Is your diet too acidic & causing your skin to age?

Since resolving my acne woes on my own, I’ve become 101% convinced that the key to having healthy skin lies with what I eat. Cliche as it may sound but the adage, “we are what we eat” is indeed true. So instead of reading materials that only suggest beautifying our skin with external aids like creams and lotions, I’ve begun to read books on how to eat for healthier skin. Two books that I’m currently reading are “The Healthy Skin Diet” by Karen Fisc and “Stop Aging, Start Living” by Jeanette Graf, M.D. with Alisa Bowman.

Both books were randomly picked from the library shelves but coincidentally, they both dealt with the same topic – balancing the body’s pH with alkalizing foods to maintain healthy skin. As I read on, I realized this balance is crucial and has direct connections to what I was trying to achieve with my detox to maintain a healthy liver and a digestive tract. In fact, all the topics that I’ve written before about sleep, caffeine, exercise, diet, stress, and hormones were basically about balancing our body’s pH but I never knew it. So you can say that reading about this was definitely an Eureka moment for me!

Optimal pH level should be slightly alkaline
I’m not about to reproduce the contents of the books here but in a gist, both books suggest that we need a slightly alkaline pH level for optimal health and functioning. On a scale of 1 to 14 and 7 being neutral, our blood should be slightly alkaline at a pH of 7.365 to be precise. If our blood pH becomes too acidic, it can damage the cells and tissues in our body. And in terms of our skin, except for our epidermis that function best at a slightly acidic pH of 5.4 to kill bacteria, cells in the dermis function best at an alkaline pH of 7.35. An acidic pH level can reduce the amount as well as quality of collagen and elastin being produced, thereby causing us to end up with premature aging and wrinkles. In addition, too much acids in the body can also cause demineralisation, which can lead to dry and cracked skin, fingernails that split easily plus thin, brittle hair. Finally, an acidic pH level will damage our red blood cells and this in turn can cause our skin to look dull and greyish from low oxygen supply.

Acid forming foods
When our body has too much acid, we may develop symptoms of acidosis, such as lethargy, poor digestive system, constipation, acne, skin bumps, skin allergies and so on. Causes for this include too much stress, alcohol, smoking, chemicals, dehydration and most importantly, a poor diet consisting of acid forming food. And what are acid producing foods? Common ones include meat, sugar, cereals, as well as processed foods. However, the interesting information I picked out was that a food that is considered as acidic may actually be alkaline when eaten. For instance, oranges, lemons, and limes are considered acidic, but the end-product is an alkaline residue. Dairy products and meats usually test alkaline before digestion and assimilation, but actually leave acidic residue when ingested. You can run a search on the Net to look for acidic/alkaline food chart but here is one that I found with a rather detailed listing.

Testing pH level in your body
You can actually test your body’s pH level by using pH test strips to test your urine continuously for five days in the mornings but a more accurate reading is to have a doctor measure your blood’s pH level. And the trick to the whole issue is to achieve a balance, which I consider tough. I’ve learnt that we can still eat acidic food in moderation but my experience tells me otherwise. Some weeks ago, I drank some beer and immediately felt so lethargic the day after. So for some foods, abstinence is possibly the best solution.

Remedies to release acids in the body
Two good remedies I found that can help our body release acids: one is to take a warm glass of lemon drink in the morning, which is also good to cleanse the liver and the other is to engage in moderate exercise for about 20 to 30 minutes a day. Anyway, I’m going to come out with a plan to do this right for myself. I have a lot of information swirling within my head at the moment and I need to sieve them through. But going with my initial thoughts, I think my plan is going to be a long one and it will need some time to materialize. So if you’re interested, stay tuned.

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  1. says

    Now I know and understand why chinese physician kept telling me to reduce or stop drinking lime juice! The acid causes the acne! But its interesting how it turn alkaline.

    Thank you so much dear!

    • sesame says

      I’m not sure if lime can cause acne…I thought it might help, unless yours contain sugar which can contribute to acne. But it’s probably best not to drink too much. The remedy suggested is to squeeze some lime or lemon, add to warm water and drink first thing in the morning. It’s supposed to help with cleansing the liver as well as counteracting an acidic pH level.

