For many, oily skin is a fact of life, and there's not a whole lot you can do about it, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. While the evidence is fairly new, eating certain types of foods and avoiding others may help reduce oil production, which may help reduce blemishes. Consult your doctor to discuss how diet affects your skin.
The glycemic index is a tool that measures how carbohydrate-containing foods affect blood sugar. According to a 2015 article published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, high-glycemic carbs, such as white bread and cornflakes, may have an effect on the hormones that increase oil production. To help reduce oil production, you may want to fill your diet with more low-glycemic carbs such as 100 percent whole-grain bread and pasta, oatmeal, whole grains, sweet potatoes, beans and fruit.
The 2015 Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology article also reports that dairy foods, including milk and yogurt, increase the production of hormones that cause oily skin. Dairy foods supply your body with calcium, which is important for bone health. If you're worried about oily skin, you can use fortified plant-milk alternatives as a replacement for cow's milk to help your body get the nutrients it needs for your bones, but with less of an effect on your skin. Good options include soy milk, almond milk and rice milk.
You may also be able to reduce skin oil production by replacing unhealthy saturated fat, which is found in whole milk and fatty meat, and trans fat, which is found in fried and highly processed foods, with healthy omega-3 fats. Foods rich in omega-3 fats include salmon, tuna, herring, walnuts, soy foods, flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds. In addition to helping reduce your oily skin, including more omega-3-rich foods in your diet is also good for your heart.
Tips and Suggestions
There are a number of ways you can incorporate these foods into your diet to help improve the look and feel of your skin. At breakfast, enjoy a bowl of oatmeal made with almond milk and topped with walnuts for a low-glycemic, dairy-free meal that's high in omega-3 fats. A lunch that's good for your skin might include mixed greens topped with tuna and chickpeas with fresh fruit and a container of soy yogurt. A tofu stir-fry served with quinoa is a healthy and nutrient-rich dinner.