In each pore of our skin, we have sebaceous glands that produce sebum, an oil-like liquid, which helps to moisturize and protect our skin. When too many dead skin cells collect on the top of the skin in conjunction with high amounts of sebum, this can create a clog in our sebaceous glands and will result in inflammation. Our body will respond to this inflammation by sending white blood cells to the site of the clog which forms the white-headed pimples called acne. So, what are the best foods for hormonal acne?
Here are my top 5 foods for reducing hormonal acne:
1. Zinc Foods
Foods for hormonal acne that contain zinc can be very beneficial. Zinc can help to enhance skin appearance and decrease acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties and it also can effectively reduce cutibacterium acne which is a bacteria linked to acne production in the skin. Additionally, zinc can inhibit sebum secretion and production by its anti-androgenic property, which can be very helpful in PCOS. Zinc foods include meat, oysters, mussels, shellfish, beans, seeds, and nuts.
2. Vitamin C Foods
Vitamin C has great benefits toward immune function and it has antioxidant properties, which is why it is one of the best foods for hormonal acne. Oxidative stress creates nuclear transcription factor kappa B (NFkB) which contributes to a pro-inflammatory response as well as skin aging. Vitamin C is able to inhibit NFkB, creating an anti-inflammatory response preventing the oxidative affect from occurring at the skin level. Foods for hormonal acne with vitamin C include, citrus fruits, broccoli, cantaloupe, kiwi, sweet potato, bell peppers, and berries.
3. Omega 3 Foods
Another one of the great foods for hormonal acne is foods with omega 3s. Two types of polyunsaturated fats are omega-3 and omega-6. Most western diets consume a ratio of omega-6 when it should be higher in omega-3s. This is because in excess, omega 6s are pro-inflammatory and cause acne while omega-3s have protective effects to help decrease acne. Omega-3 sources include oily fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines; fish oil and flaxseed oil; flaxseeds, walnuts, and chia seeds.
4. Gut Healing Foods
The gut plays an important role in maintaining healthy skin and reducing acne. Another group of foods for hormonal acne is gut-healing foods. The gut contains a large diversity of bacteria that aids us in regular bowel movements and digestion. When this bacteria is reduced or overpopulated, it can cause certain symptoms, like acne. Studies have found that the gut microbiota or bacteria have a connection to acne production due to the inflammatory response. Also gut flora can transport excess microbiota to the skin directly. This is because when the intestinal wall becomes permeable, the bacteria can pass through the wall and enter the bloodstream to then collect in the sebaceous glands which clog the pores to create acne. Gut healing foods will contain properties to help decrease the permeability of the intestines. The main thing you want to focus on is whole unprocessed foods, this will be the best way to efficiently digest food. Sources of gut-healing foods for hormonal acne are lean proteins, fish, eggs, leafy greens, and mucilaginous foods like ground flax or chia seeds.
5. Anti-Estrogenic Foods
Another property in foods for hormonal acne is estrogen detoxification properties. Balanced estrogen is found to be beneficial for inhibiting the androgen activity with sebaceous glands and additionally can have regulatory effects on the genes that function in negative acne production. Due to this, one of the hormonal acne causes can be estrogen dominance. When estrogen is over-produced, you can develop overly dry skin, which causes inflammation, irritation and the sebaceous glands will respond by producing more oil. Foods for hormonal acne that contain estrogen detox supporting properties include soy, flaxseed, cruciferous vegetables, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, beans, and grass-fed meat.