A lot of time and money goes into trying to find our miracle skin care product but here’s the truth: We need to look deeper. Acne is the body’s way of communicating to you that there is a deeper imbalance. Once balance is restored, skin care products should no longer be required to maintain clear skin. Healing the inner body ultimately heals the skin.
Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States and although it infamously begins in puberty, adult prevalence is on the rise. Acne affects up to 50% of women in their 20’s and over 25% of women in their 40's. It can make you feel less confident and it can change the way you interact with the world.
Topical products and pharmaceuticals often come with serious side effects and fail to address the actual cause of the condition. It is important to understand that prescriptions such as Accutane, Spironolactone and oral contraceptives for the treatment of acne are not actually healing the body and solving the problem. Instead, we are providing a temporary fix. Here are the top 5 ways to enjoy clear and glowing skin for the long term without medications or toxic products:
1. Start with nutrition
Acne has historically been referred to as “diabetes of the skin” due to its close relation with blood sugar and insulin abnormalities. Regulating your blood sugar and insulin levels are key to clear skin. Basically, this means eating the right foods at the right times. But, what are the right foods?
Aim for a wholesome, balanced diet rich in fresh, fibrous fruits and vegetables, healthy protein sources, healthy fats and whole grains. Compelling research suggests that the ultimate acne prevention diet has a low glycemic load and high fish consumption. An experienced physician will use targeted therapeutics to identify and correct nutrient deficiencies that are often seen in acne patients such as Vitamin A, E, D and Zinc. Consider consulting a naturopathic physician to discuss the most appropriate treatment options.
2. Support your detoxification pathways
The liver transforms toxins into a form that can be eliminated by the body. Acne sufferers are notorious for having less than optimal detoxification systems. Skin is the largest organ of elimination and if detox pathways are sluggish, it can show up in the skin. An experienced physician will optimize the detox process at every step of the way to balance hormones and restore skin health. Some of the best ways to support liver function include hydration, exercise, cruciferous vegetables, high fiber diet and removal of common toxic exposures in our daily lives. Supplementation can be added for additional support. The goal is to heal your skin completely so that you are not dependent on using topical treatments or medication.
3. Heal the gut
Poor gut health can manifest as many different skin conditions. An imbalance in the microbiome, known as dysbiosis, occurs when the bad microbes take over the good guys. Even in the absence of any gut symptoms, many seemingly unrelated disorders could be traced back to poor gut health such as a hormonal imbalance, autoimmune diseases, joint aches and pains, weight loss resistance and almost any inflammatory condition. A healthy gut helps the body to manage inflammation and is an underlying component to the healthy functioning of our organ systems, including the skin. Healing and supporting the gut involves eating the right foods, daily probiotics, taking the right antimicrobials and targeted supplementation such as glutamine or zinc. Once repaired, all other health problems may miraculously disappear because what goes on in the gut is an underlying component to our health.
4. Reduce stress
This may seem a little obvious for most ailments but it is underrated when treating conditions of the skin. There is a deep physiological connection between skin health and stress. Discovering ways to calm the body and find balance within our daily lives activates the parasympathetic nervous system and allows our body to rest, digest, relax and recover. Fortunately, there are so many natural ways to combat stress. Some examples include exercise, yoga, meditation, deep breathing, reaching out to a friend, laugh, be present, take an adventure, use your vacation time at work, etc. A nutritionist or naturopathic physician can help someone become empowered in making lifestyle changes for a healthier life.
5. Rejuvenate your skin
Many acne sufferers will present with visible scars, damage or lingering hyperpigmentation spots from where a pimple, cyst or nodule once was. A number of options exist to rejuvenate the skin and start fresh. The photofacial is a popular procedure that uses light absorption to initiate a sequence of events that exerts bactericidal (bacteria-killing) and anti-inflammatory effects on the area. Longer wavelengths can be used to target sebaceous glands and reduce sebum secretion while others can be used to target cystic acne and inflammatory lesions. An experienced physician will perform a clinical evaluation of your skin and customize laser settings specifically to your presentation. Treatment options for acne scars, depending on the severity, include microneedling with or without platelet rich plasma, laser resurfacing and/or the ProFractional laser are some of the deepest procedures available.
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