Foods To Soothe Your Break Out
As Sakara founder and co-CEO Whitney Tingle has learned over the course of her own skincare journey, there’s no mantra to repeat, prescription to lean on, or quick fix for magically resolving skin woes. After years of battling not only cystic acne, but the misconceptions and toxic treatments that went along with it, there’s one skincare fact she holds most true: a glowy, dewy complexion starts from within.
“Whether it’s long-term chronic acne, hormonal acne, or late night drinking-and-pizza acne, focus on the gut for the solution,” says Whitney, who’s come to count on a plant-based lifestyle as her most powerful skincare savior.
Read on for the finer points of her sage skin wisdom—featuring a list of foods to help ease inflammation, fend off redness, and achieve an always-coveted, silky-smooth glow.
Elevated Hydration: Cucumbers, Berries, Melon, Beauty + Detox Water Drops
Dull skin, be gone. Simply drinking your water is great for filtering out toxins through your bowels and bladder, but if you really want to hydrate on the cellular level and unlock seamless digestion (read: achieve clear skin and tone down inflammation), reach for juicy, water-rich produce. With these, H2O is trapped in a web of fiber, minerals, and electrolytes, slowly dispersing itself throughout the body for longer-lasting benefits.
“One of the Sakara Pillars of Nutrition is “Eat Your Water,” and that is a great way to help make sure that things are moving,” says Whitney. “Your elimination system is necessary for pushing out toxins.”
The more living, water-based foods you incorporate into your diet—like cucumbers, romaine lettuce, berries, and melons—the more regular your elimination rhythm. The more your body rids itself of stagnant waste and toxins, the happier and more hydrated the complexion. Win, win, win.
Quench your thirst even further with Beauty + Detox Water Drops, our dynamic duo that boosts your daily intake of essential minerals (like zinc, sulfur, and magnesium) and greens—not to mention hydration factor—with every sip. Whitney’s top tip for returning from a night out? A big glass of water with a dropperful of each, reinvigorating the skin before alcohol-induced puffiness sets in.
(P.S. If you are having that midnight slice, think “green abundance”: toss some arugula on top, or add another vibrant vegetable to your plate.)
Leafy Greens: Spinach, Kale, Collard Greens
In the same vein, leafy greens nurture and nourish the body with their slow release of water into the system. Beyond hydration, they also deliver a loving dose of organic fiber that the microbes in our digestive systems thrive on. Again, this supports elimination and promotes plump, resilient skin.
Spinach, kale, collard greens, and the like are not only water- and fiber-rich—they also increase crucial vitamin A in the body, which helps normalize oil production, effectively fighting acne and breakouts. The benefits don’t stop there: the vitamin A in these powerhouse greens speeds up cell healing and regeneration, ups skin-firming collagen levels, and helps maintain a healthy dermis and epidermis (the top two layers of your skin).
Try to include six-plus cups of greens in your diet every single day (made easy and delicious with our Signature Nutrition Program). The thriving ecosystem of 38 trillion microorganisms in and on your body—and your radiant complexion—will thank you.
High-Quality Probiotic: Complete Probiotic Formula
“If you’re not eating enough of the good stuff, it can throw your microbiome out of balance, and that's when skin issues arise,” says Whitney. “Acne is a bacterial imbalance, so you want to be working on the full ecosystem of your body.”
This delicate relationship, commonly referred to as the skin-gut axis, reminds us that by healing the gut, we can heal the skin. In addition to embracing a plant-based lifestyle, you can cultivate a diverse (and thriving) microbiome by adding a pure, potent, and bioavailable probiotic to your daily rituals. Probiotics—strains of beneficial bacteria that crowd out the troublesome, pathogenic kind—influence a plethora of internal functions, from digestion to immune response to balancing hormones.
A clean, daily probiotic supplement—like our Complete Probiotic Formula—has systemic and digestive enzymes that break down foods for amplified nutrient absorption, in turn keeping inflammation at bay and improving skin texture and glow.
Healthy Fats: High-Quality Oils, Avocado, Nuts
Look to healthy fats—like nutrient-dense oils, coconut, avocado, nuts, and seeds—to flood your body with omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids shield the skin from below the surface, regulating inflammation, balancing hormones, supporting healthy cell membranes, and protecting the skin’s natural oil barrier. The result? A bright and blemish-free visage.
When shopping for oils, remember that not all oils are created equal, and all start losing their precious nutritive value as they are exposed to light, air, and heat. Opt for dark glass bottles and labels like “cold-pressed,” “unrefined,” and “virgin” to protect the integrity of the fat (and the vitality of your skin) when we use them.
Whitney doesn’t stop at drizzling her favorite oils atop a bed of greens, occasionally working them into her topical skincare line-up. “Sometimes, when I make a salad using olive oil or macadamia nut oil, I’ll toss it with my hands and—where a lot of people would go to the sink and wash it off—I roll up my sleeves and rub the oil into my face, hands, and arms.”
Inflammation-Easing Spices: Cinnamon, Paprika, Turmeric
Exercise your artistry come mealtime with the help of your spice cabinet; adding a dash of this and a sprinkle of that to boost antioxidants, vibrancy, flavor, warmth, and, ultimately, the radiance of your skin.
Cinnamon boasts antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that work to tighten and lift the skin; paprika is high in skin-brightening vitamin C and beta-carotene (a natural protector from the sun); and turmeric helps soothe inflammation thanks to curcumin, its main active compound.
Polyphenol-Rich Foods: Green Tea, Grapes, Cocoa
Polyphenols are naturally occurring anti-inflammatory compounds that protect the cells from damage, ultimately slowing cellular aging. There are two polyphenols that soothe skin distress: resveratrol and epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG.
Brew a cup of green tea (abundant in EGCG) to help moisturize and protect the skin barrier from things like acne-provoking air pollution. Your mug may even boast extra beautifying properties: EGCG has been researched as an anti-wrinkle agent and UV protectant.
Or, nourish with foods rich in resveratrol, like peanuts (which also deliver skin-loving niacin), cocoa, blueberries, cranberries, and skin-on grapes. (Yes, this technically includes a glass of pinot noir.) Resveratrol keeps your skin looking and feeling smoother by calming the skin, preventing dryness, and boosting your skin’s natural barriers, much like it’s counterpart EGCG.
As Whitney says, “A key piece in healing the skin is healing the relationship with yourself.” Tune into your body: What makes you feel truly good? What brings forth the healthiest, brightest version of yourself?
Release what doesn’t serve you—like spending time obsessing over your pores in front of the mirror—and welcome in more of what does, making sure not to skimp on joy in the process. This light and self-love will manifest itself into your confidence, your appearance, and how you show up for yourself and others in the world.
Whitney’s parting advice? Trust your gut to transform your skin.
“There is a solution and it will get better. Have patience and stick with it, making the right choices for you and your gut along the way.”