you in many ways, particularly in the winter. These foods are rich in minerals like magnesium, zinc and selenium. Many acne patients have low blood serum selenium levels — but eating a single Brazil nut delivers your full day’s recommended allowance.
These foods are also rich in vitamin E, an important antioxidant and nutrient for keeping skin supple. Many over-the-counter acne medications containing benzoyl peroxide can dry your complexion. Adequate intake of this nutrient helps keep it soft without increasing pore-clogging sebum production.
These foods come in handy in the winter as they also help battle depression. If you get the winter blues, keep a pack of trail mix with you for a snack.
Finally, eating enough fatty fish may cure your acne. The gifts of the sea are especially rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds are vital for cardiovascular health, but they also benefit your skin.
Several studies have found a correlation between increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids and decreases in acne vulgaris lesions. Better yet, these compounds guard against the red, itchy skin that often accompanies more aggressive acne treatments. Sufficient intake may even prevent the formation of skin cancer. The bottom line: make like the Catholics and embrace Fish Friday, adding salmon and mackerel to your weekly diet.
Adding the above foods to your diet is the first step in curing your acne. However, you should also know what to avoid.
In particular, foods that sharply increase your blood glucose levels can aggravate acne lesions. Conversely, some studies suggest that going on a low-glycemic diet may improve the appearance of pimples. As such, eat the following foods sparingly — if at all.
Pimples can strike well into middle age and cause distress no matter how many birthdays you’ve had. Clear your complexion by eating more of these four foods that cure acne and avoiding those that cause it.