Your diet might just be the reason those pimples keep coming back . Surprised? Well, recent research shows that too much oil, spice and sugar in your diet can be a major acne-triggering factor. Fortunately, the ancient books of Ayurveda list down many powerful Ayurvedic foods that can stabilize acne breakouts.
Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix says, “Ayurvedic treatments are a perfect balance of internal medicine, external therapies, diet, and lifestyle. Modifying the diet ensures you continue to stay healthy once the therapy is completed.”
So scroll down to know how your diet could be causing acne, and what you can do about it.
What Is Acne & Its Causes?
Acne Vulgaris or ‘Yuvana Pidaka’ is a skin condition that arises when hair follicles get blocked due to excess sebum secretion. Gradually these blocked pores or comedones (blackheads/ whiteheads) accumulate bacteria and get inflamed (papules, pustules and cysts).
According to Ayurveda, a vitiation of the kapha and pitta doshas along with an aggravated rakta dhatu (blood tissue) spike up the secretion of sebum and lead to these inflamed cysts. It can be caused by the following reasons.
1. Vitiation Of The Kapha Dosha
The kapha dosha regulates the movement of fluids in your body. A spike in its levels can lead to over-secretion of sebum by your sebaceous glands, leading to the formation of acne.
2. Pitta Dosha Aggravation
The pitta dosha governs your metabolic system. An aggravation of pitta can increase the heat in your body, leading to inflammation.
3. Vitiation Of The Rakta Dhatu
Vitiation of blood or rakta pradooshana can lead to various skin conditions, including yuvana pidaka (acne vulgaris).
4. Proliferation Of The P. acnes Bacteria
When your pores are blocked by sebum, dead skin cells and other impurities, it becomes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. An increase in P. acnes bacteria infects your blocked pore, leading to a pus-filled, inflamed pimple.
Can Your Diet Affect Acne?
According to Ayurveda, our body mechanisms are governed by the three life energies or tridoshas of vata, pitta and kapha. The balance of doshas ensures physical wellbeing, and is directly dependent on your diet. Thus consumption of foods that aggravate the kapha and pitta doshas are more likely to trigger acne causing factors.
According to medical science, acne is caused by the imbalance of hormones that leads to over-secretion of sebum. Intake of sugary, high-fat foods can hinder the body’s healing process and can further stimulate acne causing factors.
What Foods Help Clear Acne?
Including certain foods, vitamins, minerals and juices in your diet can help your body to fight acne better. These foods are further elaborated here.
A. 10 Best Ayurvedic Foods For Acne
A well balanced Ayurvedic diet for acne treatment includes foods that battle all the above listed causes of acne.
Kapha And Pitta Dosha Balancing Foods
An amazing tridosha balancer, Triphala works well against acne. It removes harmful ama toxins and purifies the body. A rich source of Vitamin C, it promotes healthy skin and removes acne scars.
How To Consume: Triphala is available in powder form.
Amount To Consume: Consume 1 teaspoon with lukewarm water or honey.
Shatavari is especially useful for treating hormonal acne. Its ability to balance hormones makes it one of the main ingredients in acne medicine. It also helps to calm the pitta dosha.
How To Consume: Shatavari is available in powder form.
Amount To Consume: Boil 1 teaspoon of Shatavari powder in 500ml water. Reduce it to half and consume.
Ashwagandha is a well-known herb in treating skin disorders, including acne. It is known for its 3 main qualities - Sophahara (anti-inflammatory), Kanduhara (anti-itching), Vishahara (detoxifying). It also helps balance all three doshas and is thus included in the diet for acne-free skin.
How To Consume: Ashwagandha is available in powder form.
Amount To Consume: Half to 1 teaspoon is to be consumed with ghee or honey
Blood Purifying Or ‘Rakta Shodhana’ Foods
An excellent blood purifier and tridosha balancer, this ancient, medical herb is used in various Ayurvedic medicines to treat skin disorders. Being a powerful reliever of Ama toxins that cause acne, regular intake can visibly reduce acne breakouts on your skin.
How To Consume: Sariva is available in powder form and also as syrups.
Amount To Consume: Dilute 1/4th or half teaspoon of Sariva powder in water and consume in the morning.
Manjistha is considered the magic herb when it comes to curing skin conditions, including acne. Apart from blood purification, it also pacifies the pitta dosha thus reducing inflammation. It also helps in brightening your complexion and makes for an excellent diet for acne scars.
How To Consume: Manjistha is available in powdered form.
Amount To Consume: 1/4th to half teaspoon is to be consumed with water.
Khadira is the best Ayurvedic herb for treating acne. A pitta - kapha dosha balancer and blood purifier, Khadira is used both as a topical and oral medicine to treat a number of skin diseases, including acne.
How To Consume: Khadira is available as a decoction and in powdered form.
Amount To Consume: Consume 50 to 100ml of decoction or 1/4th to half teaspoon of powder per day.
Draksha or raisins are great blood purifiers. They also cool a body affected by pitta aggravation and help in preventing acne.
How To Consume: Soak raisins overnight. Drain the water and consume in the morning.
Amount To Consume: 6-8 raisins per day.
Consuming neem every day keeps skin disorders away. High in antibacterial properties, neem helps your body fight infections, purifies the blood and balances the pitta dosha.
How To Consume: Consume as neem leaves or neem leaf powder.
Amount To Consume: Take 8 to 10 neem leaves or 1 teaspoon of neem leaf powder and consume with honey.
Tulsi’s medicinal properties are used to cure various Kushtas (skin problems) such as acne. It actively balances the kapha dosha, giving you acne-free skin.
