Can Consuming Sweet Potatoes Help Control Breakouts?

For many of us, as soon as we notice a few pimples, we reach for topical solutions to help curb the breakout. While it's true that medicines such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide work in reducing redness and inflammation on the skin, another way to attack breakouts is to focus on gut health.

"When it comes to inner beauty — I often talk about how our skin is a great barometer for what's going on inside our gut," Carla Oates, founder of The Beauty Chef, tells Woman's Day. Certain foods, especially those with high sugar, can lead to excess production of sebum. In addition, a leaky gut can lead to losing vital nutrients necessary for healthy skin, and a disturbed microbiome can cause inflammation, another cause of acne.

"I frequently tell my patients that the things they put in their mouths are just as important as the products they apply on their skin," says dermatologist Roberta Del Campo (via Well + Good). "All the foods we eat go through our digestive tracts and are broken down into various vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that the body can use to build healthy skin, strong muscles, and bones."

How sweet potatoes can help curb acne

If you experience regular breakouts, you may have tried retinol cream, which works quite well on acne. However, the cream is stringent and can be too caustic on teens' and young adult skin. Luckily, retinol is derived from vitamin A, so instead of applying it directly to the skin, another way to get the skin benefits of Vitamin A is to consume more of it.

Sweet potatoes, from the tuber family, are a prime source of beta-carotene and, when eaten, get converted by the body to vitamin A, as per Healthline. Vitamin A helps keep pores unclogged and also fights inflammation.That is just the beginning of how sweet potatoes can help acne. Also known as yams, these deep-rich tubers contain high amounts of vitamin C, which helps heal and repair skin.

"Not only are tubers rich in fiber, which is helpful for reducing LDL cholesterol and insulin resistance, it also helps feed the bacteria in your gut," registered dietician and nutritionist Alex Caspero tells Byrdie. "Gut health might be the unsung hero of banishing acne, as healthy gut flora reduce inflammation, which can present as acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and other skin issues."

Hormonal acne may be lessened by sweet potato consumption

Sweet potatoes are one of the foods that may play a role in helping curb hormonal acne in a roundabout way. Certain foods may trigger breakouts, especially those that are high glycemic and contain a lot of sugar because they will cause blood sugar and insulin spikes which directly affect hormones. In fact, acne rates are drastically lower in places like the Kitava Islands, rural parts of Brazil, South Africa, northern Canada, and Kenya because inhabitants consume a very low glycemic diet (via MedicalNews Today).

Interestingly, according to the National Library of Medicine, the Kitava Islands had no cases of hormonal acne, and it's thought to be due to their high intake of tubers, including sweet potatoes. In Canada, when populations were fed high-sugar and high-carb diets, their hormonal acne increased.

Finally, sweet potatoes are a source of high fiber, which helps control breakouts. According to The New York Times, fiber keeps you regular, which helps rid the body of toxins and reduces systemic inflammation.