Healing Acne Holistically
By the time my clients have come to see me, the majority of them have already tried a number of prescriptions (from antibiotics and birth control to Spironolactone and Accutane). They’ve also tried pretty much every cleanser, serum and cream under the sun.
But they still had acne.
Because acne is a symptom of an internal issue. And treating the acne doesn’t fix what’s causing it to occur in the first place. It’s simply a band-aid approach.
If you stop using that prescription or skin system, the acne comes back.
Take my client, Jennifer, for example. As a child, she was always sick. Colds, flus, and infections galore that left her popping antibiotics and over-the-counter meds like candy.
As she grew up, acne started to pop up in her late teens but so did anxiety. Jennifer, like most women dealing with acne, was prescribed oral contraceptives. The pill helped lessen the amount of acne she had but never completely cleared it up. She also found her anxiety worsened, she had borderline depression, and her PMS was out of control. Jennifer had read about how the pill can impact mental health but was hoping to start a family in the near future so she decided to come off of it.
Within a few months her acne turned cystic. Over the next year it continued to get worse and spread to her upper back. She went through two rounds of Accutane and it cleared up temporarily but always came back within three months of stopping.
Jennifer was trying everything she knew of to try and clear up her skin. The only thing she hadn’t tried was the approach of healing acne holistically — which goes a little deeper than just removing dairy or eating more vegetables.
What’s Really Going on Inside
When you’re dealing with chronic, stubborn, won’t-go-away-no-matter-what acne…you absolutely need to be turning to internal healing of the entire body. Acne is a result of a combination of factors:
These factors are caused by a number of things including poor diet of inflammatory foods, use of prescription medications (including the pill and antibiotics), use of over-the-counter medications, and lifestyle factors.
Here’s how it played out in Jennifer’s life.
The antibiotics she took for her frequent illnesses altered her gut’s microbiome. An altered gut microbiome can trigger acne but also mental health issues. This is called the Gut-Brain-Skin Axis.
Her gut lining had also been irritated from her use of prescription, over the counter meds and diet high in refined carbs/sugar. This lead to intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut) which allows for body-wide inflammation to occur.
And remember, acne is an inflammatory disease.
When she started taking the pill, it further added to that alternation of the bacteria in her digestive system but also had a big impact on other areas of her body. Specifically her liver and hormones.
When it comes to the liver, it has to process the synthetic hormones from the pill and isn’t able to metabolize them. This sends the hormones back into the bloodstream and can cause hormonal imbalances like estrogen dominance.
That poor liver also gets overburdened with that influx of hormones and isn’t able to do its 500 functions in the body properly (which includes detoxification of toxins and filtration of hormones). The liver then has to call in the skin (the body’s largest detoxification organ) for backup.
And let’s not forget the two rounds of Accutane she took which also did a number to that poor liver of hers.
One final thing the pill does in the hormone department?
It suppresses testosterone. And when you stop taking the pill all that testosterone comes roaring back in like two drunk frat guys fighting over a game of beer pong. Hint: this is known as androgen rebound and causes an increase in acne after coming off the pill.
For Jennifer, all of these factors piled on top of each other to cause the perfect acne storm.
Taking a Holistic Approach
Holistic: characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.
When working with new clients in The Clear Skin Solution, Jennifer included, I don’t actually treat their acne. I help them give their body the tool’s it needs to start healing itself. And it’s not just the physical we address.
You 100% need to be addressing mental and emotional health as well. The levels of stress, anxiety and emotional upset the body is holding on to are key parts to healing.
A person will never be truly healthy if they ignore that critical component.
That is healing acne holistically.
So How Do You Fix It?
We focus on…
- A anti-inflammatory diet to reduce the inflammation (Hint: any recipe on my blog)
- Include gut healing and liver loving foods (Find these in my Glowing Skin Guide)
- Tailor specific supplements/herbs for helping speed up the healing process (and hormonal balancing)
- Set them up with a stress reduction practice (like meditation, tapping or breath work)
- Make sure they are sleeping well and getting some form of exercise throughout the week.
If they are dealing with unresolved emotional trauma I have additional resources available for them, too.
Sounds extensive, right?
Let me just save you a whole lot of aggravation right now.
True healing of acne is NOT an overnight process. No matter what the beauty industry would have you believe. It takes time, commitment and work.
You need to heal the body first then the symptom of acne goes away.
In Jennifer’s case, she had a lot of internally healing of the body to do. Years and years of damage cannot be undone by eating kale for two weeks. She spent 9 months focusing on her healing and finally…her skin cleared up. No more acne (or anxiety for that matter).