10 Holistic ways to treat your acne
Treat your acne naturally from the inside out with these 10 effective tips.
*I mention the term "inflammation" frequently in this article and wanted to provide you with the definition for better understanding.
According to Healthline, "Inflammation refers to your body's process of fighting against things that harm it, such as infections, injuries, and toxins, in an attempt to heal itself. When something damages your cells, your body releases chemicals that trigger a response from your immune system."
If your body is in a constant state of inflammation, or trying to heal itself, it can lead to chronic problems such as acne, digestive issues, and disfunction of your organs, hormones, and nervous system. Everything is connected and that's why it is best to approach healing your your acne from a holistic standpoint.
1. Limit sugar
Consuming some sugar is not bad, but it is important to be aware of how much you're consuming. According to the AHA the recommended amount of sugar for women is 25 grams per day (that's assuming you get it from fruits and natural carbs) but the average American consumes 77 grams, often from unhealthy sources. Too much sugar can lead to an increase in an insulin hormone, IGF-1. This increases sebum, keratin, and inflammation resulting in acne.
Sugar also feeds unhealthy gut bacteria which is another topic we're about to touch on.
2. Improve your gut health
If you find yourself with breakouts, stomach issues, and bloating I highly suggest you consider your gut health. The gut is considered the second brain because of how much is actually controls and impacts your body. The gut can be harmed if there is an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria, a leak in the lining, or food allergies, to name a few.
When the gut is not well, your body may show its irritation often through the three symptoms mentioned above.
If you want to learn more check out these other articles:
3. Avoid cow dairy
Most people struggle to properly digest dairy, resulting in inflammation and an increase in the IGF-1 hormone mentioned earlier. This is related to gut health but I felt it needed its own point because I've personally found it to be a huge culprit to my acne (especially on my back and shoulders). There's also a theory that cow dairy nowadays has added hormones that mess with our own, thus resulting in a hormone imbalance and breakouts.
If you're not sure where to start when it comes to giving up dairy, have no fear. There are so many dairy-free options available and all the recipes shared HERE are dairy-free.
4. Check for Food Sensitivities
On the note of eliminating cows milk, you may want to check if there is anything else you need to remove. A lot of treating your acne from the inside out means targeting the things that could be causing inflammation. If you have food allergies or sensitivities such as the common ones: dairy, gluten, eggs, you could find breakouts to be common.
You can do a food elimination diet, take a food sensitivity test at home (purchase one online), or ask your doctor to do blood work. I've done all three and each have helped me to learn more about how my body is reacting to certain foods. Once you know what to remove from your diet you could start seeing your acne clear up after a few weeks.
5. Investigate if you have a hormone imbalance
When a woman has a hormone imbalance such as high androgens (male dominant hormones) she may experience increased acne. In my personal situation, I actually had too much estrogen (female dominant hormones) that weren't properly leaving my body, resulting in inflammation. This can be due to a back up in the detoxification system.
If you suspect you might have a hormone imbalance, talk to your doctor or naturopath doctor about getting tested. I highly recommend that you balance your hormones naturally. Many conventional doctors have told women to get on birth control to help their skin but that actually results in preventing your body from creating hormones all together and relying on synthetic harmful ones.
If you'd like to read about my hormone journey and what I'm doing check out my article:
6. Unclog your detox system
Your detox system is essentially all your organs: lungs, skin, digestive tract, liver and kidneys. It's your body's way of protecting you. These organs work together to get all the pesticides, environmental chemicals, bacteria, food waste, extra hormones, and anything else harmful out of the body. They do this through bowel movements, throwing up, sweat, and the skin (resulting in acne).
You can improve your detox system by drinking enough water (8 cups daily), eliminating highly processed ingredients, cleaning your whole foods, and limiting your exposure to toxins in your beauty and home products.
7. Detox your beauty products
The U.S has some of the least regulated beauty products in the industry. It's only been over the past few years we've started to see a big movement to demand safer products. There are ingredients in our products that actually can cause more acne, despite what it advertises. Some of these ingredients are strong chemicals that strip the skin of its natural oils, causing it to be inflamed and over compensate with more oil.
Since we can't memorize a list of the hundreds of harmful ingredients to stay away from; try to spot products that are transparent of their ingredients, avoid anything with "fragrance" in it, choose products free of sulfates/parabens/phylates/mineral oils. Also you can utilize apps like the EWG or Think Dirty.
If you're interested in additional information check out my articles:
8. Get outside
There are studies that prove being in nature helps decrease stress. For many of us stress is common whether it be from life, work or external events. Even drinking too much caffeine or eating an unhealthy diet can increase stress. If you're constantly in a state of stress this triggers your adrenal glands to create excess cortisol, leading to inflammation. As you've already realized inflammation in the body can be a big culprit of acne.
By being outside, your nervous system has the ability to calm down which can decrease inflammation. In Japan they call this "forest bathing".
9. Red light therapy
Red light the use of red wavelengths that penetrate your skin and create production of new cells. It seems to be growing in popularity for its ability to help treat skin conditions, acne scars, and reducing body inflammation. You can visit a place that offers red light therapy or purchase your own to use at home.
10. Be patient
Despite what commercials advertise, you can't heal your skin overnight. Our skin is the window to our internal health and when you start to notice acne, that's a sign that there is something deeper going on. It's going to take time, trial, and error. As my doctor has shared with me, it takes 3 months of consistency before you can start seeing any results-so patience is key.
I hope you found this information useful and feel inspired to start implementing at least some of these into your own life! Share with me your thoughts and reach out if you have any questions at email@example.com or DM on Instagram @brittbehealthy.