Should you eat an alkaline diet for acne? Why does it matter what you eat for your skin?
We’re going back to chemistry class for a bit to talk about your pH levels and how they relate to your health and skin. The pH of a substance tells you how acid or alkaline it is. This scale rates from 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. If it’s above 7 it’s alkaline and below 7 it’s acidic which as I go on you’ll learn that you want to avoid going below 7. Too much acid can lead to skin eruptions like acne, eczema, inflammations, other skin, and health issues.
The Ideal pH Our lovely bodies are meant to function within a very narrow pH range. We want our blood level to be slightly alkaline at 7.365. When the blood is too acidic, trouble begins to brew. If this imbalance is chronic, it leads to skin eruptions, heartburn, eczema, inflammation, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, and even cancer.
And unfortunately with our Standard American Diet, it is very easy for our bodies to slip into the not-so-fabulous acidic zone. When our bodies linger in the danger zone, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, yeast, and fungi. This links back to candida overgrowths which can be one of the main culprits of your skin issues.
Stop the Stress!
Not only does our diet affect our pH levels, but when we’re frequently stressed, not exercising, angry, popping prescriptions and over the counter medications, and smoking you can bet we’re acidic little ladies. Our lives can sometimes call for go-go-go without a moment to breathe. Stress releases acid-forming hormones called cortisol and adrenaline that inundate our bodies.
This isn’t so healthy for our gorgeous bodies. In addition to reducing our stress levels, eating an acid alkaline diet that is heavier on the alkaline will help counteract some of the stress craziness that is pumping through us.
Dangers of Imbalance:
Our body naturally produces acid as a byproduct of metabolism, but we cannot produce alkaline. So when we’re loading it up with acidic foods like coffee, soda, processed foods, milk, meat, sugar, and bread to name a few, it’s looking for some alkaline to neutralize it. If it doesn’t find it because we’re not fueling up on our greens, it uses alkaline from our cells and then those cells become acid and develop disease.
This imbalance in a very basic explanation causes issues to our organs and blood which creates an ideal environment for candida growth. This as a reminder leads to toxicity that erupts through our skin in the form of acne, eczema, and rashes.
Foods That Make You Acidic:
Now that you understand the importance of eating an acid alkaline diet to maintain the delicate pH balance, I’m sure you want to know acidic foods to avoid and the alkaline ones to indulge in.
Since it’s nearly impossible to eat perfectly alkaline, a good rule of thumb is to aim for 80% alkaline foods to 20% acidic foods.
Here are items to put into your 20% bucket: alcohol, animal protein, coffee, black tea, soda, energy/sports drinks, processed foods, honey, corn syrup, white & brown sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed soy products, refined grains, white bread, white pasta, table salt, salted nuts, vinegar, soy sauce, and stress.
Foods That Make You Alkaline:
Now onto the good stuff! Aim for making 80% of your diet these fantastic alkalizing foods: alkaline water, almonds, brazil nuts, flax seeds, avocados, garlic, green juices, raw green veggies, lemons, grapefruit, miso, raw tomatoes, root veggies, seaweed, sprouts, watermelon, moderate amounts of grains: quinoa, wild rice, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, and relaxation.
Reasons to Eat an Alkaline Diet for Acne
- Nutrition and what you eat or don’t eat affects your acne.
- When the body is acidic, it can grow all kinds of fun things like yeast, fungus, and bacteria.
- Acid-forming hormones are created by stress, so stress can affect the alkalinity of the body.
- Lack of alkaline foods in the Standard American Diet contributes to the balance in the body between acid and alkaline.
- With all of the foods out there like sodas, processed foods, sugar, milk that are acidic, the body is craving something from the alkaline side to keep it balanced. When the body is always eating acidic foods, it just leads to all kinds of skin problems, including acne, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin eruptions.
When clients start to avoid foods that are causing chaos in the digestive system and the skin, they start to see fewer skin problems. The bumps start to go away and the body starts to balance out. No kidding.
Real-Life Examples of Clients Who Changed to Alkaline Diets for Acne
Client #1: Fabulous Massage therapist who ate vegan, but consumed large amounts of dairy and sugar. Was convinced that her acne around her jawline was from her yoga mat. Her skincare products were terrible. We recommended a simple routine with the Organic Beta Cleanser and the Micro-Crystal Polish. Her acne manifested itself as large blackheads that would turn into pustules and scarring was starting. After peels, extractions, and a series of treatments, the skin was much better, but she was still having problems. Repeatedly we recommended avoiding sugar and dairy. She slowed the sugar but kept the dairy. Finally a trip to Mexico and a yoga retreat where they only served organic almond milk, the light bulb came on. She came bursting through the spa door to exclaim, look at my skin, it’s glowing and flawless.
Client #2: Busy executive mom of one, this client has suffered for years with skin problems. She doesn’t have to be convinced to give up sugar or dairy. She pops in regularly after cheating to exclaim, “two days ago, I drank coffee with sugar and cream, now just look at those big ones”. We help keep her skin exfoliated and extracted so that the toxins don’t create more bacteria in the body.
The Perfect Alkaline Diets for Acne
It’s impossible to eat alkaline totally and everything is always 80/20. It’s okay to eat acidic foods, but if you want glowing skin, keep it to a minimum. When you are thinking about acidic vs alkaline foods, also think about the glycemic index of the food. How much sugar will that food create in your body?
The good foods for acne include nuts, seeds, green vegetables, beans, low glycemic grains, and proteins like quinoa. Keep your fruits to a minimum until your body starts to balance out. The better fruits include berries, apples, and darker fruits. Avoid high sugar, white carbohydrates, dairy, sodas, and any processed food.
Eating an alkaline diet for acne can not only give you gorgeous skin, but it will make you healthier on the inside (where it really counts). Eat your veggies!
How to Test Your pH
If you want to get to know your body on this pHabulous level, purchase some litmus paper strips online or in a vitamin shop, and conduct a little experiment.
You’ll have to pee on the strips and compare them to the chart included. Conduct the tests over several days to get an overall idea of where you stand as levels can fluctuate very quickly based on what you ate, when you ate, etc.
In the morning test your second pee of the day and ideally before meals or 1-2 hours afterward. If you’re at 6-6.5 in the morning and 6.5-7 in the evening, your body is within the healthy range. Between meals, it should be around 7.0-8.5.
It is ok to consume acidic foods, but you want to keep it to 20% of your diet. As Americans, we are consuming way more acidic foods than alkaline. Fill your plate with alkaline foods for a happy, healthy body and glowing clear skin.