Having suffered from acne as a teen and into my early 20s, I can certainly relate to how frustrating the condition can be. Acne can take a big hit on self-esteem as well as leave lasting scarring and permanent skin damage. Our faces are the first thing people see about us which makes it even more of a reason why acne is a condition that has more severe consequences than simply being an undesirable side-effect of our teenage years. Acne can start as early as puberty and can last straight into adulthood and beyond. So what are some things that can be done to treat acne? Here are a few tips that have worked for me as well as patients.
Proper dietary habits
This may sound simple and perhaps this is something you have already attempted in trying to control acne. But in order for healing to happen, the gut – and thus your diet – must be in check. I’m a huge fan of a Paleo-style way of eating, which is really a label slapped on how we should all be eating (in my opinion): whole, nutrient-dense foods. As in, if it’s in a package or there are ingredients listed that you don’t know how to pronounce, it’s not something you should be consuming on a regular basis. Ensuring you’re getting an adequate amount of healthy fats, nutrient-dense grass-fed animal proteins, fresh produce and fermented food products will go a long way in supporting gut health as well as skin health.
While the root cause of acne can be different for each person, the increased production of oils and sloughing of dead skin cells on your face creates a breeding ground for bacteria that is naturally found on your skin. When the environment is right, these organisms can grow out of control and lead to a worsening of acne. Using both systemic and local antimicrobial support can help. This can be done with oral supplementation of certain herbal extracts or nutrients that exhibit antimicrobial activity as well as topical application of antimicrobial products. And a word to the wise: antimicrobial products should never be used for long periods of time and a qualified health care practitioner should monitor use of these substances. They are incredibly powerful and a little can go a long way!
For many women, the connection between acne and hormones can be clear. Fluctuating hormone levels during a monthly cycle can wreak some serious havoc on the health of your skin. Even for men, hormones can cause problems. The key here is to support proper production, utilization and elimination of these hormones and prevent hormonal fluctuations from causing the skin changes that can lead to acne. This can be achieved by a number of different avenues such as dietary changes, liver and gut support and correcting any nutritional deficiencies. Balancing hormones can help decrease inflammation in the skin and calm down excess oil and dead skin cell build-up.
Acne can be a challenging condition to treat but with the right skills, tools and treatment plan, it’s completely manageable.