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Acne is a condition experienced by millions of people. Defined as the occurrence of inflamed or infected subcutaneous glands in the skin, acne is characterised by the appearance of red, often painful, pimples. These can occur anywhere on the body, but are most prevalent on the face, neck, back and chest. Pimples develop when the pores of the skin become blocked by dead skin and an oily substance called sebum. The blocked pore then becomes infected by bacteria, which feed off the sebum and start to thrive.
As acne is expressed through the skin, it is often treated topically through the application of different skin creams, medications and antiseptic solutions. But although external factors such as dirty and greasy environments can exacerbate the symptoms of acne, they are not the underlying cause. In fact, acne is generally the external expression of an internal change or shift in the body. This can result from hormonal imbalances, such as those experienced during puberty, menstruation and pregnancy, internal inflammation and allergies or digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Although topical creams and solutions may unblock pores, kill bacteria and alleviate the symptoms of acne, they don’t heal the cause. In addition, emotional health can contribute to acne. Feelings of stress, anxiety, anger or depression can cause disharmony in the body that manifest as eruptions in the skin.
Note: for all symptoms of illness, we recommend to start with a full and cleanse and detoxification of the body, to help reset the system, eliminate toxins and replenish the organs. See our article on detoxification for more information.
Some foods cause an inflammatory or hormonal response in the body that can trigger acne. To combat this, include more natural anti-inflammatories and antioxidant-rich foods in your diet. Those rich in vitamins C, A, E and D are particularly good for inflammation. Avoid eating foods high in sugar, processed carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, as these boost insulin levels and cause the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. However, not all fats are bad! Including more omega-3 rich foods in your diet can actually help relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety and also calm the digestive tract. Avoid eating milk and dairy products if you have acne, particularly if you are prone to food sensitivities or allergies. Milk has natural hormones that can upset your natural hormonal balance. In addition, make sure you’re getting enough prebiotic and probiotics to replenish your intestinal flora. Avoid meat products, particularly red meat, from animals who have received growth hormones. Choose only organic, naturally-fed sources, or avoid completely. Finally, be sure to include enough fibre and complex carbohydrates in your diet to regulate digestion and keep emotions in check.
If you are experiencing acne, it is worth making sure you have enough time to sleep and enjoy some light exercise everyday. This can help balance stress and anxiety levels, and reduce inflammation. Meditation is also a fantastic stress reliever. In addition, be sure to drink plenty of water to flush the body of internal toxins and cleanse the skin from the inside out. You can also try making a natural skin cleanser by mixing 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts water.
|Hormonal imbalance||Dark, leafy greans||Processed foods|
|Stress & anxiety||Omega-3 rich foods||Fried foods|
|Internal inflammation||Root vegetables||Alcohol|
|Poor digestive health||Turmeric||Dairy|
|Water||Dirty or greasy environments|
|Apple cider vinegar cleanser|
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