Acne can be the bane of your existence. It’s just the worst, isn’t it? Even when it’s mild, it can keep you from looking and feeling your best, that’s for sure. I’ve had my own struggles with acne in the past, something I discuss in The Beauty Detox Solution. Improving your diet can definitely help a lot, as your skin is an eliminative organ that helps dispel toxins. Let’s start from the beginning though in our discussion…
What Is Acne?
Acne is a skin inflammation that can manifest as anything from small, red bumps to large, pus filled cysts. This inflammation occurs when the pores become blocked and the body responds with inflammation.
There are a number of myths about acne. The most common myth is that having dirty skin is the cause. It isn’t. Actually, scrubbing dirt into the skin may exacerbate the condition. Eating chocolate may not necessary directly cause it…but a high fat diet and dairy can definitely contribute to the condition. There was a correlation discovered between dairy and acne, although the seriousness always varies. A number of factors may be at play with creating acne. These include:
- Hormones: Hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, menstruation, and others can cause enlargement of the sebaceous glands, which then produce more sebum. The result is clogged pores and acne.
- Diet: Many dietary factors may contribute to acne. High fat foods, and foods that cause inflammation or result in increases in blood sugar can trigger an eruption.
- Toxicity: Toxic chemicals in the foods you eat, water you drink, and air you breathe can also cause blocked pores. Likewise, as you begin to cleanse your body of toxic chemicals you may notice a short outbreak of acne as these toxins work their way out of your body via your skin.
- Stress: Studies show stress increases sebum production, which can result in acne.
- Medications: Medications can contribute to acne in two ways. First, they increase toxicity in your body. Second, many medications affect the acne-related hormones such as androgens.
- Poor self confidence. On an energetic, mind-body connection level,poor self esteem, talking down to yourself, or repressed anger can all manifest in the physical form of acne.
Are Popular Acne Treatments Healthy?
Conventional acne treatment typically involves one of two chemicals: benzoyl peroxide or Accutane.
Accutane is an oral prescription medication. While it has demonstrated tremendous success at treating a specific type of acne (nodular acne), it also has a number of extremely dangerous side effects that make it NOT worth the cost of clear skin. These super scary side effects include:
- Birth defects and fetal death
- Premature births
- Mental health problems including suicidal ideation, depression, and psychosis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Liver damage
- Allergic reactions
- Thinning of hair
- Brittle nails
- Muscle pain and fatigue
- Menstrual irregularities
Benzoyl peroxide is a topical acne fighting ingredient found in both prescription and over-the-counter acne treatments. It produces free radicals in the skin, which can cause premature aging and are linked to a number of diseases including cancer. You don’t want to trade in zits for wrinkles. Benzoyl peroxide also causes extreme drying in the skin, which can lead to flaking, redness, and irritation.
Plus, topical treatments like this don’t get to the root cause of the acne.
Oust the Acne
The best and safest way to eradicate acne is with a healthy diet and lifestyle, as well as use of natural skincare products that leave your skin clean without chemicals. This allows you to fight acne naturally, without the use of harsh or dangerous chemicals and medications. Here are my recommendations.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleep fights stress and helps your body and hormonal systems function normally. Try for 7 to 8 hours each night.
- East mostly organic plants. These foods are anti-inflammatory powerhouses that minimize toxic buildup in your system, fight free radicals, and promote health and well-being. If you do eat animal protein, minimize your intake to once or twice per week of lean organic poultry or eggs (fish is full of mercury, PCBs and other toxins).
- Minimize processed foods. These foods contain chemicals and ingredients that contribute to toxicity and inflammation – both culprits in acne breakouts.
- Skip the dairy. A paper in Clinics in Dermatology discussed the link between hormones in dairy products and acne in humans.
- Eat a low-fat diet. Excessive fat is congestive in any form. Do not overdo so-called “good” fats like olive oil. I barely use any oil myself anymore, and cook with mostly vegetable broth. As I noted in the beginning of this blog, excessive fat in the diet can influence hormones, which can then influence acne.
- Cut out the sugar and refined starches. Sugar and starches also change your body’s hormonal balance. As blood sugar rises, so does insulin, which can upset your body’s overall hormonal balance.
- Detoxify. While detoxification may initially result in a little increase in acne, in the long-term your skin will be much clearer. Everyone needs to detoxify because our environments are filled with chemicals that gunk up the body. The Beauty Detox Solution has great suggestions for a full detoxification program.
- Drink plenty of pure water. Water helps flush chemicals from the body and cleanses skin from the inside out.
- Relieve stress and get some exercise. I’m a big fan of yoga, which accomplishes both of these goals in a single activity.
- Dry brush a few times per week to promote detoxification.
- Exfoliate. This removes dry skin that can clog pores. I’m a huge fan of Beauty without Cruelty’s AHA facial cleanser.
- Be nice to yourself. Seriously! If you say negative things to yourself I do believe it can manifest in physical ways…including possibly acne. When you look in the mirror affirm how grateful you are for your healthy, strong body, instead of saying something negative. When you love yourself, everything truly does start to get better, in all areas.
I understand the desire for clear, acne-free skin. Believe me, I know how much it can affect your life when annoying zits come up. But I urge you to get the root cause and follow the recommendations I list above about changing your lifestyle, and especially foods to definitely avoid.
Don’t go for Accutane and other scary popular acne treatments. Your health matters and these treatments can do serious damage for the long run. What good is clear skin if you are sick or internally imbalanced? That’s why I recommend natural acne-reduction methods that are far safer and much more effective than commercial acne products – without the scary side effects.