Let’s talk about acne. Acne is something many people experience and something that can be attributed to many different factors such as diet, lifestyle, allergies, stress, poor skin hygiene and most commonly, hormones. Unfortunately there is no quick or easy fix for acne, as most often it needs to be treated from the inside and requires some trial and error.
I worked in skin clinics, day spas and beauty salons for over a decade and have seen acne clients from young teenagers to adults, form a few monthly hormone breakouts to more severe and ongoing cases. While I always knew that treating acne topically would only give so much benefit, I never knew the extent of just how important lifestyle and diet really were.
Before I go on, I would like to point out that acne, or any other skin condition for that matter, will be different for each person and have different causative factors that need to be considered, so if you do want a holistic treatment plan please seek help from a qualified skin clinician as well as a holistic nutritionist or naturopath.
Here are a few tips and tricks I have picked up over the years that I find beneficial, as well as a list of some of the best skin care products I have come across.
We know that diet plays a pretty big role in everything that goes on in our body, and with our skin being the largest organ in the body, anything that we eat that our bodies don’t agree with, our skin will naturally show via its processes of elimination.
Common trigger foods include;
- Dairy–commonly linked to inflammation and have been said to increase production of sebum, leading to more oiliness. It can also increase male sex hormones (androgens and testosterone) and increase insulin levels, increasing incidence of breakouts.
- Sugar, including simple carbohydrates such as pasta, breads, biscuits and chocolate- studies have shown both sugar and caffeine can cause an increased spike in insulin levels, leading to increased inflammatory response and an increased production of sebum. While these foods are ok in small doses, it’s always best to opt for wholegrain and fibre rich foods to avoid the sudden blood sugar spikes.
- Fast foods and trans fats- trigger inflammatory response and can lead to acne if consumed in high doses. Opt for healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado oil, avocados, omega 3’s (found in oily fish), coconut oil or even a high quality grass-fed butter, avoiding fast food chains and unhealthy fried foods.
Ensure you eat plenty of nutrient rich foods such as;
- Antioxidant rich foods (think rich colours such as deep greens, red and purple foods) can help regenerate new skin cells (predominantly beta-carotene) and reduce inflammation.
- High fibre foods help to ensure your bowels are functioning effectively, ensuring proper elimination of toxins, as well as ensure your body is able to absorb and utilise ingested nutrient much more effectively.
- Liver supportive foods ensure your liver is able to function efficiently, clearing out any unwanted metabolites and hormones that may lead to acne. It is also important to consider external pollutants we may come in contact with that could be causing us harm, and the role the liver plays to keep us as healthy as possible.
- Probiotic rich foods (Think fermented foods) help to provide a healthy gut microbiome, which has been shown to help improve incidence and severity of both acne and rosacea.
- Consume zinc rich foods–zinc helps to assist with cell growth and replications and is incredibly healing
- Drink plenty of water to assist your body with clearing unwanted waste. This can be made easy by ensuring you have a large bottle with you at all times, as well as adding some fresh lemon juice, cucumber or mint to make it easier and more enjoyable to drink.
- Speak to a qualified nutritionist to get a tailored eating plan suitable for your needs and lifestyle, as well as advice on appropriate nutritional supplementations if and where required.
Some things you can do at home to ensure healthy skin hygiene include;
- Make sure you cleanse your skin daily with gentle face wash. This ensures you remove any excess sebum, any environmental pollutants and make up and minimise further build up of impurities in your pores.
- Use a gentle PH balanced toner to remove any residue of cleanser, restore PH and prep your skin for your moisturiser.
- Moisturise with a hydrating face cream to restore natural moisture to your skin. Many people believe that the best way to treat acne and oily skin is to strip it dry, however this leads to more damage than good.
- Use a face mask 1-2 times a week to give your skin a deeper clean and provide some additional nourishment. Finding a soothing mask will also ensure your skin can heal and reduce any angry flare ups.
There are also some great skin care treatments available out there which can help reduce acne, scarring and redness and provide education about how you can best manage a healthy skin care routine, maintain skin hygiene, and of course provide you with some TLC at the same time. Some of the treatments you can look into are;
- LED light treatment– A soothing, stimulating non-invasive light treatment to help target cells at a dermal layer to help heal and rejuvenate the skin.
- Deep Cleansing Facials provide a deep clean, extractions and calming to your skin. Skin peels are also great for a deeper clean that can reach dermal layers and promote skin healing and renewal.
- Skin needling/ Derma stamp treatments are not the most relaxing treatment to have, however they are great to help stimulate and remodel old acne scars by puncturing the skin and breaking down old scar tissue, thereby encouraging growth of new healthy skin cells.
- High Frequency treatment helps to increase blood circulation, collagen and elastin production, and reduce bacteria due to its high antibacterial effect. This a quick and easy treatment that can be added into almost any facial treatment for a little to no extra cost (depending where you go).
It is always advised to book in for a through skin consultation for assessment and expert advice.
I hope this has provided some further insight for you, please leave a comment if you have any further questions.