Acne sufferers tend to spend huge amounts of time and money trying to find that miracle skin care product – that one cream, serum, ointment, or medication that will end acne for good. But here’s the truth: when it comes to acne, we need to look deeper. The origins of acne often lie far beneath the skin, all the way down to the body’s internal organ systems and hormone levels. Acne is the body’s way of communicating to you that there is a deeper imbalance. Once that balance is restored, skin care products should no longer be required to maintain clear skin. Healing the inner body will naturally heal the skin.
Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, and although it is infamously known to begin in puberty, adult acne prevalence is on the rise (1). Acne affects up to 50% of women in their 20’s and over 25% of women in their 40’s (2). Acne can make you feel less confident and change the way you interact with the world. Topical products and pharmaceuticals often come with serious side effects and fail to address the actual cause of the condition. It is important to understand that prescriptions such as Accutane, Spironolactone, and oral contraceptives used for the treatment of acne are not actually healing the body. Instead of solving the problem, they only provide a temporary fix.
Here are the top 5 ways to enjoy clear, healthy, glowing skin for the long term, without medications or toxic products:
1. Start with nutrition.
Did you know that acne has historically been referred to as “diabetes of the skin” due to its close relation to blood sugar and insulin abnormalities (3)? Regulating your blood sugar and insulin levels is the key to clear skin. This means eating the right foods at the right times. But what are the right foods? Aim for a wholesome, balanced diet rich in fresh, fibrous fruits and vegetables, healthy protein sources, healthy fats, and whole grains. Strictly limit the amount of refined sugar and packaged, processed foods in your diet. Compelling research suggests that the ultimate acne prevention diet combines a low glycemic load with regular fish consumption (4,5). In addition to a healthy diet, supplementing vitamins and minerals can help ensure optimal nutrition. An experienced physician will use targeted therapeutics to identify and correct nutrient deficiencies that are often seen in acne patients such as Vitamin A, E, D and Zinc. Consult a naturopathic physician to discuss the most appropriate treatment options for you.
2. Support your detoxification pathways.
The liver processes and transforms toxins so that they may be eliminated by the body. Acne sufferers are notorious for having sub-optimal detoxification systems. Skin is the largest organ of elimination, and if detox pathways are sluggish, problems can show up in the skin. An experienced physician will optimize the detox process at every step of the way to balance hormones and restore skin health. Some of the best ways to support liver function include hydration, exercise, cruciferous vegetables, a high-fiber diet, and the removal of common toxic exposures in our daily lives. Nutrient supplementation can be added for additional support.
3. Heal the gut.
Poor gut health can manifest as many different skin conditions, including acne. Dysbiosis, which is an imbalance in the intestinal microbiome, occurs when bad microbes take over the good bacteria. Even in the absence of any digestive symptoms, many seemingly-unrelated disorders can be traced back to poor gut health: hormonal imbalance, autoimmune diseases, joint aches and pains, weight loss resistance and many inflammatory conditions. A healthy gut is a core component of the proper functioning of our organ systems, including the skin. A healthy gut also helps the body manage inflammation. Healing and supporting the gut involves eating the right foods and taking a daily probiotic. Antimicrobial therapy and targeted supplementation such as glutamine or zinc may also be required. Once repaired, all other health problems may miraculously disappear, because what goes on in the gut is a major underlying component to our overall health.
4. Reduce stress.
This may seem a little obvious for most ailments, but stress is underrated when treating skin conditions. There is a strong physiological connection between stress and skin health(6). Discovering ways to calm the body and find balance within our daily lives activates the parasympathetic nervous system and allows our body to rest, digest, relax, and recover. Fortunately, there are countless natural ways to combat stress. Some examples include exercise, yoga, meditation and deep breathing, support from friends, laughter, mindfulness, creative projects, new experiences and travel, and time for self-care. Consult your naturopathic physician and become empowered in making lifestyle changes for a healthier version of you.
5. Rejuvenate your skin.
Many acne sufferers are left with visible scars, skin damage, and lingering hyperpigmentation spots where pimples, cysts, or nodule once were. A number of options exist to rejuvenate the skin for a fresh start.
The photofacial is a popular procedure that uses light absorption to initiate a sequence of events that exerts bactericidal (bacteria-killing) and anti-inflammatory effects on the area. Longer wavelengths can be used to target sebaceous glands and reduce sebum (oil) secretion, while others can be used to target cystic acne and inflammatory lesions. An experienced physician will perform a clinical evaluation of your skin and customize laser settings specific to your presentation.
If you have questions regarding any of these strategies or would like to schedule a free consultation for you to discuss the best way to clear your skin, give us a call at (480) 783-0708 or email us at FrontDesk@MedRoyalAZ.com.