Garlic and Acne: Could Eating Raw Garlic Cloves Help Get Rid of Pimples?
For centuries, garlic cloves have been enjoyed for its wonderful taste and its health benefits. It is purported to have strong antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral and anti-fungal properties, and to boost stamina and vitality. In Ayurveda, an alternative system of medicine native to India, raw garlic is also considered one of the best natural remedies for adult acne, and Ayurvedic healers swear by garlic as a treatment for acne scars and as an effective method for preventing new acne from forming. In addition to Ayurvedic reports, there are numerous personal testimonials suggesting that eating raw garlic can help prevent and get rid of pimples, zits, spots or whatever you want to call these familiar enemies of beauty.
So how can garlic cloves help prevent and get rid of acne? Some people believe that it is the antibacterial and antioxidant properties of garlic that are responsible for the purported anti acne benefits of this miraculous herb, while others are convinced that it is the nutritional profile of this culinary and medicinal plant that helps reduce pimples and other blemishes. Garlic, especially raw garlic, is an excellent source of numerous acne combating vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients including vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium, allicin, copper, and — last but certainly not least — sebum-controlling zinc.
Furthermore, garlic may help reduce acne breakouts by fighting insulin resistance, a physiological condition that has been linked to adult acne. In insulin resistant people, the body's cells have trouble responding to the actions of the hormone insulin, and over time, this can lead to the development of diabetes.
In a 2005 study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, a group of scientists tested the effects of two garlic compounds, garlic oil and diallyl trisulfide, on glycemic control in diabetic rats. Both garlic compounds were found to improve insulin sensitivity which refers the ability of the body to respond to the actions of insulin. This implies that garlic may help fight acne and other conditions linked to insulin resistance.
Potential Side Effects
Eating garlic is generally considered safe, and most people can incorporate this potential acne vulgaris fighting food into their diet without problems. However, some people with acne rosacea may experience worsening rosacea symptoms after eating garlic: a study published in Rosacea Review in summer 2003 found that of the 500 people surveyed, 11% listed garlic as a trigger food for rosacea.
In addition, people who frequently eat large amounts of garlic may experience mild unwanted effects such as garlicky odor in the breath and the sweat, vomiting or nausea, gastrointestinal problems such as an upset stomach or bloating, heartburn, lightheadedness, as well as mouth irritation or burning. Furthermore, those who are allergic to garlic may experience skin rashes or respiratory problems after eating garlic.
Furthermore, people who are planning to step up their garlic intake should be aware of the blood-thinning properties of garlic. Eating copious amounts of garlic may cause bleeding, which is why pregnant women and people who will have a surgery are often advised to avoid or limit the use of garlic. Also people on certain medications are advised not to eat garlic in large quantities.