Acne can be a miserable, chronic condition, with painful pimples, pustules, blackheads, nodules, and cysts appearing primarily on the face, as well as the upper arms, chest and back.
While acne typically begins in puberty, it’s not uncommon in people into their 20s, 30s and beyond. Many women experience an increase in acne in their 40s due to hormonal changes.
At best, acne is unsightly. At worst, it can leave permanent scars, and not just on the skin. Acne brings emotional distress that affects self-esteem and can lead to social anxiety and depression.
Potential Causes of Acne
Acne is often related to a combination of factors, which may include:
- Digestive disturbances
- Food Intolerances
- Poor liver function
- Hormonal imbalances
- Certain medications like the contraceptive pill
- Dietary choices
- Family history
Acne occurs when the hair follicles on the skin become blocked by too much oil. Hormonal imbalances such as too much oestrogen or androgen (male hormone) can increase the amount of sebum your skin produces.
When this happens, the bacteria that usually resides harmlessly in our skin cells begin to multiply rapidly, disrupting the balance of the skin microbiome.
Inflammation and Acne
The overgrowth of bacteria stimulates the body’s inflammatory; thus, acne can be thought of as an inflammatory condition that affects the body’s largest organ, the skin.
Altered Gut Function
Like the skin, the gut has its own microbiome that plays a key role in the progression of acne. An imbalance in the gut microbiome known as intestinal dysbiosis negatively impacts the skin microbiome, contributing to acne and rosacea. Upsetting the delicate balance of gut bacteria may occur due to chronic stress, poor diet, food intolerances and lifestyle factors.
Dietary changes can have a direct influence on acne by the modulation of inflammatory cytokines. Some fruits and vegetables in particular contain powerful anti-inflammatory properties, so eating a diet rich in apples, bananas, berries, citrus fruits, broccoli, and cauliflower is recommended.
Also eliminating the foods that you are intolerant to will take a load off your digestive system allowing it to repair and heal.
Naturopath for Acne
Rather than just treating the symptoms of acne, naturopathy is focused on identifying the root cause.
The appearance of acne is an indication that something is going on at a deeper level in the body, so all of the body’s interrelated systems need to be considered. It’s also important that lifestyle factors such as sleep, diet, food intolerances, stress, and exercise are taken into account.
At Capalaba Natural Health, our award-winning naturopath will work with your body to stimulate its natural immunity and reduce inflammation. This will involve checking your symptoms, hormone levels and testing for food intolerances, before developing a treatment plan, which may include supplements and lifestyle or dietary change medicines.
Treatment may also involve probiotics that optimise the health of the gut, and herbs like milk thistle and dandelion to improve liver function.
Taming Angry Skin
The topical application of natural acids and minerals can also play a role in acne treatment by soothing red, inflamed skin.
Alpha hydroxy acid removes the top layer of dead skin cells which “unplugs” blocked pores, and removes excess oil, helping pimples and lesions to heal.
Azelaic Acid is a natural acid found in wholegrain cereals. It has an anti-inflammatory action and reduces skin pigmentation changes. A formulation of 20% azelaic acid has been shown to be as effective as conventional retinoid and antibiotic preparations when used twice a week.
Zinc is a trace mineral that can help people with mild to moderate inflammatory facial acne lesions. It’s found in certain foods such as some types of seafood, meat, and nuts.
If you are looking for a natural and holistic approach to managing problem skin, book an appointment with our naturopath for acne treatment today!