• Bianca Sheedy

Natural ways to clear up Acne!

Updated: Sep 8, 2021

Acne can be extremely frustrating and exhausting when trying to clear up! Amongst clients I commonly see the theme pop up around shame. Please know that there is no need to be embarrassed about your skin! Your skin is sharing the message with you that there is an imbalance occurring from within the body that needs addressing. Acne can be your positive motivator to shift into healthy lifestyle habits that you can embrace for the rest of your life- how empowering!

First let’s look at some of the reasons why your skin may be breaking out in acne:

· Hormonal imbalances

· Increased androgens

· Progesterone-related acne

· Estrogen dominance acne

· Excess production of sebum

· Post pill acne

· Impaired skin shedding

· Poor gut health and dysbiosis

· Blood sugar imbalance

· Stress

· Poor diet high in sugar, dairy, processed foods and low in nutrients

· Nutrient deficiencies in zinc, omega 3 essential fatty acids, vitamin D

· Poor lymphatic movement

You may feel overwhelmed when reading all of these possible reasons for why acne is present, but the good news is that these imbalances can be supported through diet, lifestyle and natural medicine!⁠

Testing and investigating the reason driving your acne!

In order to address and diminish your acne, it is important to identify the root cause! When patients come to see me, we have a very detailed conversation in order to map out the timings, patterns and potential triggers of their acne and sometimes when necessary I will request appropriate tests to be performed.

If PCOS is suspected I will request a panel of pathology to be performed examining the following hormones:

· Total and free testosterone

· Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS)

· Androstenedione

· Luteinizing hormone (LH)

· Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)

If I am detecting symptoms/signs of blood sugar imbalances I will additionally request:

· Fasting glucose

· Fasting insulin

· Cholesterol panel

If I am seeing a connection between acne and gut complaints, I may also request an extensive gut microbiome test to be performed however, this is not always necessary.

Careful health and history case taking along with any appropriate testing (if necessary) allows for a clear understanding of what is the root cause driving your acne and allows your Naturopath to create an individualised treatment plan, completely tailored to you to clear up your skin!

Here are my top 5 tips when supporting the clearing up of acne:

1. Eliminate Dairy! Especially avoid A1 cow’s diary as this drive’s inflammation in acne.

2. Reduce refined sugar and refined carbohydrates (Do not stop eating fruit in whole form as this contains low-dose fructose and skin supporting vitamins/minerals!)

3. Supplement with zinc to support the skin integrity and hormonal balance.

4. Increase sources of omega 3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation of the skin and strengthens the integrity of the skin membranes.

5. Meditate daily! Stress drives inflammation and inflammation drives acne! Meditating helps to down regulate the stress response and it aids in strengthening your connection to your body knowing that it is on your side on your healing journey.

Many of my patients begin to see results once making changes to their diet to support digestion, correcting nutritional deficiencies and balancing microflora. Often combining dietary changes with specific individualised supplements/herbs can aid in clearing up the skin and resolve the acne. Here are some of the recommendations I often include in my treatment plans, depending on their driving cause of acne:

· Zinc

· Vitamin D

· Vitamin A

· Vitamin B6

· Magnesium

· Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C)

· Chromium

· Inositol

Know that depending on your driving cause of acne you may only need a couple of vitamins/minerals from this list and it is important that you consult a naturopath about appropriate supplements/dosing as self-prescribing may worsen acne and/or lead to further health issues.

It is worth speaking to a Naturopath to investigate the root cause of your acne in order to receive individualised support on your health journey (especially if there are hormonal/gut imbalances occurring as this is quite complicated to support by yourself).

Written by Bianca Sheedy (Naturopath)

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