Acne is a Four Letter Word. Acne is a S-I-G-N …… that’s the four letter word that you were thinking too, right?
What if I told you that to effectively clear your skin, acne should not be viewed as ‘the problem’ but more so as a sign that you need to pay attention to something on a much deeper level. Our skin is a reliable indicator of what is going on internally sometimes picking up on subtle imbalances that don’t yet have any other tell tale signs. Acne, blemishes, rosacea, eczema, excessive oiliness, dryness, redness, rashes, flakiness etc are all your skin’s way of trying to tell you something.
When beginning the journey of healing your breakouts naturally, it’s helpful to start with what I consider the A B C of healing adult acne:
– Alleviating Stress
– Balancing Hormones
– Calming Digestive Distress
Stress is one of the leading causes of adult acne. The good news is that we are built to handle some stress and in fact it is actually healthy and ‘good for us’ to have some stress in our lives (note the emphasis on the word ‘some)’.
Stress however becomes problematic when we are under too much stress too often. When we are stressed our brain sends messages to our body that it is under attack and it quickly jumps into survival mode. When our bodies are in survival mode other functions are affected: our digestive system slows down, our immune system is lowered, inflammation increases and our hormones can become imbalanced…. All this spells D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R for skin.
Unfortunately many of us can’t always change the source of our stress (job or lack of, the work/family life juggle, illness, love life or lack of, the city we live in *cough* New York *cough*). But, there are always ways we can alleviate our stress and if they are done consistently can dramatically improve our lives.
Here are 3 things you can do to alleviate your stress starting today:
- Daily meditation has been proven to help lower stress. Even 5 minutes a day will make a difference. If you are new to meditation and don’t even know where to start there are plenty of meditation apps on the market to guide you through the process (I like Headspace).
- Gratitude journaling is another powerful tool that can help relieve stress but assisting the mind in being more mindful about what is good in life no matter we we are going through. Gratitude journal can be something as simple as jotting down 3 things you are grateful for before going to sleep.
- When our bodies feel better this impacts positively on our minds. Regular exercise helps us physically get rid of the negative effects of stress and has a profound impact on our overall health. This doesn’t mean you have to run out and join the nearest gym! The chances of sticking to a regular exercise routine dramatically increase if you like and look forward to what you do and if if fits easily into your routine. This may mean for you biking to work, getting off the train a few stops earlier and taking the scenic route home, taking your kids rock climbing, opting to take the stairs instead of using the elvator or attending a fun social class (zumba anyone?).
Where there is acne one will usually find that there is some sort of hormonal fluctuation in play. When thinking of “raging hormones” most immediately associate this with the teenage years and for most of us acne was right there in our teenage years, front and centre….quite literally 🙁
What I am seeing in my treatment room nowadays is that adult acne especially amongst females is on the rise. A majority of my clients are females in their late 20’s to mid 30’s who are suddenly have outbreaks of raging acne. Some of my clients had acne as teenagers and enjoyed a period a clarity before it came back with vengeance later in life whilst others report never having any issue with their skin and finding themselves battling embarrassing breakouts with no idea what they should even be doing to help their skin.
If you find yourself battling with persistent acne breakouts it is a great idea to get your hormone levels checked out especially if you are a female with irregular or absent periods, excessive facial hair and/or your breakouts that are predominantly along your jawline and chin and tend to be deep under the surface, red, sore with no visible pus. I work with a company who offer hormone testing via a saliva test that you do in the comfort of your own home – click here to find out more
Our diet is a key player in resetting hormonal imbalance. Dairy, sugar and gluten are well known triggers for inflammation and hormonal imbalance but we will delve deeper into this in another post!
For now let’s concentrate on the top 2 things you need to make sure is in your daily diet (not negotiable)
- Plenty of dark leafy greens is always a great foundation to any wellness journey because not only are they rich in antioxidants but they support the liver which helps metabolize estrogens – aim for at least 1 cup a day (I add 2 handfuls of spinach or kale to my daily green smoothie)
- If your hormones are out of whack one easy thing you can start today is to ensure your diet is full of foods rich in Omega 3 (think fatty fish like salmon and sardines, avocados, chia seeds and walnuts) to reduce inflammation, balance hormones and reduce androgens.
Bloating, gassiness, constipation and diarrhea are all telltale signs that your system is struggling with what you are feeding it and this will no doubt be reflected in your skin. To date I have never had a client who suffered from chronic digestive distress who did not have some sort of chronic skin condition eg. acne, rosacea and eczema.
Keep a food journal for at least a month and pay attention to sensitive responses you have to any foods in your diet and document any patterns. Ensure that you are having plenty of vegetables in your daily diet especially the dark leafies that help the system fight inflammation. Eat the RAINBOW!!!!
TAKE HEART…….THERE IS HOPE EVEN IF YOU HATE VEGETABLES
Discovering and falling in LOVE with green smoothies was a game changer in my acne healing journey as it dramatically increased the amount of vegetables I eat in a day (confession: I’m a recovering vegetable hater…..there is a reason I suffered from acne for over 15 years!) I choose green smoothies over green juices because I want to keep all the fibre and green smoothies don’t spike blood sugar the way that green juices can.
What we eat has a profound effect on our skin’s health. You CAN heal your acne.