Healthy skin starts from within. The link between a nutritious diet and a glowing complexion is well-established and healthy eating habits, which are especially important for people with acne. Skin care specialists agree that the best diets for acne minimize the impact that hormones have on the complexion. Unfortunately, many modern Western diets are dominated by over-processed foods, sugary snacks and hormone-laden dairy and meat products.

The following dietary guidelines encourage acne-free skin:

Avoid sugar:  When you eat sugary snacks or drink sweetened beverages you push blood sugar levels up very quickly which causes more insulin to circulate in your bloodstream. Several studies have linked high insulin levels to acne breakouts. Choose foods with a low glycemic index (GI), a measurement related to glycemic load. These foods cause smaller increases in blood sugar, as opposed to high GI foods. Instead of sugar, consider sweetening foods and beverages with stevia or honey.

Eat small, frequent meals: Eating small meals every two to three hours helps keep blood sugar and insulin levels steady. This helps prevent the insulin spikes that trigger breakouts. It also helps balance energy levels throughout the day and reduces the chances that you’ll reach for an unhealthy snack to satisfy between-meal hunger pangs.

Consume plenty of vegetables: Most nutritionists recommend eight to ten fist-sized servings of vegetables each day. Choose vegetables that include a range of deep and bright colors because they tend to be richer in antioxidants that fight free radicals and inflammation.

Avoid dairy: Although there are varying opinions on whether dairy products are linked to acne, most experts agree that it is a good idea to reduce or eliminate them from your diet. The hormones in dairy products encourage production of androgen, a male hormone that can increase sebum production which leads to breakouts. If you choose to include dairy in your diet, consume fat-free versions of yogurt, milk or ice cream.

Drink water: Water helps hydrate your body which supports plump, healthy skin. Hydration helps flush out the toxins that cause skin problems. Most experts recommend a minimum of five to eight glasses per day.