I’ve suffered from acne pretty much since the moment I hit puberty. I always assumed that it was going to be something that I would grow out of once I stumbled out of my teen years. But now, as a 23-year-old, I cannot get it to go away. If anything, with the scarring from all of the acne I’ve had, it looks even worse. I had pretty much all but accepted that this was going to be my skin – acne-ridden and red forever. At least, that’s how I felt until I read The Complete Acne Health & Diet Guide by Dr. Makoto Trotter. 

When they say that The Complete Acne Health & Diet Guide is complete, they really do mean it. It provides the anatomy and psychology of acne – the how and the why of it – and tells you how to deal with the aftermath of scarring. And unlike most books on acne, Dr. Trotter not only explains what affects the skin and why, but also provides a diet plan that eliminates foods that harm the skin and cause breakouts.  The diet is also filled with low-glycemic, anti-acne foods that can be eaten all the time.

The author, Dr. Makoto Trotter, is a licensed naturopathic doctor with a special interest in digestion, hormones, and skin conditions. He has specialized in these areas for over a decade and is passionate about holistic medicine, which makes him an expert in the field of diet and acne. To understand exactly how and why acne happens, and how we can all prevent it, I spoke to Dr. Trotter:

  1. Skin always seems to react to one’s diet, especially someone who is prone to acne. What is it about food that causes breakouts?

Eating foods that disrupt our body’s natural rhythm and consequently cause “blips” in our natural metabolism lead to the development of acne. 

 Certain foods can trigger our body to over secrete hormones and increase inflammation as a compensatory response. Both of these reactions lead to the development of pimples. 

 In my book, we look at the foods that are the most likely culprits to contribute to breakouts and the mechanisms by which they can do this. There is a comprehensive vibrant skin diet program included to settle your flare ups once and for all. It helps you achieve clear skin without having to resort to medication that often have adverse effects and work temporarily. 

  1. What foods are going to help my skin, rather than hurt it?

 Foods that support clear skin are those that help to maintain stable blood sugars. Additionally, they contribute to reducing the inflammatory response in your body and at the same time improve hydration of your skin. 

 The ideal diet is comprised of whole unprocessed foods. You will also want to reduce your exposure to both sugars and dairy products, which are common triggers of acne. 

 Choose meals with ample protein, lots of vegetables and ensure that you have plenty of foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fats.

  1. So we’re keeping what we eat in check – what else can we do to help prevent acne?

Besides a healthy diet, we need to support our body’s natural balance by having a healthy lifestyle. Getting adequate sleep is often very underrated, but if we don’t it leads to the release of stress hormones, which contribute to acne. 

Keeping stress levels in check is also important; chronic stress can worsen the quality of your skin and lead to breakouts. Exercise is also paramount to normalizing hormones and has the bonus of improving your stress response. 

In my book, I devote a good portion of it to explaining how stresses and certain unhealthy emotions can lead to acne, and what you can do about it. 

Essentially, having balance in your diet and lifestyle creates balance in your internal health, which reflects on your skin. 

  1. Once we’ve seriously reduced our acne, there’s usually still some scarring. How do we help our skin recover from that?

Patients often ask me about treatment options for scarring while they still have active acne. The priority is to resolve the breakouts first because there is no point in treating existing scarring when new pimples will just lead to more new scars. Once the skin has settled then scarring can be addressed. 

 Acne can lead to discolored skin, which can be reduced by limiting sun exposure and protecting the skin with a good quality sunscreen. Topical vitamin E may help to some degree to help prevent scarring, but the most important variable is time. Given enough time, the skin turns over and pigmentation may normalize. 

 In situations where pigmentation does not even out or if there are scars that leave depressions in the skin, then resurfacing methods can be considered. Resurfacing can include topical retinoids, chemical peels, laser or light treatment. These essentially remove the top layers of the epidermis such that the younger skin underneath takes its place. This can helps with smoothening skin texture and evening skin tone. 

Dr. Trotter understands that sometimes your skin needs an extra little boost. With the cold winter months drying the skin and irritating it further, he’s shared his Soothing Oatmeal Mask, which you can make yourself at home! Try it out:

Soothing Oatmeal Mask

Oats help soothe irritated, itchy and inflamed skin because they contain colloidal proteins that hold water. Be sure you do not have an allergy to oats before using this mask.

