Acne may not be a debilitating physical condition, but it still sucks. You have ugly pimples all over your face, they hurt an itch, and trying to get rid of them manually leaves you with terrible scars. Not to mention the shot to your mental well being when it leaves you feeling insecure about your skin.

Now, they are ways to treat chronic acne of course. With mild cases, over-the-counter gels and soaps could work. For more serious acne, doctors often prescribe antibiotics. However, these courses can take a really long time before they show any effect. Not to mention that bacteria have been gaining a resistance over the years thanks to our overuse of antibiotics.

Oral medications are generally better, especially in women with PCOS. This is especially true for those containing Isotretinoin, a Vitamin A derivative, though doctors may combine it with other medications

Better then would be to eat healthier, and stick to foods that won’t trigger acne, especially if you’re prone to outbreaks. Low-glycemic foods with high protein are show to be the most effective, so here are some healthy options for you.

1. Kamote (Sweet Potatoes)
Vitamin A is ideal for not just fighting off acne, but also to ward away wrinkles. Retinol is a common ingredient in many anti-acne creams on the market because it’s a vitamin A derivative. However, they can be very harsh on your skin. Instead, why not ingest some more of the source ingredient? Beta-carotene, is what gives Kamote their colour. And when you eat it, your body converts it into vitamin A.

They’re incredibly versatile too. Talbos ng kamote is a vegetable dish you’ve probably had before, and it’s rich in vitamin A. You can also take sweet potatoes and bake them into a casserole,or put them into a delicious soup. You can even fry kamote for an evening snack, and that’s ok because, according to researchers, oily foods haven’t been shown to have any significant effect on acne.

2. Moschata (Butternut Squash) or Kalabasa (Winter Squash)
You may have already sampled a dish of GinataangKalabasa at one point or another. Well congratulations, you ate anti-acne food! This tasty stew is rich in Vitamin A-enriched pumpkin, as is Pinakbet made with squash.

Pumpkins are also chock-full of fruit enzymes, zinc, and alpha hydroxy acids which make your skin softer and restore its pH balance. Not to mention Zinc also helps regulate your skin’s oil production.

3. Kale
Kale is a lesser-utilized vegetable in Philippines, but you shouldn’t dismiss how good it is for you, especially if you suffer from acne. Not only is it packed with vitamin A, it also has vitamin B-6, C, and K, as well as healthy doses of manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, and magnesium, all of which your body needs. Its antioxidation properties are also great for hyperpigmentation and evening out your skin tones. And if you’re not into salads, it makes a great substitute for pumpkin in a Ginataang stew.

4. Cauliflower
Cauliflower is also great at fighting acne, with generous amounts of other beneficial stuff like phosphorus and fiber. It makes a quick snack if you have some hummus handy, without any preparation needed. But the best part is, you don’t have to eat it in its vegetable form. If you can get your hands on some cauliflower rice, it makes a great substitute for your regular choice of rice in a Sinangag (garlic fried rice), or Chicken Adobo. And if you’re on a diet, it’s also much lower in carbs!

5. Legumes
Garbanzos (chickpeas), kidney beans, and Lentejas (lentils), are all low-glycemic. That means they’re low in sugar, and therefore perfect for preventing acne flare-ups.

Kidney beans, as you probably know, make a great addition to pork dishes, and garbanzos curries are just delicious. Lentejas of course are perfect for a great soup to start off a meal with. And all of that low-glycemic nutrition is also good to avoid Type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes.

6. Quinoa
Quinoa is often touted as a superfood, and for good reason. It’s packed in fiber, which makes for easier bowel movements. It’s also high in protein, iron, and of course vitamin A. It’s a great substitute for a fried rice dish, and makes for a Lugaw (rice porridge) with an incredible array of textures. If you’re eating light, it also makes a great side addition to a salad, or a substitute for wheat flour in baked goods.

7. Salmon
Aside from its acne-fighting properties, Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. These protect your skin against sun damage, and also cut our risk of skin cancer. They’re a little expensive, we know, but it’s worth it for the occasional splurge. They also make for an incredible rendition of Pinoy dishes like PaksiwnaIsda (Fish in Vinegar)

8. Calamansi (Philippine Lime)
Now, you might have heard from your elders that Calamansi is a great astringent, which it is. However, it’s not recommended to use it on your skin, as the juice is acidic enough to damage your skin’s natural barriers, causing it to lighten or darken too much after prolonged exposure to sunlight.

It is however incredible at fighting your acne when you squeeze the juice into your water, or over your food. Just make sure you include the peel too!

9. Berries
Strawberries, cherries, raspberries, they’re all great sources of vitamin C, and have antioxidant properties, making them great for combating acne. Don’t be afraid to chow down on a bowl of Sampinit (Philippine wild raspberry), or incorporate it into a healthy salad, and never worry about dark spots again.

10. Papaya
There’s a reason so many beauty products include papaya extracts. Applied on your skin, it helps exfoliate dead cells, unclog your pores, and cause acne scars to fade, not to mention prevent future breakouts.

When you eat it though, it’s also packed with vitamins and minerals to improve your skin elasticity and get ride of lines and wrinkles.