From breakouts to blackheads and acne - the perils of oily skin are endless. Endless also are the products, remedies, treatments, and whatnot recommended to manage oily skin. Yet, there may still be days where about nothing seems to work.
As the popular saying goes, “wellness starts from within”, and this applies to your skin! The secret to curing any lifelong health problem is changing your lifestyle. The food you eat reflects on your skin, heart, and body. By exploring how what you eat may impact your skin, you may be able to deal with oily skin at its roots.
Why Does Skin Become Oily?
One needs to understand why our skin produces oil in the first place to start treating oily skin. Our skin has little pores all over it, and under it, it has little reserves of oil in these glands called the “sebaceous glands”. The oil your skin produces is nothing but a waxy substance called “sebum”. Yes, we get that our oily skin readers may have quite a bad opinion on this naturally occurring substance; but the truth is - sebum has essential functions on your skin. Not only does it keep your skin appropriately moisturized, but it fights external infections, prevents aging, and keeps your skin elastic. Sebum also plays an important role in maintaining a healthy pH of your skin and scalp.
For some people, due to hormones, age, or genes - skin pores can be producing excessive sebum. When this happens, you get oily skin. Oily skin is more prone to having dirt and bacteria stick on it, leading to breakouts. Additionally, some lotions or moisturizers may contain occlusives designed for dry skin, that can clog your pores and prevent dirt to escape your skin pores. Therefore, one has to be extra careful when dealing with oily skin.
Why Pay Attention to Food?
The food that we consume determines how our external glands behave. For example, if you eat food that is too oily, naturally, your sebaceous glands have more oil to produce. Similarly, if you eat foods with a lot of water content, your skin is hydrated, the inner layers are freed of toxins, and you sweat more. This ultimately leads to clearer skin. With that out of the way, let us get right into the foods that are good for you and foods you should probably avoid.
Foods To Eat!
#1. Coconut Water
Wouldn’t you agree that coconut water is a wonderful gift given to us by nature? I certainly would! It is a refreshing snack and one that is good for almost any human being. Packed with essential minerals like magnesium and potassium, coconut water hydrates your body in such a way that your electrolytes are balanced. This helps you digest your food better, and hydrates your skin with lots of water. Good water content balances out excess oil by flushing out toxins from your skin.
Coconut water also contains vitamin C, riboflavin, and calcium, all of which are essential in fighting oxidative stress and preserving youthful skin. Therefore, drinking nariyal paani regularly may be helpful for you to keep your skin clear while looking as radiant as ever.
While an apple a day keeps the doctor away, a banana a day can keep your breakouts at bay! These hassle-free and easily available fruits make up for tasty snacks that work wonders on your skin.
Bananas are packed with abundant minerals like potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium; which balance out the oil content in your body. They prove to be excellent detoxifiers and contain antioxidants (like Vitamin E) that preserve the longevity of your skin. Long story short, whether you eat a banana or apply it to your skin - it is likely to help.
Sufficient water content in your skin keeps it supple enough to be clear. And guess what?
Cucumber is almost entirely made up of water! Because of this, cucumbers have a relaxing impact on the skin, removing pollutants from your skin and body.
Cucumbers have a soothing nature which makes them anti-inflammatory. This ensures that the breakouts in your skin due to build-ups are avoided. Added to this is its good antioxidant content, which helps fight free radicals that may be harming your skin. Cucumbers, therefore, help you get hydrated and radiant skin - minus the excessive sebum.
#4. Dark Chocolate
Many might not like the bitterness of dark chocolate, but we are here to tell you it is good for you! Dark chocolate has high contents of cocoa, which is high in antioxidants. It can prevent breakouts and reduce enlarged pores.
However, it is important to understand what kind of dark chocolate you should be trusting. Most chocolate available in the markets, even the dark ones, tends to have high sugar content. Sugars are not a friend of oily skin, and neither are milk chocolates because of their high dairy content. Therefore, yes, dark chocolate is good for you, but only if it is actually dark. Refrain from consuming it too much as it might increase your sugar intake without you realizing it.
#5. Pulses And Lentils
Yes, you read that right. The simple dals available at your home are great for your skin! While lentils are rich in nutrients, pulses are protein-packed. A good consumption of these can help you manage blood sugar levels with their low glycemic properties. What does this mean for your skin? Less oil and fewer breakouts - as excessive sugar often leads to high oil production.
The proteins in pulses add to this benefit by improving your skin health and providing it with essential minerals. This ultimately helps you preserve healthy, youthful, and radiant skin.
