Acne is an inflammatory condition of the skin. The overproduction of sebum or keratin can block the pores of the skin: resulting in redness, blackheads, spots or cysts. Onset is common during or soon after puberty however it can occur at any stage of life. Acne is the most common of all skin conditions.
Causes of Acne
- Overproduction of male hormones is thought to be the main contributory factor for acne.
- A sluggish digestive system (e.g. constipation or leaky gut) whereby toxins are not eliminated properly and may be reabsorbed into the blood. Digestive enzymes, intestinal support (such as glutamine and probiotics) as well as detoxifying your body can help. Relevant supplements can be found in our section on digestion.
- Inbalanced blood sugar level – the skin cells of some acne sufferers have been found to utilise sugar inefficiently contributing to inflammation. Aim to eliminate all refined foods and added sugar from your diet. Sugar substitutes such as xylitol or stevia are alternatives that can be used if needed. To help balance blood sugar levels eat good quality protein with each meal or snack and plenty of vegetables. Include a daily multi-vitamin supplement that contains chromium as this can help to balance blood sugar. See multi-vitamin section.
- Chemicals in cosmetics and over washing can also contribute to acne. However it is important to keep the skin clean and gently exfoliated to promote new skin growth and reduce bacteria. Choose chemical free skin care products that do not aggravate the skin further. You will find a selection of suitable natural products in our skin care section.
- Stress interferes with the body’s hormonal balance. It is important to address the stress in your life and find ways of alleviating it. See Mind & Mood for stress support supplements.
- Dehydration can cause any toxins that need removing from your body to be re-circulated rather than eliminated. Aim to drink approximately 6-8 glasses of water per day. Avoid drinking from plastic containers as they leach chemicals such as BisphenolA: which recent studies have shown is harmful to humans. Use a stainless steel drinking container such as an Ecotanka.
- Hydrogenated and heated oils are damaged fats that are harmful to your health and can contribute to acne. Watch out for hydrogenated oils in processed food and avoid eating fried foods altogether. Include beneficial Essential Fatty Acids in your diet. These are essential fats that support healthy skin formation.
- Non-organic dairy products often contain artificial hormones, which can interfere with the body’s natural levels. Some acne sufferers find that intolerances to dairy products can aggravate their symptoms. Sensitivity to wheat or gluten can also have a similar effect. A nutritional therapist can advise you whether these foods may be contributing to your symptoms.
- Nutritional deficiencies - Ensure your supplement plan includes 400iu of Vitamin A, 200mcg of Selenium, 45-60mg Zinc per day and 25mg of B6 3 times per day. See vitamins and multivitamin sections.