How Do I Clear my Acne?
Acne tends to be thought of as an ‘affliction’ commonly associated with your teenage years. Whilst some ‘grow out’ of it, some of us carry it with them well into their twenties (and beyond). The International Dermal Institute claims that 40-55% of the adult population have some form of persistent acne, with the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology stating that 54% of women over the age of 25 have some form of acne.
A difficultly with acne is the fact that it can be linked to a number of fairly broad causes, making it at times incredibly difficult to pinpoint and therefore treat.
Acne can stem from:
• Genetic predisposition
• A hormonal Imbalance
• Digestive dysfunction
• Vitamin/Mineral deficiencies
To put it simply; acne is your body telling you something’s out of whack! For those who have particularly persistent/aggressive acne, you might have to make several changes in order to see a sustained difference.
Please read on for further skin boosting tips!
Balance your Blood Sugar
A blood sugar spike can lead to inflammation within the body which may lead to the development of acne. Therefore, it is important first and foremost, to start the day off with a healthy, well balanced breakfast. Make sure to include a healthy protein and fat source to balance those blood sugar levels.
Add a teaspoon of cinnamon in your morning smoothie/sprinkle it over your porridge. One gram of cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels by 24% and reduce cholesterol by 18%.
Detoxify the Liver
Our liver is the powerhouse detoxifier within our bodies. If our livers can’t process a high intake of chemicals and pollutants, they’ll be expelled out of the body via other organs including the skin…which leads to acne! Therefore, look at reducing exposure to chemicals such as strong household cleaning products. Be mindful of Xenoestrogens from plastic Tupperware and harmful ingredients from personal products such cosmetics and deodorants i.e. parabens and aluminium.
It’s also beneficial to reduce lifestyle habits such as smoking and high alcohol consumption to help reduce the toxic load on the liver and help support detoxification processes.
Increase Anti-inflammatory Foods
As mentioned, acne is an inflammatory condition therefore it is incredibly beneficial to focus on an anti-inflammatory diet. Consider reducing processed foods and high sugar foods and swapping them for natural wholefood options. Increase your intake of oily fish as it’s a fantastic source of Omega 3 which is a potent anti-inflammatory source.
Include more of the below foods to fight inflammation:
Berries, green leafy veg, chilli, ginger, rosemary, sage, turmeric, olive oil, mushrooms, dark chocolate.
Improve Micronutrient Intake
An imbalanced gut microbiome has been linked to inflammatory processes within the body and can lead to, you guessed it…acne! In order to support your gut microbiome, it is important to introduce a wide variety of foods containing a range of micronutrients. As a result, this helps feed beneficial bacteria. Next time you head to the supermarket for your weekly food shop, remind yourself to focus on choosing several ‘colours of the rainbow’ when walking down the fruit and veg aisle.
Balance your Hormones
Acne usually appears for people in their adolescent years. A high influx of sex hormones travel throughout the body, signalling it to grow, develop and mature. Throughout post-puberty years, it’s important to focus on balancing our hormones as best as possible in order to maintain homeostasis and reduce inflammatory processes. We can help balance our hormones by:
1. Adopting stress reduction techniques to help you better respond to inevitable daily stressors
2. Increase intake of healthy fats (fats are the building blocks which help create and transport our hormones)
3. Aim for good quality undisrupted sleep (7-8 hours)
4. Avoid dairy (as it stimulates overproduction of growth hormones such as IGF-1 which has been shown to be associated to inflammatory skin conditions).
Review your Skincare Routine
Those who are acne prone tend to have slower skin proliferation (skin cell turnover). Slow skin proliferation can lead to a build up of dead skin cells on the skins surface, trapping bacteria and clogging pores. Clogged pores = acne. A great natural acid exfoliant is organic apple cider vinegar diluted in filtered water. Use a cotton swab to wipe across thoroughly cleansed skin and follow up with a calming natural moisturiser as part of your bedtime routine.
Although a regular skincare routine certainly helps, it is important to note that persistent acne usually starts from the inside out. Therefore, topical treatments are (in my opinion) more effective when treating an acne eruption, not entirely preventing it.
Try all (or as much as you can) of the above tips and let me know if they help.