They are extremely uninvited guests and still stop by more often than we would like: pimples. It doesn't matter when, they just always show up inconveniently, whether it's the morning before a first date, on vacation or when a job interview is coming up. We'll probably never get rid of them completely, but eating the right anti-pimple diet can help keep these pesky visitors at bay. We'll tell you which foods promote pimple growth, which diet you can use to reduce skin blemishes and the most important first-aid tips for pimples.
How do pimples form?
Although we all know what is meant when talking about pimples, the actual technical terms are papules (nodules) and pustules (pustules). They are triggered by tiny inflammatory reactions in hair follicles or sebaceous glands, which lead to keratinization of the skin so that dead skin cells can no longer flake off. This clogs the outlets of the sebaceous glands and the sebum can no longer be transported away. A plug develops – the well-known blackhead. If bacteria then also join in, visible inflammation occurs, the dreaded pus pimple.
Inflammation that gets under the skin
But let's go back to the very beginning: In the beginning there was the inflammation . Many skin diseases and impurities are based on inflammatory processes. These are often not even visible, so they go off almost unnoticed, which is why one also speaks of so-called silent inflammations. Diet plays a key role in keeping these sources of inflammation in our bodies on the back burner, thereby improving our skin's health.
🩺 Skin diseases such as rosacea, psoriasis, neurodermatitis or acne are due to inflammatory processes in the body, among other things. In addition, inflammation accelerates skin aging.
Anti-inflammatory diet for pimples
Diet is therefore not a secondary factor when it comes to skin health, but one of the linchpins. It lays the foundation for a healthy, beautiful glow and once again the old adage " You are what you eat " applies.
If inflammatory processes are sometimes the trigger for skin problems, an anti-inflammatory diet is crucial in the fight against pimples. How does that work? By prioritizing antioxidant nutrients and reducing or eliminating foods with pro-inflammatory nutrients.
macro and micronutrients
At this point it is worth digging a little deeper and first acquiring a little basic knowledge about nutrition . This not only helps us in terms of beautiful skin, but also in terms of our health in general. So let's take a look at what we actually eat when we eat. The nutrients that we get from food fall into two main categories :
1. Macronutrients : serve the body for energy production
2. Micronutrients : are needed for metabolism and other vital body processes
- trace elements
Macronutrients: the "good guys" and the "bad guys"
Macronutrients provide the body with energy and are therefore essential. However, there are valuable and less valuable energy suppliers . So let's take a closer look at the three basic nutrients carbohydrates, proteins and fats .
The effect of a carbohydrate-containing food is measured using the glycemic index (GI) . This indicates how quickly a food causes the blood sugar level to rise. Foods that cause blood sugar to rise quickly, i.e. that have a high glycemic index, are unhealthier than those that have a flatter blood sugar curve. We therefore distinguish:
1. Short-chain carbohydrates : wheat flour products, white rice, dried fruit, fruit juice, many mueslis, etc.
- Unhealthy because: blood sugar rises quickly, short-term feeling of satiety
2. Long-chain carbohydrates : potatoes, legumes, real whole wheat bread, oatmeal, etc.
- Healthy because: Flat blood sugar curve, keeps you full for longer
But how exactly does all this relate to the development of pimples? Studies show that there is a link between acne and fast carbohydrate intake. The higher the glycemic load (GL) , i.e. the consumed amount of food with a high glycemic index, the higher the probability of suffering from acne symptoms. So avoiding these types of carbs is the first step towards a breakout diet.
Proteins can also be divided into those that are more and those that are less beneficial in the fight against unwanted pimples. Basically we distinguish:
- Animal Proteins : Dairy products such as cheese, cottage cheese, skyr, cottage cheese, whey protein shakes, as well as meat, fish, and eggs
- Vegetable Proteins : Soybeans and tofu, beans, lentils, oatmeal, chickpeas, chia, amaranth, quinoa, peanuts, hemp seeds
Animal proteins have a higher bioavailability , so they are absorbed and processed by the body more quickly and to a greater extent. At the same time, proteins from dairy products have been shown to promote pimple growth, as they stimulate the insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in the body, which in turn stimulates sebum production and thus leads to clogged pores and pimples. Since we are advocates of a vegan lifestyle and prefer to eat plants instead of animals, we have one less problem to overcome when it comes to eating against pimples.
The good thing about proteins is that they keep you full for a long time, which is why they are a welcome alternative to our tendency to overconsume carbohydrates. But that doesn’t have to mean doing without: just swap the rice and wheat noodles for legumes and lentil pasta from time to time and bring your diet into balance. In general, make sure you have a balanced protein intake and combine different plant-based protein sources per meal , which increases bioavailability.
