Skin conditions are very complex. I endured acne for many years when I was younger and I wish someone had given me the right information back then to help me heal my skin and self confidence. Each case is very different and there are many things that can help you, but here are some of the first things I recommend trying if you are suffering with acne.
1. Eliminate all dairy from the diet. Dairy foods can cause increased levels of a little skin enemy called IGF-1, and also have a hormonal component that can cause flare-ups. There is a lot of scientific evidence demonstrating strong links between dairy intake and acne, so try eliminating all dairy for two weeks to see if you notice an improvement.
2. Take a skin healing supplement containing silica, zinc and other skin health boosters like vitamin C, burdock root and vitamin A. I like Herbs of Gold Ultra Silica Complex or Q Silica Naturally Clear Skin Support Formula.
3. Get your blood sugar under control. Very often I will find that people with acne have massive cravings for sugary foods, bread, pasta, potatoes – anything carb-heavy. They might also have frequent urination, stubborn tummy fat and in women, polycystic ovaries. This picture can indicate that your blood sugar levels are out of control, which can directly cause acne. I will explain how in more detail in another post, but there is so much evidence for this it’s crazy that more people don’t know about the link. To get your blood sugar levels sorted, you need to reduce your intake of all grains, potatoes, sugary foods and fruits and increase your intake of protein rich foods and good quality fats. This is easier said than done when you’re craving all the time, so take a supplement containing chromium, gymnema and cinnamon which will reduce your cravings while balancing your blood sugar levels.
4. Use natural skincare products. We all know having a good skincare routine is essential when you have acne, but unfortunately many products marketed to acne sufferers just make the problem worse! Cleansing with oils such as straight coconut oil or MooGoo’s Oil Cleansing products can be surprisingly effective for acne sufferers as it helps remove excess oil and toxic matter without drying the skin. Basically you smooth the oil into the skin then remove it with a warm face cloth. Clay masks are excellent and can be used 1-2 times weekly; green clay is best for oily, acneous skin. Steaming the face is the best way to clear blackheads. If the blemish can be extracted with very gentle pressure after steaming then go for it, if it requires more effort, leave it alone. Moisturise with something healing such as Elemental Herbology Moisture Milk or Sukin Sensitive Skin Moisturiser.
5. Use natural makeup products. Applying a great foundation and concealer can make you feel so much better when you are suffering with acne, but it’s important to make sure your products aren’t making the underlying problem worse. Healthy foundations from brands such as Kjaer weis, Adorn Mineral Cosmetics, Eco Minerals, Inika and RMS will make your skin look more beautiful while providing nourishment to the skin.
6. Look after your gut. Digestive issues are strongly linked to acne and other skin disorders. Take a daily probiotic such as Inner Health Plus Dairy Free and consider taking glutamine, slippery elm powder or Ethical Nutrients IBS Support if you have apparent digestive issues. Consider eliminating gluten from the diet (gluten is one of my personal skin enemies) or looking into other food intolerances as these can show up as skin problems.
(Side note: where at all possible, I recommend that you avoid taking Isotretinoin (aka Roaccutane, Accutane) until you have truly exhausted all other options. This drug has severe long and short term side effects associated with it and while it may work well initially for some people, it can cause lasting damage to the skin. Many of my makeup clients have extremely dry skin and scarring years after taking this drug. If you are on this medication or are experiencing dry skin after taking it, you need to take good quality fish oils such as Ethical Nutrients Hi-Strength Fish Oils. If you are put on strong antibiotics for your acne, it is important to take a good quality probiotic (separate dosage by 2 hours) to minimise harmful side effects.)