Acne is a common skin disorder which affects the pores and the underlying blood vessels. Although it is a common condition, it can greatly affect self-esteem levels, to the point where you don’t even want to leave the house – don’t worry, we’ve all been there! There are a number of reasons as to why you suffer from acne. These are characterised by modifiable and non-modifiable factors.
Non-modifiable factors really translate into; things you don’t have all that much control over. These factors are common during adolescence, when individuals are going through puberty.
There are additionally a number of modifiable factors, where we can assist in the prevention of acne. By modifying these factors, it will allow great change, leading to glowing, dewy and clear skin. These factors include diet, hormonal imbalances, makeup, face creams, clothing, medications, stress and gastrointestinal health.
The factors we will be touching on today include; hormonal imbalances, gut health and diet.
Hormones have a big role to play in acne. Often, individuals with high levels of androgens will experience acne. Androgens are the ‘male’ sex hormones, which both men and females have. When androgen levels are too high, this can cause an increase in testosterone, progesterone and potentially decrease oestrogen. This increase in androgen levels is what can cause acne. Other symptoms of high androgens include excess facial and body hair, deep or hoarse voice, irregular periods, enlargement of the clitoris, abdominal fat, high blood pressure and insulin resistance. High androgen levels are closely linked to polycystic ovarian syndrome, where a major symptomatology is acne.
Your skin is really a mirror of what’s going on inside you! So, if your skin is breaking out in acne, eczema or a rash, your body is trying to tell you something. Your gut is closely linked to your nervous system, so if you’re feeling stressed, chances are your gut function will be inhibited. Stress can cause bowel motions to change, it may slow down or increase transit time. With a slow gut, you will be recycling all the waste material that’s inside you. This will lead to inflammation, congestion, uptake of by products and you gut microbiomes will be negatively affected.
All of these factors will affect your skin, potentially leading to acne. Similarly, if your transit time is too quick, this won’t give your body enough time to take in all of the vitamins and nutrients. This will mean nutrients that are vital for skin health won’t be absorbed including zinc, vitamin A and vitamin D. If you’re experiencing any gut and/or high levels of stress we can work on this together through diet, nutraceuticals and herbal medicine.
A good diet is integral to good skin, for a few reasons. Firstly, the intake of sugar increases levels of insulin, IGF-1 hormone and mTOR. This causes an increase in sebum production, inflammation and keratin, all of which are involved in acne. Therefore, the consumption of sugar is directly linked to acne. So say goodbye to all of your sweets, soft drinks, chocolates and baked goods!
Secondly, diet either destroys or nourishes the gut. When you’re eating a diet high in inflammatory and processed foods, you gut will be inflamed and not absorb any nutrients. As previously discussed, this can be a direct cause of acne. Thirdly, dairy can be highly inflammatory and additionally contains mTOR which can be the cause of acne.
What to do when you’re feeling a break out coming?
Finally, here are my top 8 tips for improving acne:
So, how can I help? We can run through your health history, lifestyle factors, have a look at your hormones and diet. This will ascertain the cause of acne and we can work from there! Herbal medicine is extremely helpful in the reduction of acne as it can assist in excreting waste from your body, improve lymphatic movement, reduce stress and balance hormone levels.