  1. In a food processor, blend 1 cup (250 mL) organic oats to a fine powder.
  2. Transfer 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the oat powder to a clean bowl and slowly stir in enough warm water to make a smooth paste.
  3. Apply to clean skin and leave on for 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse off with warm water.
  5. Apply moisturizer.
  6. Store remaining powdered oats in an airtight container for future use.

clear skin

Courtesy of The Complete Acne Health & Diet Guide by Dr. Makoto Trotter © 2015 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.

To see more ways to take care of your beautiful skin, head to our Beauty page.

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What’s the healthiest thing you do for your skin?

Congratulations! You found one of the secret questions for our Wellness From the Inside Out giveaway! Answer in the comments section below for one entry to win this week’s prize. Then, make sure to keep searching our latest stories for more chances to win. PS: We’ll be posting hints about the stories containing our hidden questions on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter so don’t forget to follow us and check those feeds daily.

119 Responses

  1. Meenakshi Nichani

    Drink lots of water daily and always take off makeup. Regular exfoliating helps too!

    Reply
  2. Gaye McGill

    The healthiest thing I do for my skin is keep it clean with gentle soap or cleanser and moisturize.

    Reply
  3. Robert

    I shave my face. Many people don’t realize that shaving is an exfoliation process.

    Reply
  4. Carolsue

    I moisturize it a lot and I wear a big brimmed hat to keep the sun from damaging my skin

    Reply
  5. sandy weinstein

    wearing sunscreen everyday, even on cloudy days, washing my face everyday and night, using serums, eye cream, etc

    Reply
  6. Dorothea Collington

    Nothing really – I drink water and cleanse but, I know there’s so much more I should , could be doing.

    Reply
  7. adrienne z

    healthiest thing I do for my skin is to drink alot of water, moisturize as often as I can and I quit smoking. On day 21

    Reply
  8. Jo R.

    Due to health concerns I have a fairly strict regimen for early bedtime, moderation and portion control with foods, following the Canada Food Guide for Healthy Eating, regular exercise each day of at least 30 minutes per day. Keeping well hydrated, avoiding processed, artificial and infalammatory-inducing foods as well as little sodium. Whole foods, complex carbs over simple ones, sweet fruits over sugary foods and limited caffeine and alcohol round out what keeps me feeling energetic and young without blood sugar swings.

    Reply
  9. Lester Soper

    I work outside a lot so the healthiest thing I do is keep covered as much as possible.

    Reply
  10. vianetia jimenez

    the healthiest thing i do for my skin is drink lots of water. I dont really like juice or soda. I prefer to eat my calories rather than drink them so I always drink water with my meals.

    Reply
  11. Kat

    The healthiest thing I do for my skin is to drink water. Even if I’ve had a busy day I make sure to drink a full glass of water when I wake up and another when I go to bed.

    Reply
  12. Sonya

    I try to drink plenty of water, hydrate with rich moisturizers, and drown my skin in yummy face masks.

    Reply
  13. Heidi

    I drink a ton of water and never leave makeup on my face when I go to bed, and wash with a creamy cleanser.

    Reply
  14. Karen Kerr

    Being consistent with removing my make up, cleansing my face and moisturize.

    Reply
  15. Leah Allen

    I drink lots of water to detoxify and by sweating and flushing out the toxins in my body. I, also, take very good care of my skin by moisturizing and applying sunscreen all the time.

    Reply
  16. Randi C.

    I use an organic moisturizer with green tea, it calms my skin and my rosacea.

    Reply
  17. Ruth

    I wear a moisturizing sunscreen and use a hat, umbrella and sunglasses as appropriate

    Reply
  18. Julie

    Eating healthy! And getting a good night’s sleep always makes my skin look and feel more refreshed.

    Reply
  19. Brianna Beers

    I wash and moisturize my face every night before bed and drink plenty of water throughout the day

    Reply
  20. San

    I’d like to make a mask of turmeric , milk, lemon and rice flour . My face is glowing after that ( Indian secret)

    Reply
  21. Staci Z.

    I like to cleanse with Raw Honey, it has great antibacterial and antifungal properties.

