|Posted on November 10, 2017 at 9:00 AM|
Chances are, you’ve been affected by acne at one time or another. Maybe you used to get the occasional pimple, and that was the extent of your experience. Maybe you’re one of the lucky few who has never suffered from acne (you lucky soul).
Unfortunately, for most of us, acne seems to be a right of passage in our teenage years, and for some it never clears up completely. What many people fail to realize, is acne is an inflammatory condition, and, like all such conditions, diet and lifestyle can have a significant impact on symptom expression.
Are you searching for clear skin? Read on, dear reader, while we break acne down and tell you what to do about it.
What is acne?
Acne, scientifically referred to as acne vulgaris, is defined as “a dermatological outbreak that occurs on the face, upper back, and chest, and consists of comedones, cysts, papules, and pustules” (Lessard-Rhead 2013).
We won’t go into detail about the different types of acne, but the tips and tricks outlined in this post apply to them all!
Chances are, you’re well versed in acne symptoms, so let’s skip that part and dive right into what causes acne.
What causes acne?
There are a variety of contributing factors when it comes to acne. Hormonal fluctuations can play a big role, especially when it comes to cystic acne (the deep, painful, under-skin guys that often appear near the chin/jaw line).
When we’re talking about hormonal fluctuations, we’re talking about “the balance between androgens and estrogens/progesterone” (Lessard-Rhead 2013). There are two things that can help with this balance:
- Dehydropiandrosterone (DHEA)
DHEA is “produced by the adrenal glands” and is a precursor to many sex hormones. When your adrenal glands are stressed out and tired (termed adrenal exhaustion), they cannot produce enough DHEA and hormone levels get out of whack. For this reason, treating adrenal exhaustion should also help improve the condition of your skin. For more information on how you can change your diet and lifestyle to support your adrenals, contact Harmony in Health!
Phytoestrogens are estrogens that come from plants, rather than those made by the body’s endocrine system. Phytoestrogens can also help balance hormones when estrogen levels are low, as they act like estrogens in the body, although they do not resemble them exactly. There is a lot of debate around phytoestrogens, and the science is still out on whether they hurt or help us hormonally.
Other contributing factors to acne include “stress, excess iodine, low levels of zinc, vitamins A, and B6, and high arachidonic acid levels or low essential fatty acid intake contributing to prostaglandin imbalances” (Lessard-Rhead 2013). Food allergies/sensitivities and gut dysbiosis can also play a role.
What can you do about acne?
So, a lot of things can cause acne. (Arrrgh) You may be feeling discouraged right about now, but don’t despair! Acne may have a lot of contributing factors, but I’m happy to say that you can start clearing your skin by implementing relatively few diet and lifestyle changes!
Here’s what you need to know: diet is so so so important! This includes what you’re eating AND what you’re drinking. So, change number 1: Drink your water! Water is extremely important. Getting enough of it will help moisturize your skin and keep it supple. Water also helps to rid the body of toxins, especially through the urine. Otherwise these toxins come out through the pores...hello acne.
Change number 2, if you wish to accept it, would be trying out an anti-inflammatory diet. I mentioned acne is an inflammatory skin disorder, so lowering that systemic inflammation should help lessen your symptoms. Read more on an anti-inflammatory diet here. When you’re thinking diet, just remember this: Plant based is best. Lots of clean vegetables and fruit! Cut out the sugars as they cause inflammation.
Also, dairy products actually contain a lot of hormones that can affect our hormonal balance. Try cutting out milk and other dairy products and seeing if you notice a difference in your skin.
No matter how bad things get, please DO NOT resort to chemical therapy such as acutane. This is extremely dangerous, and can have lasting harmful effects. Instead, lavish your skin with natural products such as Harmony Soft & Clear, Liquid Moisturizing Lotion. This is the perfect moisturizer for acne, as the jojoba oil dissolves the sebum which causes blackheads. The rosemary and geranium have long been used in the treatment of acne and other skin disorders. And the lavender promotes rapid healing as well as being antiseptic. This is a light moisturizer and can be used on any skin type.
When it comes to cleansing your skin, go with our Rose Infused Cleansing Lotion for fighting acne! This light cleansing lotion cleanses away dirt, grime, and makeup without clogging your pores. (Side note: It can also be used as suds-less body wash leaving your skin soft and supple!)
After cleansing, finish off with our Skin Toner to rinse away any traces of oils and fats. This will also help to close the pores, restore the skin’s natural pH and stimulate circulation while refining the texture of your skin.
To learn more about these products, or to purchase, contact Harmony in Health.
Remember, when it comes to acne, both what you put on your skin and what you eat are important. I hope these tips and tricks can help you on your search for clear skin!
Brenda Lessard-Rhead (2013): Nutritional Pathology