The REAL cause of acne and how to treat it naturally | PART 2

In part one I covered the reason why we get acne and skin conditions. If you haven't read that I suggest you do so you understand how acne is caused.


The root cause of acne can vary from person to person. For some of you it may be as simple as using heavy cosmetic products on your face as these can contain chemicals that are harsh on our skin. For others, it may be that you're living in a heavy polluted city or that you are using all the right products but your diet is sub optimal. Perhaps it’s a combination of the above.

The skin is an organ of absorption: anything you put on your skin is directly absorbed into your bloodstream. My simple rule of thumb is - if you can't eat it, don't put it on your skin.

However, in today's society, that is virtually impossible for most people. We are constantly exposed to different chemicals and substances every day, whether we apply them to our skin ourselves or not. That is why it is extremely important to keep on top of all aspects of our health and ensure that our bodies are well equipped to overcome anything that can be harmful to us. The best way to start is to get a good feeling in your gut…

The inside of your intestinal tract is the outside of your body

Nourish your gut

The first thing you have to do is to optimise the gut flora in order to have healthy skin. Start healing from the gut and out. Consuming a plant-based diet, fermented food, healthy fats, probiotic supplements, green juices and smoothies. These promote natural detoxification and are very high in important nutrients. When I talk about detoxification I mean cleaning your intestinal tract, optimising your gut flora and speeding up your metabolism.

For you science nerds:

"Basic science research and clinical studies have demonstrated the gut microbiome’s contribution to host homeostasis, allostasis, and the pathogenesis of disease. Through complex immune mechanisms, the influence of the gut microbiome extends to involve distant organ systems including the skin. With intentional modulation of the microbiome, probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics have proven beneficial in the prevention and/or treatment of inflammatory skin diseases including acne vulgaris, AD, and psoriasis. In this up-and-coming field, future research should improve our understanding of the complex mechanisms underlying the gut-skin axis, investigate the therapeutic potential of long-term modulation of the gut microbiome, and potentially expand therapeutic manipulation to include commensal gut fungi and viruses in order to fully harness the gut microbiome’s influence in the treatment of skin disease." (I. Salem, et. al 2018)

Antioxidants

We are all exposed to toxins (i.e. pollution), and this is why we need to consume antioxidant rich foods on a daily basis to fight off free radicals which are detrimental to our skin. As a start try to get more beta-carotene, vitamin A, E and C into your diet. Some other good ones are listed below as well:

· allium sulphur compounds – leeks, onions and garlic

· anthocyanins – eggplant, grapes and berries

· beta-carotene – pumpkin, mangos, apricots, carrots, spinach and parsley

· catechins – red wine and tea

· copper – seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts

· cryptoxanthins – red capsicum, pumpkin and mangoes

· flavonoids – tea, green tea, citrus fruits, red wine, onion and apples

· indoles – cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower

· isoflavonoids – soybeans, tofu, lentils, peas and milk

· lignans – sesame seeds, bran, whole grains and vegetables

· lutein – green, leafy vegetables like spinach, and corn

· lycopene – tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon

· manganese – seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts

· polyphenols – thyme and oregano

· selenium – seafood, offal, lean meat and whole grains

· vitamin A – liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, milk, and egg yolks

· vitamin C – oranges, blackcurrants, kiwifruit, mangoes, broccoli, spinach, capsicum and strawberries

· vitamin E – vegetable oils (such as wheatgerm oil), avocados, nuts, seeds and whole grains

· zinc – seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts

· zoochemicals – red meat, offal and fish. Also derived from the plants that animals eat.

(ref: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/antioxidants)

Healthy fats

Remember the skin is made up of fat and so we need to consume fats for your skin to function properly. Eating healthy fats help the skin to renew cells quicker, protect against damage and repair the skin.

· Organic butter

· Extra virgin olive oil

· Coconut oil

Supplements

Supplementation is crucial, we live in a world were its impossible to get all nutrients from our daily diet. The top 3 supplements for healthy skin are omega 3s, vitamin D3 and prebiotics.

· Omega 3's - help to fight inflammation

· Vitamin D3 - vitamin D3 deficiency is linked to a collagen problem

· Probiotic - add more healthy bacteria to your gut

· Prebiotics - helps to improve growth of good bacteria

· Vitamin A - vitamin A deficiencies linked to skin conditions

· Vitamin E - most powerful antioxidant



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Now, there are of course other ways to help out when acne breaks out. There are so many natural ways you can help your skin rather than using harsh chemicals. Part 3 will be all about what you can put on your skin to improve acne and other skin conditions.

Any questions? Leave a comment in the comment section below! :)

DC x

p.s. I will go into detail of many of the points I’m writing about in this series in the future. This is just a brief overview.

The REAL cause of Acne and how to treat it naturally | PART 1

Your skin is evidence of your health. There is a lot of misleading information out there about why we get bad skin or develop skin conditions. I even see dermatologists and skincare brands telling us straight up lies. So why do we get acne?

