Juicing for acne can seem like a long-shot, especially if you’re struggling with problematic skin that you want a solution for NOW. But as frustrating as it is, taking a more holistic approach to getting rid of acne is the best way to keep your skin pimple-free in the long run.
Does Juicing for Acne Work?
We’ve come so far. We’ve sent men (and women) to the moon, made an HIV prevention pill, and we might even have discovered the Higgs boson. But somehow we still don’t know the exact cause of acne.
We all have ideas, of course – keep your skin clean, your pores clean, don’t pick your skin, don’t stress yourself, avoid irritating soaps and skin products, drink more water, balance your hormones…so many suggestions, but no one can peg exactly what it is that causes these miserable little buggers to wreak havoc on your face.
And while all of those suggestions are good, the biggest one may just be what you feed your body on a daily basis.
Although there’s no real scientific study definitely proving the link between diet and acne, I don’t think I’m the only person to attest to such a link. When it comes to acne, I think the cure has more to do with what you put in your body than what you put on it.
A diet full of nature’s best foods – leafy green veggies, brightly colored veggies, seeds, fish, nuts, whole grains, etc. – is the best acne medicine you can give your body.
As Hippocrates famously said, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food!”
The only downside is that many of us don’t have the time to prepare, cook, and consume awesomely-nutritious meals on a regular basis. This is where juicing comes in.
You can juice more veggies and other good stuff than you can consume in one time, allowing your body to get a potent dose of the nutrients it needs without much time or effort. All of us already know that we should eat healthier, but it takes effort.
That’s why I love juicing so much. Since it’s so easy – you’ll actually DO it, which is the most important part.
My Juicing for Acne Journey
I personally started getting acne in my twenties, which was devastating since I’d had clear skin my entire life and had no idea what to do.
It continued for a few years and I tried absolutely everything to try to make it go away: antibiotics (didn’t work), Differin (didn’t work), Proactiv (didn’t work and severely dried out my skin), Accutane (worked like a charm but acne came back in a year), Retin-A cream (works well to control occasional breakouts as well as for fine lines – I still keep a tube handy).
After I’d exhausted my fix-it-quick options, I turned toward where the problem may actually lie – my lifestyle. Thanks to acne, I realized that for many of us who suffer from breakouts (or other health problems) – the cause is mostly internal and seeking an external fix may work (i.e. Accutane) but it’s temporary and ultimately, not worth the toll on the rest of our body (IMHO).
Nowadays, my acne solution lies almost completely with what I put in my body rather than what I put on it. There are foods I’ve started eating regularly to keep acne away (i.e. kelp, avocado, beetroot).
And since I don’t have the time to always prepare dishes out of these foods and eat them, I blend and juice them.
I’m happy to say I don’t have acne anymore, although I still get occasional breakouts of 3 – 5 pimples (they travel in groups, those buggers) around my period and when I’m stressed and/or haven’t slept much.
As soon as I feel the breakouts coming now, I immediately start juicing for acne and it really, really helps.
What I’ve found is that there are certain nutrients that work on your behalf to target the pesky acne and incorporating them into your daily diet works better than anything else I’ve tried.
There’s no science behind this – yet – but I know from experience that certain foods definitely help acne. If you want to try juicing for acne or just for simple breakouts yourself, check out the juicing for acne essentials as well as the juice recipes for acne below. You’ll never know whether or not it works for you until you give it a try!
What You Need to Be Juicing for Acne
Giving your body its daily servings of various vitamins and minerals is best, but when it comes to acne – certain nutrients might help more than others. Here are the best to include in your juice recipes for acne.
Vitamin A is a retinoid that is used to high concentration in some of the most effective acne treatments, such as Retin-A and Accutane. Taking Vitamin A supplements is also helpful, but I much prefer getting Vitamin A through fruits and veggies, since you can’t overdose on the Vitamin A from plants.
The Vitamin A we get through plants are called carotenoids and they’re converted by your body into Vitamin A. This conversion slows down automatically when your body stores are full, eliminating the risk of overdosing on Vitamin A.
Foods with high Vitamin A content include: Sweet potatoes; Carrots; Dark, leafy greens; Butternut Squash; Cantaloupe; Papaya; Red Bell Peppers, Peaches
Here’s a juice recipe super high in Vitamin A…
Vitamin C fights acne by rejuvenating your skin and helping it to form a barrier against blemish-causing toxins. It helps protect your body from free radicals, including the bacteria and environmental toxins that are the root cause of acne.
It also reduces the inflammation and redness associated with acne and as mentioned above, this vitamin plays an integral role in collagen formation, helping to prevent acne scars before they happen (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, yea?)
