LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts in category "acne and diet"

Taking the Heat Off Your Skin: 10 Anti-inflammatory Diet Tips

One of the most important ways a healthful diet can help you nurture beautiful, youthful skin is by keeping your body’s inflammatory response in check. Under normal circumstances, inflammation promotes healing by sending white blood cells to infected or injured tissues. But inflammation can also damage tissues when stressors such as smoking, obesity, or sun exposure cause it to spiral out of control and become chronic. Chronic inflammation plays a key role in a host of skin problems from rashes, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea to wrinkles, sagging, and other visible signs of aging. An anti-inflammatory diet increases the power of your topical skincare routine to minimize the symptoms of these conditions and restore balanced health to your complexion.
Controlling inflammation depends as much on avoiding the wrong foods as it does on eating more of the right ones. Here are some basic guidelines to help you distinguish between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory foods.

Pro-inflammatory Foods: Adding Fuel to the Fire
To minimize your exposure dietary compounds that fuel inflammation-related skin damage, avoid foods from the following categories.
Trans fats – Steer clear of processed foods such as crackers, cookies, and chips that list hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils on their labels.
Refined carbohydrates – Replace white bread, pasta, and rice with whole grain versions.
Sugar – The link between sugar and inflammation has serious implications for your skin. When sugar molecules attach to the proteins in our skin’s collagen fibers, the resulting inflammation causes those fibers to break down, reducing the skin’s strength and resilience. Inflammation linked to high blood sugar levels can also worsen acne. In addition to limiting your intake of sweets, watch out for sugars hiding in processed foods under different names like sucrose, dextrose, maltose, fructose, cane juice, and corn syrup.
Omega-6 cooking oils – Popular cooking oils such as corn, soy, canola, sunflower, and safflower are high in omega-6 fatty acids. While these fatty acids play a crucial role in our health, some of them promote inflammation when consumed in excess. For optimum health, you need to balance your omega-6 consumption with adequate amounts of anti-inflammatory omega-3s. Good sources include beans, fish, olive oil, flaxseeds, and walnuts. Depending on your specific health needs, the ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s in your diet should vary from 4:1 to 1:1.

Eating a rainbow of vegetables helps protect the skin from damaging inflammation.

Eating a rainbow of vegetables helps protect the skin from damaging inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory Foods: Keeping Your Skin Cool, Calm, and Collected
The following foods are among the richest sources of compounds that help keep your complexion healthy and youthful by interrupting the inflammatory process.
Berries – The phenolic compounds in blueberries, strawberries, and other berries help block enzymes that contribute to inflammation.
Olive oil – Another great source of anti-inflammatory phenolic compounds—for the highest concentration of these compounds, choose the extra virgin variety.
Cruciferous vegetables – These vegetables belong to the mustard family and include cabbage, mustard greens, broccoli, and cauliflower. The vitamin K, the omega-3 fatty acids, and a chemical called ITC in cruciferous vegetables help regulate the body’s inflammatory response.
Mushrooms – Mushrooms have been used an anti-inflammatories since ancient times. Porcini, shitake, and oyster mushrooms are particularly good choices.
Onions and garlic – These two members of the allium family of vegetables help prevent inflammation with a potent combination of phenolic compounds. Red onions are particularly high in these anti-inflammatories. They’re concentrated in the outer layers, so be sure you don’t peel away this portion of the onion.
Sweet potatoes – The anti-inflammatory effects of sweet potatoes come from the pigments that give them their orange or purple color, as well as from their high levels of vitamin A and other antioxidants. To preserve these nutrients cook sweet potatoes by steaming.
Ensuring your diet and your skincare products contain healthy doses of natural anti-inflammatories is a safe, gentle, effective way of protecting your complexion from the damaging effects of inflammation. In my next post, I’ll review the major plant-derived anti-inflammatories used in top-quality organic skincare products.

 

5 Diet Tips for a Younger, More Beautiful Face

Now that the season for New Year’s resolutions is here, many of you may be giving some extra thought to your eating habits. This year, keep in mind that what we eat is as important to the appearance of our face as it is to the size and shape of our body. Every aspect of our health from digestion and skin and muscle repair to mood regulation is affected by our diet. A diet that supports the healthy functioning of our organs and tissues optimizes the defining elements of a beautiful, youthful face. A radiant complexion, firm facial muscles, and a vibrant expression are all reflections of a thoughtful, balanced approach to eating.

Your face is a mirror of your overall health. <Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net>

Here are some dietary tips for maintaining a naturally attractive face:
1. Eat enzyme-rich foods – Raw plant-based and naturally fermented foods contain high levels of enzymes, substances that speed up and regulate chemical reactions in the body. Enzymes improve digestion and help cleanse the blood by breaking down toxins and organic wastes. Our body’s supply of these vital substances declines as we age. To replenish enzyme levels, include foods such as raw fruit and vegetables, sprouted grains, yogurt, miso, olives, and sauerkraut in your meals and snacks. You’ll find that eating these foods not only increases you energy levels, but also helps restore the clear eyes and fresh complexion of youth.

2. Consume plenty of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables – Broccoli, kale, yellow and red peppers, purple plums and grapes—eating a “rainbow diet” will ensure you get the antioxidants you need to fight the effects of free radical damage on the skin. Carotenoids—a type of antioxidant found in deeply pigmented fruits and vegetables—can even improve skin tone. These yellow, orange, and red pigments give your complexion a healthy golden glow.

