Movement + Exercise. A major factor in cases of adult acne is lymphatic system health. When lymphatic fluid is congested, it can accumulate beneath the skin and the body is forced to excrete metabolic waste products out through the skin. Unlike the blood, lymphatic fluid doesn’t have a heart to pump it. Movement and exercise is essential as muscles compress on lymphatic vessels, pushing the lymph towards the liver. Drinking plenty of water, avoiding congestive foods like dairy and wheat can be helpful.
Dairy products have been found to increase levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 increases circulating androgens such as testosterone which, in turn, up-regulates the production of facial sebum. As well as affecting sebum production, androgens cause keratinocytes (a type of skin cell) to go into over production. This all results in clogging of follicles and acne formation.
Low GI diet Similarly, to dairy, foods that are high on the glycemic index (GI) increase IGF-1 and androgen production. High GI foods are often refined carbohydrates, full of sugar and burn up quickly. They cause a spike in insulin, wreaking havoc on your blood sugar levels, yet don’t keep you full. Reduce your intake of refined sugar, desserts, pastries, bread, pasta, lollies, chocolate and sweetened drinks.
Hydrate – We are made up of 70% water and water is essential for cell skin turnover and detoxification.
Use natural skin care our skin is our largest organ and absorbs everything we put onto it. Products that contain harmful ingredients add to our toxic load, place additional stress on the liver and increases overall inflammation, which can perpetuate symptoms and often make acne worse
Reduce Stress by doing activities that bring you joy is the first step, spending time with people who make you laugh is also imperative and incorporating stress reducing practices like exercise, yoga, meditation and stepping into nature is key. Stepping into nature works in so many ways; it will calm your nervous system and will also aid both your skin and gut microbiota by allowing you to breathe and absorb beneficial bacteria from the natural environment.
Stop picking it is spreading bacteria risking repeated infections and promoting scarring.
Soak up some sun (safely) – Vitamin D has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
Supplements for Preventing Acne
Zinc is one of the most important minerals for acne. It helps to reduce androgen production, speed up skin healing, balance sebum production, reduce inflammation, reduce keratin production. Some research has even shown that it can help prevent acne scars. Low levels are often associated with acne, and the deficiency risk can be higher in women, particularly if you are on the contraceptive pill.
Magnesium is an important nutrient for fighting inflammation (acne is inflammatory). It is also essential for sleep and reducing stress which when improved, reduces inflammation.
Vitamin A is responsible for maintaining the health of skin cells. It is also anti-inflammatory.
Because the vitamin is fat-soluble, it builds up in your body, and a high intake of more than 10,000 international units (IU) can be toxic. This is especially true during pregnancy, so women who are planning on becoming pregnant should check with their doctors before starting any supplements.
Probiotics and prebiotics because our gut flora and digestive tracts have a strong impact on acne and rosacea as well. A natural way to increase your intake of good bacteria is to eat fermented foods, consume quality probiotics. Especially after long term antibiotics use, probiotics can be essential.
Omega 3’s oils are anti-inflammatory, they boost immune function, and they are good for the skin, which make them a natural match for acne. They are found mostly in cold water fish, but can also be found in flax seeds. These fats not only help to soothe inflamed skin thanks to their antioxidant properties, but they can also help regulate hormones. Omega-3 fats can be found in nuts, flax, hemp seeds, avocadoes, olive oil and many types of fish.
Herbs for Preventing Acne
Tea tree is a herb used to treat skin problems and wounds. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory abilities that may topically reduce the number of acne lesions.
Spearmint has anti-androgen properties. Spearmint tea can help to clear excess androgens which helps to suppress excess production of sebum.
Licorice and Peony. Licorice is a potent anti-inflammatory and adrenal tonic while White Peony is used in traditional Chinese Medicine as a nourishing, root medicine and general female tonic. Peony helps balance oestrogen. The combination of Peony and Licorice is an herbal treatment for the type of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) where excess androgens are an issue.
Chaste tree this herb helps clear hormonal acne by indirectly raising your progesterone levels. Chaste tree works on your pituitary gland and suppresses the release of a hormone called prolactin. Stress causes your pituitary gland to release extra prolactin which in turn suppresses progesterone production. Less progesterone can mean more oil and more acne. I am cautious in using chaste tree in PCOS. Treatment often takes about 3 months.
Blue flag is a lymphatic herb that helps decongest your skin. It also supports the liver.
Calendula is a potent lymphatic and anti-inflammatory with antimicrobial properties. It addresses most underlying causes of acne
Dandelion Root is a liver tonic and mild diuretics. It aids in detoxification and constipation.
Burdock is specifically a depurative for acne.
Golden seal is nature’s antibiotic. It is used in a cute gastrointestinal infection and as a potent antimicrobial.
Turmeric is specific for inflammation but another action which makes turmeric useful in acne include working as an antioxidant – specifically reducing lipid peroxidation which is a driver of acne lesions.
St Mary’s Thistle is the liver protector and healer with strong antioxidants. It is used often after coming off the OCP or Roaccutane which both can affect the liver function.