Crustaceans Might Be Key to Fighting Acne

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We tend to focus on what we shouldn’t eat to avoid breakouts. (We’re looking at you, chocolate!) However, in this case, there’s one delicious food that may actually help adult acne. It’s time to break out your lobster bibs—or at least make some space in your skin-care routine—because shellfish is the new buzz ingredient in the skin-care industry.

A study recently published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that chitosan, a nanoparticle derived from shellfish, had the ability to kill acne-causing bacteria. “The particles were found to disrupt the p. acnes cell membrane and that’s how it kills the bacteria,” says Great Neck, NY, dermatologist Jeannette Graf, MD. “Chitosan also appeared to decrease the inflammation that’s produced by the acne causing bacteria as well.”

Plus, when it was combined with benzoyl peroxide, it had an even greater acne-fighting effect. Sadly, there aren’t any products that contain chitosan out on the market just yet. “There’s currently no nanoparticles like this that are FDA approved, so it’s unknown when we’re going to see it in products,” says New York dermatologist Eric Schweiger, MD.

But the good news is that consuming shellfish can help your skin out too. “It’s a very healthy food and it has many omega-3 fatty acids in it,” says Montclair, NJ, dermatologist Jeanine B. Downie, MD. “People think that omega-3 fatty acids may be part of the key to clear skin and good health overall.”

While we were sold at “clear skin,” the omega-3 fatty acids found in shellfish can also give your skin a healthy glow and improve the overall sheen and texture of your skin.

The one drawback is that if you’re iodine sensitive, eating shellfish could have the opposite affect. “The reality is that for many people, because crustaceans have a high amount of iodine in them, they can actually break people out and cause acne,” says Dr. Downie.

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