Acne troubleshooting: An Holistic view

Not many things pains me as much as seeing a person who is suffering from severe acne. Even if it is consider a benign condition by the medical establishment, only someone afflicted with it can understand the deep social and psychological impact it can have on someone’s life. I am one of them. I have used every product, tried every program but I only saw dramatic and lasting results once I gave up on the quest to find the miracle cream or pill and realized that there was no quick fix. The skin is a window into our overall health, and acne is a sign that something isn’t working as well as it should.

While a complete program designed by a holistic professional might be required in order to get completely clear (especially if the root of the problem is hormonal, like most cases of cystic acne), nearly everyone can benefit from the following basics:

  1. Cut out the worst offenders: sugar containing beverages like soft drinks, sport drinks, energy drinks, fruit punch, etc. are all inflammatory and put a burden on your elimination system. For someone who is predispose to skin problems, it makes things worst, period. Drinking enough water and maybe some green tea, is a must to make sure you stay hydrated and that you flush out toxins efficiently. The juice of half a lemon (freshly squeeze is best), in a cup of warm water, perhaps with a pinch of salt, first thing in the morning is a great and gentle way to encourage liver and digestive system detoxification, among other things.
  2. Eat an adequate protein diet, with a low-glycemic load and plenty of good fats with a proper Omega-3 : Omega-6 ratio. Once again, we want to quell inflammation. Roller coaster of insulin wreak havoc on our system and makes skin problems worst. In many cases, the stabilization of blood sugar, leads to a major improvement in skin’s feel and appearance. We want most of our meals to be composed of: a quality protein, some non-starch veggies, some lower glycemic starches and good fat like olive oil, flax meal, avocado (guacamole), ghee / grass-fed butter, some nuts etc. The protein and fats will provide what we need to build, heal and repair. The fats, veggies and starches will help us with elimination (proper bowel function is extremely important) and hormonal balance.
  3. Consider implementing a basic supplement regiment composed of: a Complete Multi-vitamin and Mineral and Fish oil (for skin health, I like cod liver oil with its naturally occurring extra Vitamin A and D, 10:1 ratio).  Some extra Vitamin C, probiotic and especially Zinc (25-50g/day of citrate or picolinate), can also help, if you wish to add them.
  4. Stress, cortisol and poor adrenal functions affect your skin, be mindful of it. Sufficient good quality sleep, lowering our caffeine consumption and the implementation of stress coping strategies, can have a surprising effect on the level of inflammation in our skin.
  5. Do not use harsh products on already inflamed skin, it makes it worst. Take an Epsom salt / baking soda bath, 2-3 times a week to help your skin and body detox and use gentle cleaner only.
  6. Give yourself time. It takes about 4 to 6 weeks for the new cells to reach the surface of the skin. Don’t give up too soon! Implement the changes slowly, but make them permanent. Not only will you have better skin, but your overall health will benefit.
  7. If you are still struggling after a couple of months, consider that you might have a food allergy or sensitivity. An Elimination Diet would be worth trying. Once most sugar is eliminated, the most common offenders are dairies and gluten/grains (also oranges and grapefruits to a lesser extent).

Much love and support,

Good Luck!

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