What is it?
Acne is a skin disorder that affects our pilosebaceous untis (our oil glands). There are a few different categories including; comedomal, papular, pustular and or nodulocystic. It often occurs with hormone fluctuations.
Why does it occur?
Acne can occur due to many reasons. Certain foods can trigger it, A body high in inflammation, hormonal imbalances, poor gut health, genetics, the bacteria P. acnes and nutrient deficiencies all contribute to the severity and occurrence of acne vulgaris.
My 7 top tips/ nutrients/ herbs for helping improve acne vulgaris:
1) A gluten and dairy free diet- Most conditions are aggravated or made better by the health of our gut. Gluten and dairy (casein protein) are known to cause leaky gut, aggravating the gut and causing inflammation by releasing proteins that produce gut permeability. If your gut function is not optimal, your skin certainly isn’t going to be either (it can show up in other skin conditions too, not just acne). It’s truthfully not as hard as it sounds and is totally worth it once you start reaping the benefits of going GF and DF.
2) Balance your hormones- firstly if you’re thinking you’re hormones are out of whack, you’re seeing acne flare ups around that time of the month, your going through puberty, perhaps getting headaches, experiencing pain with ovulation, your periods are irregular, too heavy, too light, painful etc than these are just some of the signs you might experience if you have hormonal imbalances. (I can order hormonal testing if you want to see exactly what’s going on, as can other health care professionals). There are many beautiful herbs and nutrient’s available to help rebalance hormones and support liver detoxification where required. Vitex is a great hormonal modulator and a study has shown that a 70% improvement within 3 months can be seen when administered in correct form and dosages.
3) Zinc- Modulates inflammatory activity and has antimicrobial activity. Zinc is a powerful nutrient and crucial for skin and tissue healing and repair.
4) Vitamin A- Vital for collagen production and skin cell differentiation. Vitamin A supplementation has been shown to reduce the severity of acne and can be used orally or topically.
5) Tea Tree- can be applied topically and has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Studies have shown that it can be more effective than benzoyl peroxide and reduces the severity and quantity of acne lesions.
6) Vitamin C- A super antioxidant which helps to reduce inflammation and cutaneous lipid peroxidation.
7) Improve your gut health- Check out my article and tips on how to improve gut health in this article here! Improving your gut health will significantly reduce inflammation and any associated redness and can help to improve liver detoxification as an added benefit. Efficient liver detox is vital for skincare, because with better liver function we can better eliminate the toxins and excess hormones out of our body.
These are just a FEW things that can help, though there are many, many more nutrients, herbs and lifestyle factors that can help in reducing the severity of acne. Herbal tonics, supplements with key nutrients and herbs etc are available to health care professionals and there are some over the shelf products though many of these can be of insignificant quality, however, some may be worth a try!
I truly hope this helps any acne sufferers out there, as someone who had severe acne for such a long period, I wish I knew than what I know now. My skin sure isn’t perfect now and I still get the odd breakout but it has nothing on what my skin has been like in the past. When I gave up gluten and dairy when trialling eliminations for my son, I seen the most improvement in my skin.
See a healthcare professional (Naturopath, nutritionist or herbalist) before supplementing to ensure dosages and forms of herbal medicines and nutritional supplements are specific for your needs. You also want to be sure that any supplements or medicines do not interact with any current medications so always check with a health care practitioner.