Foods that are rich in Vitamin C include: yellow bell peppers, guavas, dark leafy veggies, kiwi fruit, broccoli, strawberries and citrus fruit.
Magnesium can help to combat acne in several ways. This essential mineral is crucial for hormonal balance and helps to relieve stress, both of which are significant causes of acne. In addition, magnesium has been proven to reduce inflammation and prevent further acne developing.
To add a dose of magnesium to your juices, add fruits and veggies such as artichokes, figs, bananas, and dark leafy green vegetables.
Acne has been referred to “skin diabetes” because like diabetics, some acne patients do not metabolize sugar correctly. This sort of insulin resistance happens when the hormone insulin is no longer effective in lowering blood sugar.
Insulin is made by the pancreas to help the cells in our body absorb glucose in the blood and convert it to energy. When you’re insulin resistant, these cells become insensitive to insulin and don’t admit the glucose into your blood, which results in glucose floating around in the blood stream. Since the hormone insulin is ineffective, the pancrease produces more and more of the hormone to compensate.
These heightened insulin levels in your blood cause a hormonal response that make your skin’s oil glands work overtime to produce sebum. At the same time, these hormones also promote faster shedding of skin cells, which result sin more dead skin blocking your pores. Result: acne and more acne.
This is especially not helpful is you eat a diet high in carbohydates, which spikes your blood sugar levels, which in turn spikes your insulin levels, and so on.
Chromium helps improve insulin sensitivity and maintain normal blood sugar and insulin levels. This could be an especially helpful addition to those suffering from adult acne.
Foods high in chromium content include: Sweet potato, Tomato, Spinach, Broccoli, Onion, Garlic, Green peppers, Beets, Apples, Bananas.
Zinc is a metallic mineral and an essential micronutrient that is really helpful for getting rid of acne. A few studies have shown a link between zinc deficiency and acne sufferers and if you’re an acne sufferer yourself, it’s worth checking out if it might stem from a zinc deficiency.
Meat, dairy, and certain types of seafood are high in zinc so if you are a vegetarian or vegan, it makes sense to increase your intake of zinc-rich foods from plant sources such as toasted wheat germ, a cup of which provides 126% of your daily requirement.
You can get toasted wheat germ on Amazon and simply toss it into whatever smoothie you’re blending for an instant zinc fix.
Your body needs zinc on a daily basis, but it can’t produce or store a supply of its own so it is important that you get zinc through foods on a daily basis. The recommended daily dose is 11 mg for adult men and 8 mg for adult women. I strongly recommend meeting a little more than this dose through zinc-rich foods, since it is unlikely you’ll overdose on zinc from eating foods.
Most people who suffer from zinc toxicity have consumed high levels of zinc through supplements or contaminated food, not from eating foods that naturally contain zinc, notes the Linus Pauling Institute.
Foods with high zinc content include: Oysters, Beef, Nuts, Beans, Toasted wheat germs, Seeds from watermelon, pumpkin, and squash.
For some people, applying Vitamin E directly onto acne-prone skin works. I don’t recommend this. Instead, Vitamin E should be taken internally.
Vitamin E is already one of the famous “skin vitamins” – an antioxidant known to flush toxins from your body and combat free radicals that damage and age your skin. It’s also a great healing agent and helpful for helping heal acne scars.
Studies have also shown that taking oral Vitamin E supplement improves acne. For example, there was a study conducted in 2006 and published in “Clinical and Experiment Dermatology” that tested 100 acne sufferers to find that they all had low levels of Vitamins A and E.
Taking these two vitamins in supplement form improved the acne, so it’s not entirely clear if the clearing up of acne was due to the Vitamin A, Vitamin E, or the two of them combined
Either way, if you’re juicing for acne (or acne scars), I recommend making sure you get enough of both of these vitamins.
Here are some foods high in Vitamin E: Peanuts, Wheat germ (again!), Bell peppers, Kiwi, Broccoli, Avocados.
Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is quite possibly the easiest nutrient to get. You don’t need to buy it, you don’t need to eat it, and you don’t need to drink it. Your body can make all the Vitamin D it needs for a few days in around 15 minutes of sun exposure. Which makes it kind of funny that the majority of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D – do we really not get out so much?!
Vitamin D is helpful for acne since it helps control your insulin response and is also helpful in fighting inflammation. It also serve as an immune system booster, making it easier to fight off acne bacteria, and it’s known to improve your mood – which is also important for acne.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are simply “good fats” that your body needs to perform optimally. It seems a little counter-intuitive to be giving your body oily fats to combat acne, but the truth is: These are generally good for you and they’re great for your skin.
