For those struggling with persistent breakouts, look to the ocean for your food cure. "When our blood sugar and insulin levels rise, whether from a poor diet or from stress, we experience a serious increase in inflammatory chemicals at a cellular level. This causes inflammatory diseases such as acne to worsen dramatically," says Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a board-certified dermatologist and nutritionist and author of Forever Young.
Says Perricone, cold-water fish like wild salmon, sardines, herring, and anchovies are high in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which reduce levels of stress chemicals and help decrease inflammation (acne is an inflammatory disease, after all). Perricone also suggests detoxing with a watercress salad daily, taking omega-6 supplements to raise your linoleic acid levels, and adding fiber to your diet via apples to keep your colon cleansed.
There are certain foods that Perricone considers acne triggers, so to avoid making your breakouts any worse, make sure you've removed these from your diet: trans fats, margarine, hydrogenated oils, coffee, starchy and fried foods, and foods containing sugar or high fructose corn syrup. "These foods will encourage clogged pores resulting in new breakouts," he says.
Illustrations by Naomi Abel