Acne has always been my nemesis. I spent the best years of my life not knowing what would make it wake up and ruin my skin for another fortnight. I stumbled from one supposed cure to another like a drunk straight out of a pub. Nothing in the medical world has ever worked for me; instead, I was left with dry, sensitive, and red skin that still had acne. Finally, enough was enough, and I decided to cure my acne naturally and on my own; this way, I could see firsthand what was working and what wasn't.
First, I stopped all medical treatments for acne. Despite what all the dermatologists I had been to had told me, about there being no connection between diet and acne, it seemed rather implausible to me that what I ate had no impact on my body. After some initial research, I decided to stop eating all artificial forms of sugar. What I found out by doing this shocked me, as within two weeks my skin cleared up. After almost 20 years of fighting acne with antibiotics and medicated ointments, which in the process had ruined my skin and body, here was a small change that had actually helped make a difference. Inspired by my success, I decided to help my skin heal with food. The secret to clear, glowing skin, which had seemed so elusive to me, was in my kitchen.
Now, for me, food is one of life's pleasures, so rather than restrict my diet, I decided to look into the power of specific spices and fresh produce to help clear up my skin. I live in India, the land where spices are used to enhance everyday meals and also as a medicine. I have seen firsthand how ginger and pepper are used liberally to shorten the duration of a cold and how cumin tea soothes tummy cramps. These home remedies give better results than any commercially available cure without any side effects. I was sure I could find similar cures for my acne.
Acne is a sign of inflammation in the body. People with acne have high levels of inflammation while their antioxidant levels are low. To put it simply, anyone having acne should try to reduce their inflammation levels while trying to increase the antioxidant levels in their body. There are a lot of specific foods and spices that can help with this, but here are the three things from my kitchen that do it rather well. They helped not only clear my acne but brighten my skin tone and smoothen my skin.
This is one of the key ingredients in Oriental cooking. Being Indian, this one was a staple in my kitchen. Ginger is a powerful antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory agent. Anyone having a cold is generally offered a steaming cup of ginger tea, but even on a regular day, tea in most Indian homes is spiced up with ginger. This provides comfort equally well on a hot summer day as a cold winter one.
How to use it: Add julienned ginger to stir fries and soups, or crush some and add it to your tea. The way it is made in India is grated ginger is added to water, which is then boiled and simmered for a minute before adding loose tea leaves.
Like ginger, turmeric is anti-inflammatory as well as a powerful antioxidant. Some women in India use a turmeric face pack every day, which keeps their skin clear and also acts as a natural sunscreen. However, these face packs leave a yellow stain on the skin, so I use turmeric generously in my food.
How to use it: Turmeric is an essential ingredient in most curries, but it can also be added to chicken and vegetable soups. Another way is to just add a quarter teaspoon to a glass of hot water along with a little salt and drink up.
Lemons are a rich source of vitamin C and a water-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin C plays a big role in the health of your skin. It promotes faster healing and improves the appearance of your skin. Vitamin C also helps reduce the dryness of skin. If you are suffering from cystic acne, which takes a long time to heal, drinking lemon water when you have bad breakouts helps you heal much faster.
How to use it: Lemons are very versatile, and the juice can be used as a dressing in salads and can be drizzled over cooked meat or fish. Alternatively, you can add the juice to a cup of water and drink it.
After years of trying out so many things for clear and beautiful skin, I now know that all it takes is a few tweaks to my diet. Try including these three ingredients in your diet, and I'm sure it will work wonders for you, too.
Here's a green smoothie that uses all the above three ingredients and helps a lot in keeping your skin clear, smooth, and above all, hydrated.
- 1 cup coconut water or plain water
- Handful of either spinach, parsley, cilantro, or mint or a teaspoon of wheatgrass powder
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 inch ginger
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
Blend all the above and drink. You need to drink this smoothie at least three times a week for a month to see an improvement in your acne.