Let’s face it, when you’re struggling with acne, efficiency is key. Not just in your skincare routine but also in your diet. It’s all about focusing on the foods and meals that will give you the most bang for your buck. That’s where an anti-acne smoothie comes in.
An anti-acne smoothie is a flexible and convenient option that allows you to pack in lots of skin-friendly ingredients into a delicious blend that you can drink or eat (hello smoothie bowl!).
But as with all things food-related, there are a few basic guidelines that you need to be aware of in order to get the most out of smoothies.
So, in this article we’re going to journey through the world of skin-clearing smoothies, and we’ll be looking at:
- Why smoothies can help acne.
- Must-have ingredients for an acne-fighting smoothie.
- Bonus ingredients that you can use to supercharge your smoothie.
- A simple smoothie recipe that you can use for clear skin.
HOW SMOOTHIES HELP WITH ACNE
With the right blend of ingredients, smoothies can help acne because they address chronic inflammation, which is one of the main underlying causes of acne. Aside from chronic inflammation, smoothies can also play a role in regulating blood sugar and gut function, both of which are also linked to acne.
In the article titled “Does Inflammation In The Body Cause Acne?” I discuss the various ways in which inflammation, blood sugar, gut health and other factors affect acne. I strongly recommend that you read it to get a deeper understanding of this important topic.
With that said, here’s a closer look at benefits that the right smoothie blend can provide.
1. Stabilize Blood Sugar
Whenever our blood sugar spikes, that triggers the body’s inflammatory response. A key part of that inflammatory response is the release of cortisol.
And this means that cortisol receptors respond by triggering more sebum production. This can clog pores and increase pimples.
Smoothies – and in particular, fiber-rich smoothies – can help you control this cascade of events because fiber slows down the absorption of sugar (source). With sugar absorption occurring at a slower pace, that means you’re less likely to experience blood sugar spikes and the subsequent increase in cortisol.
2. Supports Gut-Skin Connection
The gut-skin connection is undeniable, as research continues to show that alterations in gut bacteria contributes to skin problems like acne (source).
This isn’t very surprising since the gut is essential for balancing hormones, detoxification and for regulating immune function. And all of these factors can play a role in the development and evolution of acne!
Now, once again smoothies can improve things in this arena mainly because of their fiber content. Fiber is basically the “food” for good gut bacteria, making it easier for them to multiply and grow (source).
And more good bacteria means healthier, clearer skin.
3. Supports Liver and Detoxification
Whether it’s a fungal infection (like candida) or chemicals in our food supply, a wide variety of toxins can contribute to inflammation and subsequently, acne.
And the only way to get rid of toxins in the body is for the liver to first filter them out of the blood.
Once again, smoothies can help because they’re full of whole veggies and fruits that support liver function.
In addition, there are other herbs and toppings that you can add to a smoothie to make them even more liver-friendly.
4. Supports Hormones
Hormonal acne doesn’t just occur during puberty. Even during our adult years, hormones are still a major factor in the development of acne (source).
For example, as we saw earlier, the skin has receptors for the stress hormone, cortisol. So, that tells us that nature has already designed the skin to respond to always respond to stress. We can’t change that.
But what we can do is use that information to our advantage and do what we can to keep stress and cortisol low.
Smoothies are one way to do this because they are very nutrient dense. And every time you replace a pro-inflammatory meal or snack with a healthy smoothie, that means you’re reducing the amount of food-related stress that your body has to deal with.
Ultimately, less stress means improved cortisol levels and happier hormones overall.
ACNE-FIGHTING FOODS TO INCLUDE IN A HOMEMADE SMOOTHIE FOR CLEAR SKIN
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are packed with fiber that helps you have more regular bowel movements. This is essential for getting rid of waste and other pro-inflammatory toxins from the body.
In addition, leafy greens contain plenty of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that nourish the skin from the inside out.
