Glamour's Great Skin Diet

We asked seven women with problem skin to test our good-diet-great-skin theory. Massachusetts derm Valori Treloar, M.D., coauthor of The Clear Skin Diet, created this plan for them to follow for seven weeks; testers chose what they ate each day. The instructions were simple:
© Glamour // © Glamour

1. Steer clear for the white food family, including white bread, cookies, cakes and crackers.

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2. Eat more fiber-rich carbs like brown rice, whole-grain pasta, sweet potatoes, and lentils.

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3. Cut down on dairy. Our testers fell in love with almond milk instead. Like dairy? Eat yogurt. The fermentation may reduce some of the growth hormones that could trigger acne.

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4. Avoid processed meats like hot dogs, which contain inflammatory omega-6 fats. When buying meat, opt for organic and free-range.

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5. Fill your plate with colorful antioxidant-rich vegetables like carrots, spinach, and broccoli. (And when possible, eat 'em raw.)

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6. Eat wild-caught oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines.

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7. Cook with olive oil instead of corn and vegetable oils, which typically have more omega-6 fats.

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8. Cut down on alcohol, proven to exacerbate adult acne, eczema, and rosacea.

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How strict do you need to be? Dr. Treloar recommends eliminating processed carbs entirely for a few months. Same with dairy (take a daily 400 mg calcium supplement with 200 to 400 mg of magnesium and 1,000 IU of vitamin D instead). If your skin clears, start adding foods back slowly. "Some people with problem skin can eat certain kinds of dairy, like sheep's milk; some can eat any kind once in a while," she says.

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The results: The diet tweaks were hard for some women at first. Initially, three more had signed on to try the plan but dropped out--one because she had a break-out in her fifth week and got discouraged, another after work events derailed her eating plan early on, and a third when she found it difficult to limit alcohol and eat more veggies. "The first week of no bread and little cheese was painful, but it got easier and now I am much more conscious about what I choose to eat," says Daphne G., 34, who completed all seven weeks. (She started seeing results after three weeks and, like six of her seven fellow testers, noted big improvements after five weeks.) The benefits went beyond fewer pimples too. "My redness, dryness, and blotchiness have all improved or disappeared completely," says Linda Huang. Another bonus: Many women reported they had more energy and were sleeping better--and one even lost 10 pounds.

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