  2. says

    I definitely agree with you on this! I have read about the acidic foods before, if I don’t remember wrongly, it’s in the Mind Your Body that comes with Straits Times… …

    On your last point, I think lemon juice has roughly the same effect as Apple Cider Vinegar.

    When I was detoxing early this year, I take Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar 3 times a day before each meal according to the instructions on the bottle.

    That thing is known to be some sort of miracle vinegar, reviewed to have cure a lot of people from acid reflux, old age knee joint pain, before exercise booster, and most definitely digestion. =)))

    NTUC had a promo for it then, so I just got 4 bottles at one go. And I don’t regret.

    • sesame says

      I cannot bring myself to drink the Apple Cider Vinegar. It’s very sour isn’t it? How do you manage to drink 3 times a day? But I’ve heard a lot of good stuff on it too.

      And onions and garlic are good for our system but I’ve not been eating enough. Am thinking if I should take some of the supplements instead.

      Maybe I should give the vinegar a try. Don’t know whether I can bear with the smell. 😛

      • says

        =) I am not sure if you have heard of Dongfang Billy from FM 97.2… but he has got throat cancer a decade ago, and made drastic self-researched diet changes and recovered, though he has recently got a relapsed. But one of the largest tip he gave is the apple cider vinegar thing. My mum bought some to try then, but we gave up due to the taste and smell too.

        What I realize, is that my mum put too much vinegar in the past!

        This time round, when I try it myself, I follow exactly the instructions at the back, measuring with the baking spoon each of the 3 times I take it.

        Then I use those bigger mugs, instead of standard 250ml… I think mine could be some 330ml or so. Fill water as full as I can balance, then suck it with a straw (cos I don’t want to damage my teeth).

        I don’t add honey. But I watch on tv that taking good honey helps to prevent aging and all. So I guess if anyone is already eating high UMF honey daily, perhaps could just put 1 tsp with the vinegar, instead of taking 1 tablespoon honey at one shot.

        • sesame says

          You know what? I told my husband about the cider vinegar and he immediately went to get a bottle of it. But the smell, whoa! I took a sip and I almost had an arrest! Haha…a bit exaggerated but you must know how I felt. I guess I need to take time to get use to the smell.

          But your suggestion about using the straw is a good idea. It’s important to drink vinegar or lemon water with straw to protect the teeth.

          * and oh, I do know of DongFang Billy although I haven’t followed any of his programs.

      • Robyn yannoulis says

        Apple cider vinegar mixed with sunflower oil is the MOST delicious salad dressing I have ever tasted ,now that recipe is from a natropath,she said each and every one of us should have it daily,for good health ,makes sense,really it’s yummy…so one part oil to 3 parts vinegar

  3. says

    Oh Yes, and I need to add… =) I’ve recently started including 4g – 20g of onions (garlic, artichokes and natural yoghurt will do as well) into my diet, as I’ve also just read from a health and fitness magazine named Prevention…

    I find that it really makes a difference to my digestion! Previously, I hate to eat all these spices things, like onions, garlic, ginger. But I realized that onions are sweet when just soft, extremely pleasant, and no smell in the mouth.

    I have always been somewhat suffering from poor digestion, like getting flatulence easily, stomachache right after meals etc etc etc. But since I did the onion thing, my whole body balanced out, smoother journey in the washroom, decreased and almost no flatulence. Pretty amazing! Yup, so I thought I’d share with the readers here as well. =))

    • Robyn yannoulis says

      I was suffering from candida which is also caused from being to acidic,I was reasding cures for that and I had been pretty sick for months soi I was desperate I came across this quick cure which they claimed would work as quicly as an hour ofcourse I didnt believe it but I was at the point where I’d give anything a go,….Raw garlic,Iknow OMG,but i did it I had three cloves just chewed and swallowed, lol, grosse,the next morning my mouth ulcers were gone and my eyes were not stuck together and I felt good,I started eating garlic & tomato on toast for breakfast , or with asparagus,I got cherry tomatos cut them and put raw garlic inside I was having 6 good cloves a day….It worked ….I need to get some garlic..Tablets are NOT the same they have been heat treated,nothing beats the real thing…If ya sick enough you’ll try it.

