Most of us have at some point suffered through the mental agony of a teenage breakout. Some of us probably had acne so bad that it needed medicating, or even surgery, and left scars. However, for some people these breakouts, whether mild and annoying, or severe and scarring, are an everyday suffering. You may be surprised to know that if you are an adult without a diagnosed hormonal or autoimmune disorder, but you suffer continual acne, there’s a good chance you could eliminate it entirely just by changing your diet.
Many people do not believe this when they first hear it, but it’s true. The driving factors of acne are an attacked immune system, and an unbalanced hormonal system. When our immune system is under attack, it releases white blood cells to get rid of the enemy. These white blood cells eventually die and are either absorbed, or secreted through our pores and urine. If we have too many dead white blood cells, they may accumulate in our pores, causing acne. When our hormones are unbalanced, our pores once again come to the rescue. We have androgen receptors in our skin, so when our testosterone is too high, we will have oilier skin as our bodies strive to eliminate excess testosterone.
So how does a low carb, high fat diet help us here? Don’t fats make our skin bad? Not at all. As mentioned, these deposits in our skin aren’t the fat we are eating, but secreted oils, proteins, and dead white blood cells, pushed out by an ailing immune system. And what causes a healthy person’s immune system and hormones to fail is typically the consumption of high carbohydrate foods, and a low intake of healthy, natural fats.
Many carbohydrate sources are allergenic. Either the actual carbs themselves are the cause of a common allergy, as is the case with lactose, or the carbs come packaged with proteins that cause allergic or otherwise inflammatory reactions, such as with gluten in grains. When our bodies become inflamed we suffer a stress response. This results in the dumping of white blood cells into the bloodstream, which results in more of them dying and needing secreting. Stress also promotes the production of androgen hormones, like testosterone. These hormones will need to be secreted somewhere once the stress has passed.
Fats play an important part in skin health as well. First of all, all hormones are made using cholesterol. Our hormones exist in a constant state of slight flux. This means we can adapt and bounce back from new situations and stressful events. But it also means we need a steady supply of cholesterol to balance out our hormones whenever something changes. If we eat enough cholesterol, we are helping our hormones recover and discouraging breakouts. Some people falsely assume that testosterone always increases when we eat cholesterol, and that this will cause breakouts. In fact, when we consume cholesterol our bodies just produce whatever hormones they were deficient in. This can even cause testosterone to be converted to estrogen, meaning it does not need to be purged, and reducing the oiliness of our skin.
Not eating enough omega oils will also deplete your skin of its natural radiance. Omega oils are one of our most important antioxidants. Antioxidants help to prevent and reverse the ageing process and when we don’t eat enough of them, our skin loses its tightness and regenerative abilities. As we secrete proteins, oils, and dead cells through our pores every day, it is essential for our bodies to shed dry skin. This opens the pores up and lets them do their job. But if our dread, dry skin is not shedding because our new skin isn’t growing fast enough, then these secretions are held back and cause blockages, resulting in spots and blackheads.
Finally, the very vitamins and minerals we use to enrich and regrow our skin are mostly fat-soluble. This means we need fats such as cholesterol in our blood stream to carry vitamins E and D, selenium, and other nutrients to our skin, where they are used to rebuild our skin. The faster our healthy skin grows in, the faster we shed our old skin, the more we get rid of oily buildup, white blood cells, blockages, and other nasties that lead to breakouts.