Updated: Dec 2, 2020
To understand how we can treat acne, we first need to understand how it forms. Acne is a disorder of the sebaceous glands, cause by many different factors. When hair follicles become plugged with sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria, acne occurs. The bacteria that contributes to acne is called Propionibacterium or P. Acnes bacteria. Without oxygen, this bacterium grows and inflames the hair follicle. While this is happening, the skin is still producing sebum and gets trapped with the bacteria. Pus is this material combined.
There are many factors that contribute to acne such as hormones and genetics which are the two
major causes. Acne is also always caused by excess production of the male hormone androgen which is in both males and females. This hormone stimulates the sebaceous glands. Other reasons for acne could be stress, certain medications, a greasy environment, steroids, pregnancy, puberty, or friction on the skin. Most people are between the ages of ten and nineteen when they have acne, but we are seeing an increase in adult acne in the recent years.
When treating acne naturally, we need to look at the body as a whole. Forget thinking of skin care as just what you put on your skin. Think about what you put inside your body as well. When our gut microbiome is healthy, it contributes to skin health. The standard Western diet is one filled with inflammatory food. A diet that is high in sugar, processed fats, and chemicals can easily lead to chronic inflammation that can show up on the skin. The greatest medicine for your skin is a diet that includes wholesome foods, essential micro-nutrients, and antioxidants. Look for unprocessed foods, be careful with dairy products such as cow’s milk and ice cream, eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants, and eat probiotic rich foods. Additionally, taking supple-ments can be helpful in keeping acne at bay. Taking a daily probiotic is a great way to care for your gut health and in turn your skin. Since probiotics have the ability to modify inflammatory conditions in your gut, they can also ease inflammatory conditions of the skin. Zinc and Copper are also good supplements to help treat acne.
Making sure you are adequately moving and resting your body are also important aspects of caring for your skin and keeping acne under control. Regular exercise gets your blood flowing and in turn reduces stress (a factor contributing to acne) and reduces levels of inflammation. Performing activities that calm you such as meditating, yoga, getting out in nature, or splurging on a spa treatment to relax are all excellent ways to ward off stress. In addition to moving and destressing, getting adequate sleep helps your skin heal since your skin cells turn over at a faster rate while you’re asleep and helps balance hormones.
Last but not least, what you put on your skin matters. In a world filled with all kinds of skin care
products and different treatments for our skin, what should you use? First, pay attention to ingredients in your skincare products. There are many products out there that claim to banish acne with harsh ingredients. Instead of using products that are tough on acne, look for organic ingredients that are gentle and nourish skin. Look for products that gently cleanse and create a healthy microbiome. Look for herbs that soothe red and irritated skin. Also, if you want clear skin, be diligent in maintaining a consistent routine! Constant care will ensure you are doing your best to create healthy and clear skin. For extra help and support, see an esthetician who can take a closer look at your skin and prescribe a good routine and proper products for your unique skin struggles.
~Amanda Wettstein, Licensed Esthetician, Licensed in Microdermabrasion