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Acne Q&A-Your Most Commonly Asked
Over the past few years, I have been asked a broad range of questions about healing acne naturally. The questions have ranged from the very vague right down to microscopically specific. What I have found however, is that there tends to be a running theme through many of the questions asked and, in this article, I wanted to help answer them for you.
Do you have to cut out foods to clear your skin?
It really depends on what symptoms you display, along with acne. I rarely have a client who simply just displays ‘acne’ and has no other health complaint or symptom. Acne is multifaceted and there is usually a culmination of factors that are driving that individual’s acne.
If you display a clear intolerance to certain foods than I like to cut them out whilst we heal the gut and then reintroduce them after healing has occurred to ‘test’ tolerance. I tend not to cut out foods as a first-line approach. I try to work out what’s actually driving the food intolerance i.e., gut function, rather than cut out foods without exploring the underlying factors.
The only food group I tend to cut out for clients is dairy. I wish it weren’t the case, but there are countless studies as well as overwhelming anecdotal evidence to support the association between dairy and acne. I’ve seen too many clients who experience breakouts after eating dairy to ignore it. I myself after years of acne-free skin and a very varied diet, still avoid dairy.
Does acne always stem from hormonal imbalance?
Whilst one of the most common underlying drivers for acne is a hormonal imbalance, what we need to figure out is why are you displaying said hormonal imbalance in the first place. When we talk about hormones, we tend to skip past our stress and our sleep hormones, which affect our steroid (sex) hormone production.
If, for example, cortisol is high then your sex hormones will undoubtedly be dysregulated. High cortisol levels also tend to throw melatonin (sleep) hormones out of balance and again, this has a domino effect on your hormone production.
What could also be driving hormonal imbalance is poor gut health, or more specifically poor gut microbiome, whether that be not enough of the good guys or too many ‘bad’ guys living in our digestive tracts.
Excess hormones are excreted through our stool and constipation for example can be perpetuating hormonal dominance. Oestrogen is metabolised by good bacteria in the gut, therefore if you don’t have ample good bacteria, that could perpetuate an oestrogen deficiency.
Another hormone we don’t talk about is insulin – oh insulin. Chronically high Insulin levels can result from a high glycaemic aka a ‘Westernised diet’ and has been linked to acne. Insulin can be reduced through regulating blood sugar levels which I’ll delve into in another article.
So a very long answer to a seemingly simple question; it depends…
Is my health/gut forever ruined after taking antibiotics and medications for acne?
Not necessarily. You may have to ‘maintain’ your gut health and keep it in check a little more than someone who has never touched an antibiotic (which is sadly rare), however you can make incredible leaps with your gut health through the right support.
The body is fantastic at healing itself if you give it the right tools. Healing your gut can reverse years of damage through pharmaceuticals. There are studies outlining that you may never have full gut function post antibiotics compared to your pre-antibiotic impacted gut, however you can get pretty damn close!
Is functional testing actually worth it?
If you’ve had acne for years, and you’ve tried eating ‘clean’ and living a generally healthy lifestyle for some time with little to no changes to your skin, then functional testing does help get to the root cause.
The main tests I tend to recommend are GI Effects and Rhythm Plus & Metabolomix by Genova Diagnostics. I do opt for more specific tests if a client presents with specific symptoms that clearly point to an underlying driver, such as SIBO, Candida or a specific nutritional deficiency.
The tests outlined are comprehensive and dive into the potential reasons why you may, for example be displaying signs of testosterone dominance or have chronic pervasive gut issues. There are many cheaper testing options on the market available, but in order to truly get to the root cause, you need tests that are comprehensive and show the ‘full picture’. One of my (many) phrases is, ‘something isn’t worth doing if it’s not done properly’ and that’s how I feel about functional testing.
Work with Me
If you’d like to start naturally healing your skin and you need a guiding hand from someone who has been there, do reach out. Contact us to see how I can best work with you to build a roadmap to help you heal your skin from the inside out.