Now, from a taste perspective, the best leafy green to use in an anti-acne smoothie is spinach. It has a very neutral flavor that won’t ruin the final taste of your smoothie.
Some other leafy greens that you can add to your acne smoothie are kale and romaine lettuce. However, both of these have a more distinct flavor that can alter the taste of your smoothie, depending on the other ingredients that you use. So, be careful with them.
Generally speaking you can use any fruits that you personally enjoy. They all contain a vast array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your skin will always benefit from.
However, if you need help getting started, here are some fruits that are most commonly used in your detox smoothies:
- Avocados (also helps to thicken the smoothie)
- Bananas (also helps to thicken the smoothie)
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)
- Melons (very high in water; they go really well with watermelons and make a super-hydrating smoothie!)
- Watermelons (extremely high in water, so you generally don’t need to add in another liquid).
For your smoothie’s liquid base choose from one of the following:
- Coconut water
- Plant milks such as almond, oat or cashew milk. Avoid soy milk (even in organic form) because for some women the soy can worsen hormonal imbalances.
OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS TO BOOST YOUR ACNE-FIGHTING SMOOTHIE
In order to get the most out of your smoothie, it’s a good idea to add in some specialty ingredients that target specific organs, systems or health issues.
These add-ins will turn a basic smoothie into a more potent skin-clearing tonic.
1. Green Tea and Matcha Powder
Green tea and matcha are made from the same tea plant known as camelia sinensis.
However, the main difference between the two is this:
- Green tea is the regular tea bag or loose leaf that we steep in hot water.
- Matcha is green tea leaves that have been ground up into a powder.
So, in terms of nutrients – especially the powerful antioxidants that green tea is known for – you get more of them from matcha because you’re ingesting the whole leaf. This is different from regular tea where you always throw away the leaves after steeping.
That said, you really can’t go wrong with either option. Just choose the one that works best for you in terms of what’s available in your area or what your taste buds like.
Now in terms of how to use matcha or green tea in a smoothie, you can:
- Use green tea as the liquid in your smoothie. But keep in mind that it has a bit of a bitter flavor. So don’t use too much and use it with smoothies that contain sweeter fruits. That will help mask the flavor.
- Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of matcha powder into your smoothie.
Ginger is widely recognized as an anti-inflammatory herb and as such, it’s a great option for any skin-clearing smoothie.
Just be sure to only use fresh ginger because the taste is much more pleasant (reserve dried ginger for cooking).
Also, start with a small amount – about 1/2 teaspoon grated – and then work your way up if you like that special “kick” that ginger provides.
TIP: ginger works quite well when combined with bananas, pineapple and mango (or just bananas and pineapple).
If there’s one thing that turmeric is known for, it’s for fighting inflammation (source). And it’s all thanks to the antioxidant, curcumin, which is the most studied component of turmeric.
Fresh turmeric works best from a taste perspective, but if you can’t find it, then reach for ground turmeric.
How much turmeric you use in a smoothie is totally dependent on your taste buds and the other ingredients you’re using. Overall, it’s always a good idea to start with a small quantity (say, 1 teaspoon fresh, grated).
TIP: turmeric combines well with ginger.
4. Nut Butters and Seeds
Adding nut butters and seeds to your smoothie comes with lots of perks. For example:
- Nut butters are great for thickening a smoothie and making it more filling.
- Seeds and nuts are a fantastic source of proteins and hormone-balancing fats.
In terms of nut butters you can use:
- Almond butter
- Peanut butter
- Tahini (a butter made from sesame seeds. The taste isn’t as universally pleasing as almond and nut butter though).
As for seeds, use one or more of these:
- Hemp seeds
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
5. Fresh Mint, Parsley or Cilantro
Herbs like mint, parsley and cilantro help with detoxification so that you can eliminate the junk that is causing systemic inflammation.
Of all these herbs, mint is the easiest to incorporate into a smoothie because it has a pleasant and refreshing taste.