Oatmeal! The miraculous serial everyone loves to use to treat allergic reactions. This superfood is not just good for external application but contains many ingredients that benefit your skin from within. Its anti-inflammatory qualities prevent breakouts, and its flavonoid content keeps your body free of toxins. Oats are also low in calories and prevent hiking up your blood sugar level. Therefore, they prove effective in preventing excess oil production on your skin.
Though low in calories, like many fruits, pineapples have an impressive nutrient content. Whether it’s manganese, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Magnesium, and even Iron - pineapples have it all in abundance.
Further, pineapple’s high composition of antioxidants proves essential in maintaining the good health of the skin. Studies have shown that the fruit contains this enzyme called “bromelain” which has been proven to prevent acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema.
Foods To Avoid!
While tips dealing with oily skin are packed with specific foods as pros, the foods you should avoid are less of specific ingredients, more than they are wide categories. It is completely understandable if you cannot completely boycott these foods. However, you may want to reduce your regular intake of them. This could do wonders for your skin in the long run.
#1. Red Meat
Red meats include a range of meats such as bacon, lamb, sausages, or beef. While they are certainly high on protein, they are also high on saturated fats. When too many fats enter your body, your skin is likely to produce more oil than ever. These fats can also be inflammatory, worsening your breakouts and making any skin problem you have possibly very painful. Try to cut down on their consumption. Fish meat as a general rule is a better alternative.
#2. Sugary Foods
Sugar has been correlated with oil for years now, and this is for good reason. High blood sugar leads to the over secretion of certain hormones, which in turn make your skin oilier. Additionally, the overproduction of insulin (the hormone your body secretes to digest sugars) is linked with excessive sebum. Note that sugary foods refer to foods that have added processed sugars. Therefore, they include food like cakes, doughnuts, and sweets. Fruits, which are also sweet, tend to have natural sugars that are not that harmful.
#3. Dairy Foods
Remember how your parents refused to get off your back until you finished a glass of milk before sleeping? This was because dairy stimulates growth hormones in the body.
However, these growth hormones lead to more greasy skin. They increase the content of testosterone in your body, which stimulates the production of excess oil. Dairy foods refer to anything that comes from milk, regardless of what kind of milk it is. This includes butter, cheese, ghee, paneer, high-fat yogurt, and so on. While it is understandable that you cannot completely cut down on dairy, try to avoid it as far as you can.
#4. Too Much Caffeine
Ah yes, caffeine sometimes becomes a necessary evil in our diet. For some, it is the one thing that keeps them prepared for their busy lives. But not only does too much caffeine fatigue you in the long run, but it also dehydrates your body. Relate any food that dehydrates you to excess oil production. Try to limit your consumption of tea or coffee. Always drink enough water to compensate if there is too much caffeine in your diet.
#5. Spicy Food
As someone living in India, spicy food is probably one of your favorite things to eat. There is nothing quite like the satisfaction one gets eating spicy curries loaded with masalas. However, the complaints from your mouth and stomach after you consume something spicy are valid.
These foods tend to be inflammatory, which gives them their heat in the first place. This makes them more likely to cause or worsen acne on your skin. Not only that, spicy food has certain types of acids that can mess up the pH of your skin, making it too acidic and oily. This can be dangerous for you, especially if your skin is acne-prone.
#6. Salty, Processed Foods
Have you ever noticed how thirsty you get after eating, say, a cheese-filled pizza? This happens because of the food’s high salt content. Salt increases the hydration needed for your body and dries your skin out along with your throat. This deficiency in hydration causes your skin to produce more oil. Further, excess salt causes an inflammatory reaction, making your skin more prone to breakouts.
While salt is essential for your body (you cannot survive with zero salts), too much salt is hazardous for your health. We add “processed foods” to this section because most packaged foods you come across tend to be high in sodium to preserve their freshness. Examples of such foods include fries, burgers, pizzas, instant noodles, and so on.
The next time you hit the club on the weekend, you might want to watch how much you drink - and not because of the anticipated disorientation it causes. Alcohol, like salt, dehydrates your body and in turn dries your skin, leading to a spike in your sebum production. If you decide to drink, make sure to drink water to balance out the ill effects of alcohol.
Other Simple Ways to Manage Oily Skin
Apart from monitoring your diet, there are lots of other things you can add to your lifestyle to deal with your oily skin. Here are some simple tips explained briefly: -
- Drink lots of water.
- Always keep a clay mask near in case you get a breakout.
- Use water-based mild cleansers on your face.
- Exercise regularly to burn calories and get rid of toxins through sweat.
- Manage your stress with relaxation techniques like meditation.
- Be patient with your skin and avoid popping breakouts.