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Is acne genetic and can nutrition help?

Bad genes don't mean you'll get Acne

Our genes are responsible for about 10% of our actual health. Most of it is environmental. By environmental read lifestyle, exercise, diet, all of which can turn genes on and off. 

So having a bad gene for acne doesn’t mean you will get acne. And people who have genes for acne may not have acne as their lifestyle may have not turned it on. They may pass the gene down to someone whose lifestyle is activating the acne gene through lifestyle, pollution, bad diet, lack of antioxidants in the diet, stress etc. Epigenetics is the term for how the environment interacts with your genes and the outcome to your health as a result.

People can get acne at any age not just puberty. 80% of people between the age of 11 and 30 are affected by acne at some point. There are natural hormonal changes that seem to impact acne like pregnancy or menopause, but also some people have a lifelong acne problem which may relate to their lifestyle and environment.  

Diet and ensuring the right level of essential vitamin and nutrients are important. Even a small change can make a difference. We know that excess sebum (oil) and thickening of the skin contribute to problem skin together with bacteria infections on the surface. Hormonal changes and stress contribute to increased production of sebum. We know that vitamin A can help to balance sebum as well as improving the texture of the skin. Vitamin C and E support immunity. Research conducted in 2016 found that people who suffered with acne had lower plasma concentrations of vitamins A and E than people without acne; and subjects with severe acne had significantly lower concentrations of vitamin A and E.

Vitamin A is crucial and can be found in foods such as liver, salmon and cod liver oil. Look for Vitamin E rich foods include sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, avocados, squash, kiwifruit, trout, olive oil, and broccoli. Just increasing a daily intake of Oily fish, cruciferous vegetables and fermented foods can make a difference.

Do not get hung up on how you prepare this nutrient rich, skin food.

If you don’t like raw vegetables then have it cooked.  If you say have it raw people walk away and they won’t have cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli at all. The more barriers you put on food the less people will eat well. “Oh you can’t have tinned beans”; yes you can have tinned beans. “Oh I only buy dried beans” but how many times you eat them, never. Then why not buy tinned beans,  - “oh but they aren’t as good as the dry ones”.  Listen up, they’re better if you put them in your mouth. 

Cooked, steamed, dipped in hummus, half raw, whatever makes you eat those foods that are beneficial to boosting the essential nutrients and vitamins needed to fight problematic skin. Some vegetables are better cooked, tomatoes, carrots release their nutrients more.  There are certain vegetables that are better cooked, and easier for the body to extract the nutrients. So raw isn’t always great, in fact a lot of people really struggle to eat raw vegetables as don’t they have enough enzymes to break them down.

Remember fats that are in oily fish are the kind of fats that actually balance out the skin’s oils. Interestingly when people increase their oily fish consumption they find that the natural sebum consistency changes to become lighter and contribute to more glowing and moisturising properties.

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