There are to date over 3000 different skin conditions. Skin conditions are the fastest growing of any other medical conditions. More than obesity and cancer. What are we blaming this on? Bacteria, fungi, viruses, autoimmune diseases and genetics.


So how do we treat these?

If you have bacteria, antibiotics

a virus - antiviral

a fungi - antifungal

allergies - antihistamines

irritants - steroids

autoimmune disease - immunosuppressant

and so on..


If you use over the counter or prescribed medications for acne or skin issues, you will ONLY, and ONLY, remove or reduce the symptom of your skin condition, if successful. But you will also disturb other bodily functions which can result in some serious side effects. Remember, when you use any form of medication (for whatever condition), you will inhibit or enhance a process, which will affect other parts of the body too - your whole body is linked.


So, let's say you use the controversial acne medication Roaccutane. You will yes, in most cases, eliminate acne. But you will experience side effects such as liver inflammation, cracked lips, dry patchy skin, dry eyes, nosebleeds, hair thinning, joints and muscle ache (especially after exercise), vision impairment (pilots using Roaccutane will not be allowed to work while using this drug), increased lipid levels in your blood, mood swings and self-harm or suicidal thoughts are not unusual (!!!) there are more side effects but I think you get the point.

If you use antibiotic lotion on your skin, you will eliminate all bacteria, making it easier for 'bad' bacteria to colonise and usually worsen the problem.


Using medications for your skin problems is not the solution. You have to fix the cause of the problem, not just eliminate the symptom.

The first thing that is important to know is that your whole body is connected. Your bad skin alone isn't causing your acne. Acne and other skin conditions are usually a sign that something isn't working correctly and it’s your body’s way of telling you “Hey, something is wrong!  Please fix it!” In order for you to understand how your skin and body work, we need to take a look at what your skin really is, what its functions are and what other organs it’s linked to. If you understand how your body works, you will understand what's causing the problem and how to heal it.

  • Your skin counts for 15% of your total body weight.

  • In your skin, there is over 11 miles of blood vessels.

  • The average person has over 300 million skin cells and in each square inch of skin has about 19 million skin cells and up to 300 sweat glands.

  • Your skin contains over 1000 different species of bacteria from 19 different families and 50 million bacteria.

  • Oily places such as your face up to 100 million bacteria per inch.

  • The density of the skin depends on the region of the skin.

  • Skin renews itself every 28 days - skin sheds every day.

  • Sunlight, water and air affects your skin.

The skin is the largest organ and it has multiple functions:

  • Protection - innate immune responses

  • Multiple sensory

  • Heat regulation

  • Evaporation

  • Store fats, lipid & water

  • Synthesis of vitamin D

  • Excretion, eliminate toxins

  • Absorption

The skin has its own ecosystem containing yeast, bacteria, fungi and viruses. When the balance is disturbed - there can be an overgrowth, that can cause infection, irritation and inflammation. This ecosystem is called the microflora. You have probably heard of gut bacteria, gut flora, microbiome - but we also have microflora on our skin.


What's the role of the microflora?

The skins microflora is there to keep your skin healthy and happy, the first defence to any potential pathogens but it also educates the immune system. Your normal flora is essential for your immune system and health. You probably have a friend that always cleans and uses anti bac. That person is usually always sick people, am I not right?


The real cause of acne and skin conditions

Now, what is the real reason that causes acne? Usually, there can be a combination of different factors. Acne is a multifactorial inflammatory disease. Below you can see a list of causes:

  • Processed foods/bad diet

  • Alcohol

  • Side effect from medication (both prescribed and over the counter)

  • Antibacterial soaps

  • Disrupted microflora balance - overgrowth

  • Household cleaners

  • Hair and cosmetic products

  • Emotional stressors - elevated cortisol levels

s I mentioned earlier, you have to understand that the whole body is connected. The skin just doesn't work on its own, it has its own roles and functions, but it’s also connected to other organs. So which organs are responsible for skin health?

  • The liver

  • The kidneys

  • The adrenal glands

  • The thyroid

  • The large intestine

  • The small intestine

Any issue or malfunction of these organs is gonna present itself as a skin issue. And what do they all have in common? They can be damaged by a toxic diet. I see men and women complaining about their skin and try every skin remedy there is and use prescribed medication. But they eat cheesy chips for lunch and go binge drinking every weekend. No wonder you're suffering from bad skin! And you also have those people that try the healthy eating route, but it's too hard, or they don't see results fast enough. It takes time. Your body can't heal itself overnight.


Tomorrow I will post part 2 where I reveal the best ways to get your body and skin healthy!


Further reading:

Cogen, A., Nizet, V. and Gallo, R. (2008). Skin microbiota: a source of disease or defence?. British Journal of Dermatology, 158(3), pp.442-455.


O’Neill, A. and Gallo, R. (2018). Host-microbiome interactions and recent progress into understanding the biology of acne vulgaris. Microbiome, 6(1).


Salem, I., Ramser, A., Isham, N. and Ghannoum, M. (2018). The Gut Microbiome as a Major Regulator of the Gut-Skin Axis. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9.