  4. stella says

    i don’t know about ph and detoxing but i do stay away from processed and fast food + lots of water + eat lots of fruits every evening. it seems to keep my skin and body healthy! but then again i’m lucky to have home cooked food everyday; i can’t imagine how i would resolve dinners when i start living on my own…

    • sesame says

      It’s good you get home cooked food and are discipline with your diet. Most young pple are more indulgent with their food choices…good you don’t drink or smoke either.

      • stella says

        o i’m not as disciplined as u think :p especially when i have PMS–potato chips, fried, sweet stuff; so much so that i’ve to really try to rein it in after that passes lol… i’m a social drinker and rarely, social smoker, when life feels really lousy, thankfully not at all recently… so i guess the trick is to keep yourself happy at the end of the day!

        • sesame says

          That’s good advice – keeping yourself happy and also surrounding yourself with more positive pple! I used to drink a lot in my 20s and that probably accounts for my poor liver condition now. I wish I was more sensible then. 😛

  5. Ellie-B says

    Oh I am so glad you have discovered The Healthy Skin Diet!! I purchased it last year, and I just love it. It’s such a fascinating book, and has so many helpful solutions. :)

  6. says

    Oh my goodness .. I eat loads of candy. Maybe that’s why I look so old. And I drink lots of coffee and tea (both acidic). And carbs … carbonic acid. And I eat lots of yoghurt… lactic acid. I eat lots of processed food too … This is terrible. Is there anything I can do short of swallowing baking soda? Will eating more alkaline metals help?

    • sesame says

      I think if you start changing your diet now, it should help. One of the book says two weeks…but of course, you have to stick to the plan.

  7. says

    i do drink cold lemon juice once in awhile especially when i have headache… somehow it make me feel better but i could never drink without adding sugar in it…. i wonder if that make any differences by adding sugar…

  8. says

    I am very glad to say that my supplement is made of Healthy Alkaline Food as in the article provided!

    I’ve been taking Barley Grass Powder supplement for the past 4 months with really great results – my constant stomach problems were resolved. No longer do I have stomach upsets/diarrhea immediately after a meal and I am really happy with it!

    But it’s pretty surprising that most fruits are acidic!!! :(

    • sesame says

      Oh Barley Grass…I’ve seen it around but never stopped to check it out. It helps with tummy issues? Sounds like something I may need too.

      Yes, many fruits are…even bananas!

      • says

        Yes it does! I used to have diarrhea a lot but not anymore. I just did a write-up on my Barley Grass supplement; you can read up on it :)

        Besides, I find it value for for money especially during OG sales! Hehe.

        • sesame says

          Okay, thanks! I’ve have a look soon. I’m hunting for a vegetable/fruit powder mix. Came across one I read – Greens First – but it’s not readily available. Shipping out of US is very ex.

  9. fwy says

    Looks like my plan to switch to a vegan diet maybe right afterall. Nowadays, I also try to wake up earlier daily & walk a few bus stops before taking the train or bus to work. It gives me an apportunity to exercise early in the morning as the air is also fresher. I used to drink water immersed with lemon a few years ago but got lazy later. I may consider starting this habit again.

    • says

      haha, I am also somewhat vegetarian now, because I started just eating purely fresh food and vegetables, to complement my exercise.

      I try to take protein and calcium from nuts and bean, and try to switch over from milk and eggs. But I really really love these two a lot. haiz, it’d be a pity not to eat milk and eggs.

      Lemon water is nice!

    • sesame says

      Don’t immerse with the lemon slices unless yours is organic cos the skin may have pesticide. Best to squeeze a few drops into the water.

  10. says

    sesame, thanks for sharing this great informative post. I read some articles about eating too much acidic food is not good to our body . How about if eating less acidic food & more alkaline food ,will our body becomes too alkaline instead and if a body too alkaline , what is the consequences ?

    • sesame says

      I think you need to strike a balance cos the ideal is to maintain our body’s pH at 7.35 or so. I believe there is a condition called alkalosis and that could cause health issues too…such as to the heart and nervous system.

  11. ktee says

    Since taking spirulina (alkaline food) every morning for the pass ten years,my cravings for junk food are almost gone except during that time of the month.. I also realized that spirulina has helped regulate my weight ever since, especially during my pregnancies.