Your body can’t make EFAs so it’s important that you get enough through your diet. There are 2 main families of EFAs: Omega-3 (from Linolenic Acid) and Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid). Omega-9 (from Oleic Acid) is necessary too, but your body can manufacture some on its own, as long as the other Omegas are present.
As it stands, EFA deficiency tends to be common in the US – especially Omega-3 deficiency – so if you’re not really sure you’re getting enough EFAs, try adding some more into your daily diet. The minimum healthy daily intake for both Omega-3s and Omega-6s via diet is 1.5 of each. Just one tablespoon of flaxseed oil provides this amount. Simply add a tablespoon into any smoothie for your daily EFA fix!
Food high in Essential Fatty Acids: Walnuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Avocados, Kale, Spinach, Mustard Greens.
**Note that high heat destroys linolenic acid so cooking in linolenic-rich oils or eating cooked linolenic-rich fish won’t provide a sufficient amount of EFAs.
6 Best Juice Recipes for Acne
Simply getting your daily servings of various vitamins and minerals is great for your skin – and overall health – in general. But when it comes to acne, there are a few vitamins and minerals that especially help keep acne at bay. The best way to get them on a daily basis? Via juice recipes for acne that combine those essential acne-fighting vitamins and minerals.
The juice recipes for acne below all have ample amounts of these vital vitamins and minerals – simply mix and match and drink for clearer skin!
Spicy Sweet Potato
This fiery juice recipe is absolutely perfect when you’re juicing for acne. The Spicy Sweet Potato is exactly what it sounds like: sweet potato with a bit of spicy zing from ginger. Both sweet potatoes and carrots are chock full of acne-fighting Vitamin A: Just ONE medium-sized sweet potato is 438% of your daily requirement.
These yummy tubers are also bursting with nutritious phytochemicals that have been shown to be effective in fighting cancer and have great immune-boosting properties. Carrots also hold their own in terms of Vitamin A content: one medium-sized carrot provides about 204% of your daily Vitamin A requirement.
Add a dash of cinnamon for extra spice!
Sweet Potato Cleanse
Here’s another juice recipe for acne featuring sweet potato and a bit of zing – but this time, the spicy zing comes from turmeric, which contains a compound called curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that’s been shown to have anti-bacterial effects even against the p. acnes bacteria. One study even found it to be 36 times stronger than azelaic acid!
Of course, that’s not all this juice recipe is packing – it’s got a whole lot of Vitamin A as well as heaps of minerals and cleansing prowess. On top of all that, it even tastes good 🙂
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 medium sweet potato (about 2 cups worth)
- 2 inches turmeric root
- 3 large carrots
- 1 medium cucumber
- 4 celery stalks
- 1 lemon
Quick tip: Juice the turmeric root and lemon first so you can use the harder, bigger produce to push everything through!
The Kale Whale
The Kale Whale packs a powerful nutrient punch, with kale and carrots for an intense dose of Vitamin A and an apple for a little bit of sweetness and a whole medley of vitamins.
Remember to leave the peel of your apple and cucumber on to take advantage of the important minerals (calcium, potassium, phosphorus, folate and iron as well as antioxidants Vitamins A and C) in apple peels, as well as the silica, potassium, and magnesium in cucumber peels!
Tart Green Juice
Here’s a super simple green juice you can whip up to fight acne – and there’s no excuses to not do it since it’s only 3 ingredients:
- 1/2 large cucumber
- 4 large stalks organic kale
- 1/2 lemon
Yes, there’s no real sweetness in this but it’s the perfect juice to sip on throughout your day since it’s very, very low in calories and very, very cleansing. And no worries about it being too strong from the lemon or kale since the cucumber waters it down nicely. If it’s still too much for you, feel free to add in some water or coconut water.
Coco Splash is not only absolutely delicious – it’s great for acne. Cantaloupe is a fantastic source of Vitamin A, providing 68% of your daily Vitamin A requirement per every 100g serving.
Coconut water is refreshing and wonderfully nourishing, containing a variety of both macro and micro elements, such as potassium, natirum, calcium, magnesium, iron, cuprum, phophorus, and sulfur.
Green Lemonade is a veggie take on a classic juice and one that’s fantastic when you’re juicing for acne. The cucumbers serve as a great, refreshing base full of silica and other nutrients and the kale provides a powerful dose of Vitamin A as well as Vitamin B2 that is great for decreasing stress (stress = more acne).
Lemons, of course, are chock full of Vitamin C – another “skin vitamin” to help your skin clear itself!