the skincare pharmD

Try the Ketogenic Diet for Healthy Skin

health, skin carethe skincare pharmDComment

I’ve been following the ketogenic diet for the past several months and I must say that my skin is looking better than I’ve ever seen it!

I haven’t had any acne breakouts (besides the one or two blemishes that I get during PMS) and I’ve noticed a glow to my complexion that I’ve never been able to achieve before. At first, I didn’t even realize that my new style of eating was contributing to my healthy, vibrant skin. Since I haven’t changed anything with my skincare routine, however, I knew the ketogenic diet was the reason behind my improved complexion.

If you want to learn more about how to try the ketogenic diet for healthy skin, keep reading below.

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What is the ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet involves following a low carb, high fat diet in order to shift the body from a sugar burning state to a fat burning state. According to Diet Doctor, the “keto” in a ketogenic diet comes from the fact that this style of eating leads the body to produce ketones as its fuel source, which will put the body into a state of ketosis.

When people follow the standard American diet (high carb, low fat), the body depends on glucose (blood sugar) for fuel. The problem with this style of eating, however, is that excess amounts of glucose in the blood signal to the pancreas to release insulin. Subsequently, insulin signals for the body to store glucose in the form of fat. Yes, that’s right, carbs and sugar are what cause you to get fat! 

 

Therefore, one of the many benefits of the ketogenic diet is fat reduction and weight loss. Additional benefits of the ketogenic diet include:

  • Decreased brain fog
  • Higher energy level
  • Improved hormone balance
  • May decrease risk of cancer
  • And many more!

 

Now that you know the basics of the ketogenic diet, let’s dive into one of my favorite benefits of this style of eating: healthy skin!

 

The benefits of cutting out carbs and sugar

The ketogenic diet can give you healthy skin by helping with acne symptoms.

There are several factors that contribute to the formation of acne, one being consumption of high glycemic index foods (bread, soda, cake, pasta, rice, etc.) These types of foods have a negative impact on your skin because they cause major spikes in blood glucose levels, which leads to insulin secretion. Studies have found that insulin can increase sebum production as well as lead to the colonization of the stratum corneum by Propionibacterium acnes (the bacteria that causes acne). Both of these insulin-mediated actions lead to inflammation and blemishes.

 

According to a review published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, evidence from several studies reports that the prevalence of acne varies significantly between different populations and is substantially lower in non-Westernized populations that follow traditional diets, a common factor among these traditional diets being a low glycemic load.

 

While the evidence is not yet conclusive, cutting out sugar and carbs by following the ketogenic diet could improve your acne symptoms.

 

The benefits of including healthy fats

Healthy skin needs healthy fats. Period.

Specifically, the skin needs essential fatty acids (EFAs) like omega-3 fatty acids. These are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes and also help produce the skin's natural oil barrier, which is critical in keeping skin hydrated, plumper, and younger looking. According to WebMD, if you're not getting enough EFAs in your diet, your skin may be dry, inflamed, and prone to whiteheads and blackheads.

The good news is that the ketogenic diet encourages eating a lot of fat. Examples of foods that are full of healthy fats include the following:

  • Avocados
  • Fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, herring)
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Animal fats (butter, eggs, meat, etc.)

If you want to add even more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet you could also take a fish oil or krill oil supplement. According to the Bulletproof blog, krill oil is superior to fish oil because because the polyunsaturated fats are packaged as phospholipids, which can be used immediately by your body. The healthy fats in fish oil, on the other hand, are typically packaged as triglycerides and have to undergo additional processing in order to make them bioavailable.

I take this krill oil supplement to ensure that I'm getting enough omega-3 fatty acids! (Amazon, $16.98)

Increasing your intake of healthy fats can help to give your skin a more youthful look!

The benefits of eating your veggies

Low carb vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, kale, spinach, etc., are permitted while following the ketogenic diet. The bonus to eating these types of veggies is healthy skin!

 

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Specifically, deeply colored vegetables and low fructose citrus fruits can help to give you glowing skin due to their vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, the protein that keeps your skin looking firm and young. Additionally, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect your skin from free radicals that your skin is exposed to during the day, such as too much sun exposure, environmental toxins, etc.

The benefits of drinking Bulletproof coffee

Bulletproof coffee is a staple of my ketogenic diet. I drink a cup (or two!) every single morning. If you’re not familiar with Bulletproof coffee, it’s coffee with grass-fed butter + Brain Octane Oil blended together to make a delicious drink that gives you a boost of energy and staves off hunger for hours.

 Image via  Bulletproof

Image via Bulletproof

 

So how does including Bulletproof coffee in my ketogenic diet improve my complexion? In addition to the healthy fats that are found in grass-fed butter and Brain Octane Oil, the caffeine in coffee improves skin health by reducing inflammation, boosting circulation to the skin, repairing DNA, soothing sun damage, and reducing redness from irritation.

 

Try the Ketogenic Diet for Healthy Skin

Trying the ketogenic diet has honestly been the best thing I’ve ever done for my health. As I said, the stable energy all day long is what really got me hooked, but seeing improvements in my complexion is an exciting bonus! In my opinion as a skincare addict and pharmacist, I would definitely recommend trying the ketogenic diet for healthy skin!