The essentials for spot-free skin
Call it what you want: acne, spots, blemishes – no matter what type it is or how regularly or infrequently you suffer from it, not having clear skin can send your confidence plummeting.
There is an endless list of things to avoid that supposedly set off a breakout, and I’ve discussed some of them here, but what about being proactive and preventing a flare-up before it even begins? I’ve tried everything and anything that has a proven or not-so-proven effect on your skin, and I’ve whittled the vital nutrients down to 3 simple supplements that can help prevent every type of blemish crisis.
Specifically formulated to target acne, this supplement from Advanced Nutrition contains a very significant ingredient called DIM (diindolylmethane – and no, I don’t know where to even begin pronouncing that, so we’ll stick with the abbreviation). DIM is a compound derived from the digestion of indole-3-carbinol, which is found in broccoli, sprouts, kale and the like. The healthy reputation these foods enjoy is due in part to DIM. This compound helps to balance hormones, a leading factor in acne – and therefore may be a solution to acne that responds well to the pill, without the side effects associated with Dianette etc. Skin Accumax is a bit on the pricey side, and needs to be taken for a couple of months to see the results – but apparently the dose (and related cost) can then be reduced to a maintenance amount. I am 3 months in and really see a difference – the only thing so far that compares to the pill. You can buy it online or pick it up in my favourite facial spot in Dublin, Nu Essence.
One of my favourite recommendations when dealing with any kind of skin upset, chlorophyll is worth its weight in gold when it comes to detoxing, dealing with a hangover and clearing up general skin rage. Chlorophyll is the green pigment in plants and can do all kinds of wonderful things. It has been touted as a remedy for everything from body odour to constipation and is a potent anti-oxidant. I don’t know about all of it’s supposed benefits, but from personal experience it keeps my skin on the straight and narrow, even if I have a wobbly weekend (hello Electric Picnic) and it helped with jet lag when I lived in Australia. A daily glass of green water – 1 teaspoon of liquid chlorophyll diluted in water – can give you an extra dose of vegetables and support the removal of toxins. Eliminating toxins more quickly = bye bye acne/hangover/post holiday bloating asap! You’re looking for a preservative free formulation, and low strength (200mg/ml) as the higher strengths taste disgusting and can stain your teeth. Some brands will have spearmint oil, alfalfa extract and vegetable oil, which are all fine. Nature’s Sunshine is my favourite brand, but have used Dynamic Health’s high strength diluted down more when I’m stuck. Nourish on Wicklow Street is usually a good bet, but ring ahead just in case as they may have to order it in.
Zinc plays a part in hormone balance and regulates oil gland activity – therefore it is an essential nutrient for clear skin. Studies have shown that people with acne tend to also have a zinc deficiency. The type of zinc supplement you buy can have a big impact on how well it works. Zinc picinolate is one of the most bioactive (read: most easily absorbed) forms available, and zinc sulphate also has some research to support it when it comes to treating acne. You do also need to make sure the zinc you’re taking is of good quality – Solgar and Viridian are two of the brands I use regularly for supplements – as otherwise you’re wasting your money completely. NOTE: check with you doctor if you are taking any medication or have a copper deficiency before taking any supplements.
I’ve had great success with adding the above to my diet, have you tried any of them? Or if you have any other beautifying supplements please let me know in the comments below!