Parsley and cilantro have a more distinct flavor and require a little more experimenting.
Cinnamon is an antioxidant-rich herb that is proven to lower inflammation, regulate blood sugar and improve sensitivity to insulin (source).
These last two benefits are particularly interesting if you have acne that is caused by hormonal imbalances like PCOS. PCOS, for example, is strongly linked to insulin resistance (source).
As for what type of cinnamon to use, there are two types available on the market: ceylon and cassia cinnamon.
Research shows that both types of cinnamon are actually quite beneficial. But cassia cinnamon has higher levels of coumarin, a compound that can be toxic to the liver in high doses.
In fact, for some people 1 to 2 teaspoons of cassia cinnamon per day can create issues.
So, if you already consume cinnamon regularly, then it’s best to use ceylon because it has about 250 times less coumarin than cassia (source).
As for how much to add to your smoothie, start low, with about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon. The flavor can be quite invasive.
7. Hormone-Friendly Herbs
Since there’s often a hormonal component to acne, it doesn’t hurt to include some hormone-friendly ingredients in your smoothie. Here are a few to consider:
- acts as an adaptogen, meaning that it nourishes the adrenals and helps to normalize hormones.
- supports liver detoxification (source).
- has a sweet flavor that isn’t overpowering. Personally, I can’t quite compare the flavor to other things (though some people say it reminds them of caramel).
- be aware that maca is available in raw and cooked form (aka gelatinized maca). The cooked form is preferable because it’s much easier to digest and this is also how maca has historically been consumed.
- also acts as an adaptogen by regulating cortisol and blood sugar levels (source).
- My experience with ashwagandha is that it has a slight salty aftertaste. But as long as you don’t overdo it your smoothie should come out tasting just fine.
- supports liver function (which helps with detoxification).
- lowers inflammation.
- supports the immune system
BLUEBERRY GREEN DETOX SMOOTHIE RECIPE FOR CLEAR, GLOWING SKIN
Even though this smoothie has a purple color, it’s still qualifies as a “green” smoothie because it contains leafy greens. What’s most important is that it has plenty of detox power thanks to the blueberries and spinach.
As you try out this recipe for yourself, feel free to make any swaps or adjustments that are necessary to suit your personal preferences (see notes at the end of the recipe for some suggestions).
Makes 1 serving
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 fresh banana (very ripe)
1 cup baby spinach
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 cup plain almond milk (less if you’d like to make this a smoothie bowl)
1/2 tsp gelatinized maca powder
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- Place all ingredients into a blender and process on high until smooth.
- Serve and enjoy!
NOTE: to give this smoothie a green color, swap the blueberries for mango, pineapples or both. And if you’d like to make this creamier – and greener – swap the banana for avocado!
FAQs ABOUT CLEAR SKIN SMOOTHIES
What juice is good for acne?
Fresh, homemade juices are best for acne because they’re not pasteurized the way many store-bought juices are. This means that all the nutrients in the juice are still present. As for what to include in the juices, a combination of leafy greens (such as kale or spinach), fruits (like apples and lemons), root vegetables (think beets) and anti-inflammatory herbs (hello ginger) can all be beneficial for the skin.
Will drinking water help acne?
Since water is essential for flushing out toxins and for hydrating the skin, it can help improve acne. However seeing results isn’t simply about drinking the standard eight glasses of water per day. Rather, it’s far more important to make sure that you’re getting enough minerals in your diet. The minerals affect the balance of water in your body (and skin).
To learn more about this – including how to figure out how much water you actually needs – read this article on how much water to drink to clear acne.
When you’re making a detox smoothie to fight off acne, the main thing to prioritize is anti-inflammatory ingredients. And as a whole, anti-inflammatory foods are whole foods, unprocessed and come from plants.
I hope this article has helped simplify and clarify the smoothie-making process for you. Now, go forth and experiment your way to acne-free skin!
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