While acne affects more than 85 percent of teenagers, this skin condition has also increased among adults. In fact, some eight million people visit the dermatologist every year for their skin. We spend over a billion dollars for prescriptions and over-the-counter (OTC) products to cure acne, yet at best these are short-term solutions.
The skin is the largest organ system in the body. And because of that, it becomes an outer reflection of our overall health. Though, when people struggle with various skin conditions, it’s more common for them to turn to skincare items, beauty products, and topical or oral medications, instead of addressing the root cause.
Beauty is only skin deep and with any symptom, we want to explore the deeper trigger(s). There are many root causes to skin issues and acne, but they can be summarized into 6 categories:
Blood sugar dysregulation
Let’s talk inflammation for a moment. There are a number of factors that cause inflammation such as toxicity, allergens, nutrient deficiencies and one of the largest culprits is a processed, sugary diet. Studies show nutrition related lifestyle factors can contribute to and exacerbate acne. The definition of sugar in this case isn’t simply candies, baked goods, and sodas, it’s also the added sugar that’s hiding in nearly every packaged food product. Additionally, it includes flour based foods such as bread, pancakes, and waffles because flour has the same biochemical impact on our glucose and insulin levels as sugar does. Chronically elevated insulin levels and/or insulin resistance directly impacts sex hormone balance, which in turn impacts your skin health. Sugar also wreaks havoc on your gut health, which we’ll discuss further in this article.
We also want to be looking at what you’re putting onto your skin. The skin is like a giant mouth - whatever goes on it goes directly into the bloodstream and then circulates throughout the body. One of the largest sources of endocrine (hormonal) disrupting toxicity is through your hygiene and beauty care products. Endocrine disrupting chemicals mimic hormones or they can alter the function of the hormonal receptors on your cells so that your hormones can’t function in the way that they’re designed to, again leading to disruptions in hormones which impacts your skin health.
A less known root cause of acne is related to the skin-gut connection, which is more intricately connected than you can imagine. When there’s leaky gut present, what happens in the gut doesn’t stay in the gut and this can cause systemic inflammation in what is known as the gut-brain-skin axis. In one study, researchers looked at bacterial diversity among 43 patients with acne and 43 controls. They found those with acne had dysbiosis, or gut imbalances. One study found a probiotic supplement improved acne in 80% of the 300 participants. Among their benefits, probiotics can help modulate immunity and inflammation, reducing acne in the process.
Leaky gut can also pave the way for food sensitivities which can increase systemic inflammation, create an imbalance in hormones and contribute to acne. In addition to ditching food sensitivities and processed foods, dairy is an acne culprit. Dairy contains hormones, including growth hormones which can contribute to acne. Two large controlled trials found cow’s milk increased both the number of people who got acne and its severity.
What are the takeaways from this information?
Ditch the sugar
Cut out food sensitivities
Clean up your hygiene and beauty products
Heal your gut
These are just a few of the root causes of acne, join us for our 1 hour Peace Out Acne webinar on June 10th at 10:00am to learn more about reversing acne.
This blog post is for informational and educational purposes. It’s not meant to treat any health condition or to be prescriptive for anyone.
Always be sure to work with your healthcare practitioner before implementing new recommendations and/or supplements.