How To Consume: Tulsi leaves can be consumed directly.
Amount To Consume: Add 5 to 8 tulsi leaves in your daily diet or add it to your tea.
Kumari or aloe vera is widely used for treating skin inflammations, including acne. It is highly beneficial for improving overall skin conditions. Its antibacterial properties help fight bacterial infections and provide quick healing for acne-prone skin.
How To Consume: Available as juice or concentrated pulp.
Amount To Consume: 1 to 2 teaspoons diluted with water.
Vedix Tip: Add a teaspoon of ghee to your daily diet for multiple skin benefits. Ghee balances your pitta dosha and enhances your metabolism. This in turn helps your body flush out harmful toxins, giving you clear, glowing skin.
B. Vitamins And Minerals For Acne-Free Skin
1. Vitamin A
The most common topical treatment for acne are Retinoids (Vitamin A), proving that Vitamin A is important in treating acne. In fact, this is the only vitamin that efficiently combats all acne causing factors and prevents over-secretion of sebum .
Source: Foods rich in Vitamin A include carrots, mangoes, papayas, sweet potato, pumpkin, green leafy vegetables, and liver.
2. Vitamin C
Though Vitamin C's direct role in preventing acne is still under research, it is known for being a powerful antioxidant. Consuming foods rich in Vitamin C can prevent acne scars and quicken the acne healing process.
Source: Vitamin C rich foods include citrus fruits, lemon, amla, kiwi, guavas, and broccoli.
3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is also a potent antioxidant and plays a significant role in treating acne. It helps in preventing acne scars and promotes skin regeneration. Including Vitamin E in your diet can help reduce blocked pores and inflammatory acne.
Source: Vitamin E sources include sunflower and soybean oil, wheat germ oil, almonds, peanuts, and avocados.
The anti-inflammatory properties of zinc  make it an important addition to the diet for acne. It prevents the proliferation of P. acnes bacteria and also lowers the rate of sebum secretion. Zinc is also known to reduce acne scars and improve the overall condition of your skin.
Source: Foods rich in Zinc include legumes, nuts, wholegrains, mushrooms, asparagus, pomegranate.
5. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
New research indicates that adding Omega 3 fatty acids to your diet is a great way to fight acne. Omega 3 exhibits anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce acne inflammations. Moreover, Omega 3 can help balance your hormones that affect the level of sebum secretion thus putting a check on two of the main pathogenic factors that cause acne.
Source: Foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids are flax seeds, walnuts, salmon, eggs and mackerel.
C. Best Juices For Clear Acne-Free Skin
1. Apple, Beetroot, Kiwi & Apricot Juice
Rich in anti-acne nutrients, these four ingredients help fight skin inflammations and acne. Regular intake also helps pacify the kapha and pitta doshas, bringing an overall improvement in your skin’s health.
2. Carrot, Spinach, Lemon & Coriander Juice
An amazing combination of beta-carotene and antioxidant  rich foods, this blend of ingredients helps your body fight acne causing factors and prevents skin infections.
3. Aloe Vera, Cucumber & Ginger Juice
This super cooling juice brings down the heat and calms the pitta dosha. Ginger and aloe vera are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties that fight acne and improve skin texture.
4. Brahmi, Manjistha, Ashwagandha, Triphala & Honey
This complete herbal package is one of best medicinal juices for acne. Mix a teaspoon each of brahmi, manjistha, ashwagandha and triphala powders in lukewarm water and add honey to it. Consume it regularly on an empty stomach for acne-free skin.
5. Green Tea, Ginger, Tulsi & Honey
According to recent research, flavonoids in green tea play an important role in preventing acne. Combined with the anti-inflammatory ginger, medicinal tulsi and antibacterial honey, this juice becomes a powerful diet for acne.
What Foods Are Bad For Acne?
1. Foods With A High Glycemic Index
Foods with high sugar content lead to the increase of insulin in your body. High levels of insulin are known to interfere with other hormones and further trigger an acne breakout.
2. Fat Rich Foods
Foods that are high on fat, especially trans fat and saturated fats can also spike up your blood sugar levels leading to higher insulin production. Too much insulin in the body can stimulate your sebaceous glands to secrete more sebum, causing acne. This applies to fat rich meat and processed foods.
3. Spicy Foods That Cause Heat And Inflammation
Although spicy, pungent foods cannot directly give you acne, it can mess with your metabolism. According to Ayurveda, a weak metabolic system may fail to flush out harmful ama toxins that cause Yuvana Pidaka (acne vulgaris). Moreover, excess intake of spicy foods can aggravate your pitta dosha and contribute to acne-causing factors.
4. Dairy Products
People with acne prone skin are often advised to limit their intake of dairy products. With hormonal imbalance being one of the major causes of acne, dairy foods can further aggravate your hormones. Thus, a dermatologist-recommended diet for acne usually excludes milk from your daily diet plan.
Though it's been a long standing belief that chocolate causes acne, recent findings state that cocoa might have little to do with breakouts. As long as you rein in your sugar intake and stick to dark chocolate, you're good to go.
The Last Word
The fact that nutrition and physical wellbeing go hand in hand is undeniable. This is why diet is prioritized in Ayurveda treatments. The condition of acne vulgaris or Yuvana Pidaka is prompted by various internal factors that can be further provoked by the diet you consume. Following the Ayurvedic diet for acne mentioned in this article can help maintain equilibrium of your doshas and ensure the removal of ama toxins from your body.Know Your Dosha Now
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