Fats are unhealthy and make you fat? Well, it's not that simple after all. Fats are not bad per se . Rather, it depends on the choice of the right fats. We now know that these can have a positive impact on health, especially in relation to an anti-inflammatory diet. And that's exactly what we need to get rid of those pesky pimples. We distinguish:
1. Unhealthy fats that increase cholesterol and should be kept to a minimum
- Saturated Fatty Acids: Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Animal Fats
- Trans fats : They are formed when fats harden and are found in ready meals, fast food, baked goods, snack foods. Trans fats can also form when frying in your own kitchen with unsuitable fats.
2. Healthy fats, which have a positive effect on our blood lipid levels and can reduce inflammation
- Monounsaturated Fatty Acids : Vegetable oils such as olive or canola oil
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids : linseed oil, walnut oil and hemp oil
The polyunsaturated fatty acids are divided into omega-3 and omega-6. Look for a balance between pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids , of which we tend to eat too little. Our body needs both, but the ratio has to be right. It is also important that healthy vegetable oils should not be heated . For frying, it is better to use fats that are specially declared for this in the supermarket.
In summary: The cornerstone of a healthy, pimple-free diet is carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, combined with vegetable proteins and healthy vegetable fats.
Micronutrients: The be-all and end-all
Let's now turn away from the macronutrients and towards the micronutrients, which make the utilization of the energy-rich macronutrients possible in the first place. In addition, they take on other vital functions in the body , but cannot be produced by the body itself. This happens exclusively through food, namely through the intake of vitamins (including vitamins A, B, C) , minerals (including calcium, magnesium) and trace elements (including iron and zinc).
All these and many other micronutrients, such as those found primarily in fresh, raw vegetables and fruit as well as in herbs , not only reduce pimples. They also help the skin to regenerate and protect itself faster. This is due to their antioxidant effect . Antioxidants keep free radicals at bay, which are responsible for oxidative stress , which accelerates skin aging and promotes skin problems. Did you know, for example, that the superfood tomato paste is a real antioxidant bomb thanks to the red plant pigment lycopene it contains ? A tablespoon of it and your daily requirement is covered!
🤓 If you want to learn more about oxidative stress and its effects, we recommend our blog post Antioxidants, free radicals and what they mean for your skin . In this article we explain the negative effects stress can have on your skin condition in general: How does stress affect my skin?
Always remember: Unbalanced eating habits cannot be compensated for by individual, healthy foods or even dietary supplements. A balanced, varied diet is important because, as we have known since Aristotle, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
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Skin care against pimples
With an anti-inflammatory diet and a healthy lifestyle with some exercise and little stress, we can make life difficult for pimples, but we will probably never get rid of them completely. And if the child has already fallen into the well, complaining is useless and quick solutions are needed.
Care routine for oily skin
Oily skin is more prone to blemishes, but aggressive cleansing is by no means the key to success. Rather, the oil and moisture balance must be brought back into balance. And it goes like this:
- In the morning , clean your face with lukewarm water only and then apply the oil-free, moisturizing FIVE Face Serum in combination with the FIVE Face Oil Balance .
- In the evening , wash your face with lukewarm water if you don't use makeup or sunscreen. Otherwise clean the skin with the make-up remover . Then apply the light FIVE facial serum for the night.
💡 As a reminder: With the Oil Cleansing Method you can gently remove dirt, sunscreen, make-up and excess sebum from your skin, which is why it is also suitable for oily skin.
Home remedies for pimples
For greasy facial skin that is prone to pimples, we would like to recommend the following two treatments, which gently remove excess sebum from your skin without drying it out too much:
- Chamomile steam bath frees the pores : fill a saucepan 2 fingers deep with water and bring to the boil. Then add a teaspoon of salt and a chamomile tea bag for a disinfecting effect. Then hold your face with a towel over it for about 10 minutes at a sufficient distance from the steam. Then rinse off with cold water and apply the FIVE facial serum to balance moisture.
- Purifying clay mask : Apply a green clay mask from a health food store or pharmacy to your face 2 to 3 times a week, then rinse with plenty of water.
😴 Tip before going to bed: Prepare yourself a liver-bile tea . It may sound a bit unsexy, but these two organs are responsible for detoxification and are stimulated by it. This is how the fight against pimples works while you are asleep.
And finally our top FIVE against pimples at a glance:
- There is no easy way. Beautiful, healthy skin takes work.
- Read, read, read. If you understand your skin and your body, you can react better to it.
- Anti-inflammatory diet for pimples. Lots of vegetables, fruits and foods with a low glycemic index, little to no animal products.
- Cleanse and care for the skin with the appropriate FIVE products.
- self care Relax, do yourself good and reduce stress.