    Reply
  22. Britney Kluhsman

    Never wear makeup to bed, use a good exfoliater, use a sun protector in my base foundation.

    Reply
  23. Carrie

    Moisturizing! I need to be better about some other aspects of taking care of my skin though. :/

    Reply
  24. Sharday L.

    The healthiest thing I do for my skin is moisturize, moisturize, moisturize, and I drink a lot of water.

    Reply
  25. Nicole Nigro Speyer

    Drink lots of water! Sunscreen, not smoking, and eating lots of fruits and vegetables are also great!

    Reply
  26. Laurie W.

    The healthiest thing I do for my skin is to stay well hydrated and to try to eat healthy.

    Reply
  27. Pam Flynn

    The healthies thing I do for my skin is to make sure I wash it nightly with a goats milk soap & then moisturize it with a light moisturizer.

    Reply
  28. Kirsten C

    The healthiest thing I do for my skin is to always make sure to wear serum and moisturizer!

    Reply
  29. HAYDEE DELGADO

    I follow a skincare regimen every day; I cleanse, tone, & moisturize. I drink lots of water & wear sunscreen.

    Reply
  30. Ann

    Its living healthy through a combination of healthy food, hydration, exercise and moderation in life.

    Reply
  31. Kelly

    Water, sleep, no alcohol, a thick moisturizer before bed, spf, and a healthy diet. It’s amazing the difference you see when you focus on what you’re putting in your body!

    Reply
  32. Ellie

    I wash my face every single night before I go to bed no matter how tired I am… I call it “washing off my day”.

    Reply
  33. Megan

    I have always had very sensitive skin, so I apply a sunscreen moisturizer and Vitamin C serum in the morning, and a gentle retinol at night. I’ve also found that eliminating dairy from my diet clears up my skin a lot.

    Reply
  34. Ashley B.

    I try to stay hydrated throughout the day. I also drink an apple cider vinegar, lemon juice & honey concoction once a day, I hear those are all good for your skin and body.

    Reply
  35. Sylvana B

    I make sure that I drink a lot of water, and do not put any harsh chemicals on my skin.

    Reply
  36. Jaime

    I’ve done two healthy things for my skin… I quit smoking and I protect my skin from the sun.

    Reply
  37. Jessica

    Water-that’s the healthiest thing I do for my skin. I drink A LOT of water.

    Reply
  38. Dana

    I get 8 hours of sleep a night. That gives my skin the necessary time to heal itself and I wake up without bags under my eyes which is always a huge plus

    Reply
  39. Heather Oswald

    Lots of water, sunscreen, remove eye makeup with coconut oil, and moisturize with a clean moisturizer.

    Reply
  40. Patricia

    I love to dry skin body brush.

    It benefits the whole body, not just the skin.

    Reply
  41. saegan anderson

    I drink about 80 oz of water a day, wash it morning and night, use toner, and moisturize.

    Reply
  42. Chelsea

    I am a total girly girl and have a ton of skin care products. But some of the healthiest things I DO for my skin is drink tons of water (including daily tea with lemon), take fish oil supplements and daily use of an aha moisturizer!

    Reply
  43. Dana L

    I drink A lot of water and go to the dermatologist at least once a month. and at home I exfoliate and moisturize.

    Reply
    • Carrie

      Doesoing to the dermatologist monthly benefit your regular skin regimen? What do they do for you monthly? Do you get skin treatments there like at a spa? Just curious. I go several times a year just to get prescriptions for my acne.

      Reply
  44. Christa

    I use sunscreen and I moisturize twice a day and drink plenty of water and a couple times a week I use a good body scrub.

    Reply
  45. patricia

    Using sunscreen is the healthiest thing I do for my skin. I wish I would have been smarter when I was younger!

    Reply
  46. Jennifer Essad

    aside from cleansing/moisturizing it’s using a mask that’s right for my skin at the time, of year. I benefit from a calming mask after all the stress from the holiday

    Reply
  47. Susan P.

    The healthiest thing I do for my skin is to eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water.

    Reply
  48. amy stonger

    I drink plenty of water each day and never go to sleep bed with my makeup on.

    Reply
  49. Adrienne V Williamson

    Lots and lots of water! Staying hydrated is essential for good skin!

    Reply

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