3. Get enough protein The amino acids in the proteins we eat provide our bodies with the raw materials for rebuilding the collagen fibers in our skin, muscles, and bones. Over time as collagen production declines, these tissues atrophy, causing sagging and wrinkling. To help slow this process, our diet should consist of 10% to 35% protein. The quality of the protein we consume is as important as the quantity. High-quality proteins contain some or all of the 9 essential amino acids that our body can’t manufacture on its own. Good sources of these amino acids include meat, fish, egg whites, legumes, soy, nuts, and quinoa.

4. Include healthy fats – Omega-3 fatty acids from plant sources and fatty cold-water fish have powerful anti-aging benefits. These healthy fats help keep the skin moist, control acne, and repair sun damage. By repairing cell membranes, omega-3s help protect the skin from environmental threats They’ve also been shown to improve mood and sleep, two important factors in maintaining a young, vital look. Good sources of omega-3s include olive oil, flaxseeds, nuts, avocados, salmon, and mackerel.

5. Avoid refined carbohydrates – High blood glucose levels from foods like white flour and sugar can trigger the chronic inflammation and hormonal imbalances associated with acne. Chronic inflammation also contributes to the breakdown of the collagen and elastin fibers that keep our skin strong and resilient. These fibers can begin to crack and tear when they bond with sugar molecules. To keep both acne and wrinkles at bay, substitute fresh fruit for sugary treats and replace refined carbohydrates with 100% whole grain products.

Your face is the mirror of your total health and wellbeing. In upcoming posts, I’ll be saying more about how to beautify your face by adopting healthy lifestyle practices.

Tips for Taming Hormonal Acne

Stubborn cases of hormonal acne warrant the best professional care. But even the most advanced treatments can’t do the job alone. Make sure you’re doing your part by soothing and healing troubled skin from the inside out. Here are some guidelines:

PURSUE INNER EQUILIBRIUM

1. DON’T eat foods that promote hormonal imbalances and inflammation.

  • Refined sugars
  • White flour
  • Processed foods
  • Meat and dairy products that contain growth hormones
  • Trans-fats

2. DO adopt a back-to-nature diet rich in nutritious, anti-inflammatory foods, including

  • Fruits (especially berries, cherries, apples)
  • Vegetables (especially broccoli, spinach and other dark leafy greens, mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet potatoes)
  • Cold water fish (salmon, cod, mackerel, snapper, sardines)
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Soy products
  • Omega oils (olive oil, avocado oil)
  • Nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds)
  • Spices and herbs (tumeric, capsaicin pepper, cinnamon, garlic, rosemary, thyme)
  • Tea (white, green, oolong)
  • Healthy sweets (eat sparingly) – Substitute honey, maple syrup, and molasses for refined sugar; add high-fiber, nutrient-dense ingredients such as dried fruit and nuts; include anti-inflammatory dark chocolate and cocoa.

3. DO keep your weight and stress levels in check with vigorous physical activity, plenty of restful sleep, and regular interludes of relaxation.

Restore clear, healthy skin, with the right balance of pure, plant-derived nutrients inside and out.

MAINTAIN BALANCED SKIN FUNCTIONING

1. DON’T use harsh synthetic ingredients that clog pores, dehydrate skin, or cause inflammation

  • Alcohol-based astringents
  • Soap
  • Petroleum-based products (petroleum jelly, baby oil, mineral oil)
  • Parabens

2. DO calm, hydrate, and protect hypersensitive skin with premium organic skin care.

  • Zinc oxide to help control excess oil
  • Natural anti-inflammatory botanical and herbal extracts
  • Plant-derived anti-microbials (rosemary, aloe vera, white tea)
  • Natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) (shea butter, squalene, aloe • vera and other botanical oils and humectants)
  • Natural vitamin A – Avoid overuse of topical retinoids to prevent harmful levels of inflammation.

Regardless of the acne treatments you’re currently using, I’m confident you’ll find that this integrated health-driven approach to restoring hormonal balance to your skin will optimize the results—and contribute to your total wellbeing.

 

 

The Latest Word on Conquering Acne

Like all the stages in the life of your complexion, acne is more than a collection of symptoms. The blemishes and oily shine you see in the mirror start below the surface with complex changes in the deeper layers of the skin and the body’s internal organs. While using the right topical products can help control these symptoms, putting the wrong foods inside your body can aggravate their root causes. As new research reported in the New York Times makes plain, bad food choices can be as disastrous for your face as they are for your waistline.

The High Price of High-Carb Diets

The studies cited in the article link the risks of refined carbohydrates like white flour and  corn syrup to their immediate and long-term effects on hormone levels. When we indulge in  starchy or sugary treats, insulin surges into our bloodstream. This excess insulin, in turn,  stimulates our oil glands and the buildup of surface skin cells, clogging pores and trapping  bacteria. The weight gain that can result from a serious junk food habit also raises levels of  androgen, a prime culprit in the type of acne associated with periods of hormonal change.

Unfortunately, the cost of those empty calories seldom stops with a few extra pounds and  an occasional pimple. The reason both problems tend to spiral out of control is the stress  hormone cortisol.

Raging Hormones and Out-of-Control Complexions

Scientists quoted in the Times article believe that the stress of being overweight and having  acne may trigger overproduction of cortisol. Heavy daily doses of this hormone take a major  toll on the body. In addition to increasing appetite, sugar cravings, and the buildup of belly fat, elevated cortisol levels can cause a variety of skin problems. A chronic cortisol imbalance not only raises the risk of acne, but also interferes with skin’s ability to heal and renew itself. That sets up your complexion for double trouble: acne breakouts and wrinkles.

Hormonal acne is a frequent and frustrating problem for many women nearing menopause. While there’s no overnight cure for distressing condition, there’s a lot you can do calm the hormonal storms that fuel acne. I’ll share some acne-fighting tips in my next post.