  12. Doug B says

    There are some really good points on here, I’ve had problem skin for years – I’m 35 and only getting on top of it now. This reminds me of some of the principles of ayuverdic detox.

    The chemistry that goes on in the digestive tract is complex but filling your diet with foods that fall into the alkaline category seems to be the way to go

    • sesame says

      It’s interesting because most of us haven’t been taking notice. But if what I read is correct, selecting the right food to eat can help with a host of medical problems as well.

  13. Caramel says

    Hi I drink organic vinegar (mix in a portion of 1:10) daily, and it really works for me. Vinegar turns alkaline when they enter the digestive system, and they are good detox products too. I particularly like vinegar products from ‘Luyin’- they produce the vinegar organically on the mountains using resources from Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan. You can find them in organic shops in Singapore:

    • sesame says

      Okay, thanks. I’ll have a look at it. Vinegar is pretty hard to stomach for me. The smell is a big deterrence already.

  14. susukoko says

    i have “The Healthy Skin Diet” by Karen Fisc book! got it during my days in Australia..
    i’d say it’s a really good book. i got the book because like u, i wanted to self-remedy my acne and oily skin problem..
    i actually tried the alkaline diet for quite sometime.. but i didnt see any improvement in my skin condition. mayb i didnt do it long enough or i didnt follow strictly..

    well, nowadays i still take spirulina tablet and clorophyll drinks once in a while.. i also try to avoid as much acidic foods asap..
    this mayb good for the skin in the long term..
    well, i am yet to find out..

    good luck on ur new found interest..=)
    perseverence is the keyword..

    • sesame says

      I guess it might take awhile. Plus, it’s important to find out first, what’s causing your acne and oily skin. If your acne is caused by digestive issues, the diet may help. Probiotics is a big saver for me.

  15. Chenyze says

    aha, cool! i was reading about acidic/alkaline foods a few weeks ago and waa meaning to share that with you but i think you’ve been more hardworking at this than me! i feel like this might be a bridge between western and Chinese medicine!

    • sesame says

      Exactly my thoughts! A bridge between east and west! It’s pretty complicated I must say but it all seems so connected as well.

  16. ashley says

    i’ve a problem with taken certain acidic foods, not sure what kind of intolerence I have, but eating oranges, and even drinking redox”s vitamin c effervescence tablets makes me bloat, giddy and nauseated after. so i’m not able to take alot of raw fruits and vegetables due to their initial acidic nature, haven’t been able to find a way around it, so i’ve been having a really unhealthy diet = bad skin. :(

    • sesame says

      I know those symptoms! I have the same problems drinking coffee and sometimes eating eggs. I guess you need to try others outside those and see if there are stuff that can work for you. Kiwi seems quite good.

  17. Di says

    I have the healthy diet book gathering dust in a dark corner of my shelf for some time…reading your article now means it would see some light very soon :) thanks!!! :)

    • sesame says

      The books are good…gives you a good insight. Try those that I highlighted in the entry. Those books are quite useful on the topic.

  18. Linda says

    It is a myth that having too much of acid is bad for the human body. Most bacteria are alkaline and people have been known to fall seriously ill or even die, from switching to alkaline-based foods.

    • sesame says

      I would think moderation is key…too much of alkaline based food may not work so well as in our TCM context, it’s considered too cooling and probably can cause some pple to be ill.

  19. says

    Question pls :) Is apple cider vinegar acidic? it belongs to the “vinegar” category in the chart you linked (
    Hazel last post is: Philippine Fashion Week 2012 – The Ramp Crossings + random snaps + announcement

  20. Kiran says

    This book says something about anti aging, another book says something else, so confusing! For example whole grains are supposed to nutritious and recommended as part of an anti aging diet yet this book says limit your intake. Yes some foods are clearly bad for the skin but when you look at some people who are on raw foods it looks like they are no different in appearance to another person in the same age group. Have a look at a 100% raw foodist vegan consuming a high intake of alkaline foods in the name of liferegenerator on youtube. He looks like any other 38 year old to me. Here’s his video
    And yet someone who was 70 years old at the time of the video consumes a lacto vegeterian diet looks like he’s in mid to late 50’s. His name is UG Krishnamurty. Here’s his video
    So it just depends and no diet is perfect.

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