The Indian Man’s Diet for Oil Free Skin and Blackhead Prevention - Part 1
Straight off the bat we want to tell you that your diet directly impacts your skin and complexion. For healthy blackhead-free skin, you need to control what you eat and we can’t stress that enough. Your nutrition impacts your body on a daily basis, just ask the guy chugging egg whites after an hour at the gym. Similarly, a change in your diet will give you improved skin. The problem is, a quick google search will tell you that you need exotic fruits and vegetables you’ve never heard of to reach this goal. You’re told to buy everything from arugula and asparagus to chia seeds and kale. They’re expensive, difficult to find and just not sustainable!
So we’ve gone ahead and made a blackhead prevention and oil control diet for Indian men using food you can find easily right here! But before getting on with the list, we just want to clarify a few concepts so that you can better understand why you may deal with blackheads and oily skin. This may make it easier for you to rationalize putting down the barfi and pushing the aloo bhujia aside.
Your skin is nourished by natural oil known as sebum. Sebum is secreted by sebaceous glands, which are attached to tiny hair follicles all over your body and on your face as well. When your sebaceous glands over-secrete sebum, you will experience “oily skin”. Now if this oil clogs your pores along with a mixture of dirt and bacteria, and this mixture is exposed to the air, it will be oxidized and turn black, forming a blackhead. So the trick is to regulate how much oil your skin is producing, but that’s easier said than done and depends on a number of things including your genetics, the season, your hormones, diet, stress levels (physical and emotional), age, pore size, etc. That said, one factor we can exercise some control over is our diet. This is what you’ll need:
Leafy green vegetables
They’re the most nutrient dense plant foods out there, calorie for calorie. Rich in antioxidants, fibre, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, green vegetables can do it all. The high fibre content of leafy green vegetables is important to your anti-blackhead diet because this quality keeps skin clear and regulates oil production. Leafy greens are also hydrating; they’re filled with water which keeps your skin supple and moisturized. Ensuring your skin doesn’t dry out is necessary because if it does, your sebaceous glands will increase their output of oil, leading to greasy skin, blocked pores and blackheads.
Try: Spinach, Broccoli, Cabbage, Mustard (Sarson), Fenugreek (Methi), Bathua, Arbi leaves etc.
Vitamin C Rich foods
Vitamin C is great for your skin in general - preventing blackheads is just a bonus. Foods rich in vitamin C are beneficial for people with oily skin because vitamin c increases your skin’s moisture retention. Hydrated skin is important as in the absence of moisture, your sebaceous glands will begin to create excess sebum, leaving your skin oily and your pores clogged and susceptible to blackheads. Vitamin C rich food is also known to curb inflammation, which causes our sebaceous glands to flare up.
Try: Gooseberry (Amla), Cantaloupe (Kharbooja), Oranges, Tomatoes, Guava, Papaya, Leafy greens
"Why go and moisturize skin that’s already oily?" Well, it’s a myth that you shouldn’t moisturize oily skin. In fact, allowing it to dry out will only cause overproduction of sebum. As already stressed above, keeping your skin hydrated is an important step in preventing the underlying cause of blackheads, excess sebum and oil. Consume foods high in water content to keep your skin smooth, clear and blackhead free. Your first step - drink water.
Try: Water, Cucumber, Tomatoes (again), Spinach, Cantaloupe (Kharbooja), Radish (Mooli), Cauliflower.
Omega-3 rich foods
Seems counterintuitive right? Having fish oil for oily skin? Omega-3 rich foods play an important role in preventing blackheads and controlling oil because of their effects on your hormones. Omega 3 regulates hormone levels in your body, and also works to stabilise the hormones involved in your body’s response to stress. For example, when we’re stressed, our bodies produce a hormone known as cortisol, the 'stress hormone'. What part of your body is influenced by extra cortisol? Your sebaceous glands! That's why you may notice that in moments of emotional stress, you may start sweating even if you haven't performed any physical tasks and are indoors in a cool environment.
Try: Walnuts, Peanuts, Fish, Egg Whites, Kidney beans (rajma).
We’re not saying you have to stick to these foods, but incorporating them in your diet would be a start, and a great way to finally exercise some control over your oily skin and blackheads. Try making small changes to your diet. Drink water throughout the day, try having that handful of peanuts and walnuts in the morning, have a daily hydrating salad of cucumber, tomato and radish. Treat yourself after a dinner which has a portion of leafy greens to a dessert of oranges! This will do wonders for your oily skin. If you wish to be even more proactive about your anti-blackhead and oil control diet, check out the second part of this series here.
If you’re looking for men’s grooming products designed to control oily skin and prevent blackheads, here is Spruce Shave Club’s Activated Charcoal Facial Kit! It’s got everything you need for clearer, brighter, blackhead free skin!