photo: ellen von unwerth

Dr. Jessica Wu, our own LA dermatologist and author of Feed Your Face, is back to share with us a few tips on what foods can contribute to acne and which can help clear it + prevent it. Because what we put on the inside is just as important for our skin as what we put on the outside. Thanks Dr. Wu!

Do you dread looking in the mirror in the morning because you’re afraid of finding another pimple?  If so, the secret to getting clear skin might be what you’re eating.  While there are several causes of acne (heredity, bacteria, clogged pores), I’ve helped many of my patients control their breakouts by choosing the right foods.  Even those who are taking antibiotic pills can often stop taking them.  If you’re struggling with breakouts, here’s how to eat for clear skin:

Got zits? If so, dairy is not your friend.  Milk products (even organic) contain cow hormones that can be absorbed by your body.  Dairy products stimulate your body’s own hormones, leading to oilier skin and clogged pores.  Instead, try soy or almond milk in your cereal and coffee.  If you must have your cheese or yogurt fix, at least choose organic, nonfat or skim milk products which contain fewer hormones.  Just be sure to get your calcium elsewhere.

Avoid white carbs like sugar, bread, bakery items, pasta, white rice, and potatoes.  Eating a diet that’s high in carbs can increase the level of androgens (the acne-causing “male” hormones that stimulate oil glands) after just one week.  Carbs also make you bloat.  If you are going to have carbs, pair it with a protein so you’ll eat less of it (for example, add chicken to your pasta or peanut butter to your whole wheat toast).

Eat more zinc-rich foods. Zinc has been shown to fight acne-causing bacteria, and is a natural anti-inflammatory.  Zinc is found in lean red meat (especially beef and lamb) as well as lentils, kidney beans, and oysters.  However, it’s best to avoid zinc supplements, since too much zinc can be toxic.  It’s better to get your zinc by eating it.