Acne, it rains on our parade. It’s ugly and it sometimes hurts. And too often, it can be disfiguring; leaving scars and unsightly marks. Having to deal with acne most of my life, I have experimented with many products, cleansing techniques, and dietary corrections. I hope the below information can help anyone who is struggling with their skin. Luckily there are several options to mitigate acne besides taking the conventional route and spending a ton of money.
Here are a few simple and effective tips:
- Diet. Make sure to eat a well-balanced diet, i.e. consuming a lot of vegetables, low-glycemic fruits, and adequate amounts of protein from clean sources. Avoid foods that are processed, and that contain or convert to a lot of sugar such as grains. Did you know that ¼ cup of dry, organic steel-cut oatmeal converts to about 30 grams of sugar in the body?! Too much sugar and carbohydrates will cause large spikes in blood sugar levels which can indirectly create more inflammation and hormone imbalance, two big factors that can cause acne. For more info on eating better, please visit: Dr. Mercola’s Nutrition Plan.
- ¡Agua! Drink plenty of water; clean and filtered, optimally ½ your body weight in ounces of water per day. This will allow the kidneys to properly filter out impurities, and keep our organs, including the skin, properly hydrated.
- Keep Moving! Exercise and daily physical activity will keep our lymphatic system working correctly. The lymphatic system works to remove toxins out of the body in the form of sweat. Movement keeps the lymph system moving.
- Cleansing. Many of us use conventional cleansers to clean our skin. However, these cleansers often contain harmful chemicals that actually break down the structure of our skin and destroy our acid mantle. Yes! We have a layer on our skin called the acid mantle that is composed of beneficial bacteria, sebum, and other components that actually protect our skin from harmful bacteria and other things that can cause inflammation. And did you know that the FDA does not regulate body care items? This means that companies can use any chemicals and other harmful substances in their skincare products, even if they are toxic. Check your labels! If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the label, it is probably not good for you.
- Moisturizers. I know this may be counter-intuitive if you are dealing with acne. However, our skin needs to stay hydrated. This will also help prevent wrinkles in the long run. Carrier oils such as jojoba, argon, and apricot kernel have a very low comedogenic (pore-clogging) rating. This means that they will nourish the skin without clogging the pores.
- Topical Applications. Numbers 1-5 listed above are things that you can work on to help improve the health of your skin. But, what should you do when you actually have a breakout? Essential oils such as lavender, turmeric, thyme, and myrrh can be applied directly to an acne outbreak (add one drop to a q-tip and apply). Powdered goldenseal is also a favorite of mine. I make a paste out of the goldenseal powder and apply it with a q-tip directly to the outbreak site before bed (goldenseal root is yellow, so keep in mind that it may stain your pillowcase). It is always advisable to first do a patch test* before applying something new to the skin. All of the above essential oils and the goldenseal are anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and contain healthy phytochemicals to help heal the skin.