(Stillness in the Storm Editor) Speaking as someone who used to have acne, when I changed my diet and bathing practices, most of it went away. I think diet is one of the largest factors, especially one that is mostly based on simple sugars and low complexity carbohydrates. In addition, exposure to compounds that destroy our bodies natural microbial balance—like antibiotics—when combined with poor diet, ensures bad bacteria blossoms. Combine this with skincare products that strip oils and the acid barrier from the skin, which the body then works tirelessly to replace by producing more oil, it creates a perfect storm for acne to flourish.
Thus, altering our diet I think is the foundation for finally resolving acne problems. In addition, using natural skincare products that do not remove oils is also helpful. Although it can seem radical in our overly soap driven world, it is actually possible to clean your body without using harsh soaps at all.
I started using a honey, coconut oil, and essential oil mixture about a year ago—which my sister turned me on to, as she makes her own organic soaps and skincare products that are more akin to skin food than soap. I haven’t used soap on my skin—unless I am actually covered in dirt, for a long time, although I do bathe regularly.
I admit, at first, it seemed crazy. “How will I get clean if I don’t use soap!?” I’ve always been someone with oily skin and hair. But remarkably, after starting this natural cleansing method, my oil production was reduced, and my acne went away almost over night—even though I wasn’t washing as much! I used to have to wash my face four or five times a day because it would get so greasy but now I wash once or twice a day, and only with water. And surprisingly I don’t smell or feel dirty. I could actually go several days without bathing and not even notice.
Again to the modern-day person, this will sound insane. We’ve been trained through social pressure and the media to think our bodies are disgusting meat sacks that need to be treated with harsh chemicals to strip away oils and dirt. But what if the body actually produced natural compounds that kept our skin healthy and clean?
Washing with harsh soaps and chemicals is a fairly new concept. One hundred years ago, people bathed infrequently in comparison to today, but how many acne-scarred faces do you see in older photographs before the invention of antibiotics? Granted image resolution wasn’t as good as it is today.
My grandparents, who grew up during the depression, didn’t remember teenagers suffering from acne outbreaks as much as we do today. But how often do we consider that it was the change in diet, use of antibiotics, and harsh soaps that might be contributing factors in contemporary times?
Take all this into consideration when seeking to resolve an acne problem. And as the below article discusses, there might be more to it than just taking a pill from your doctor. Acne seems to be a symptom of a holistic problem, and as such, developing holistic solutions is probably a good idea.
by David Gutierrez, November 8th 2016
Although acne was formerly thought to be a simple skin condition caused by buildup of dirt and dead skin, it is increasingly being understood as a genuine inflammatory health condition. And while most pimples clear up on their own in a week or so, large or persistent acne outbreaks are a cause to consult a health care professional.
It’s no wonder, then, that the nature of an outbreak can be used to diagnose certain underlying health imbalances. There are also certain lifestyle changes you can make to detox your body and reduce the severity of acne, or possibly clear it up altogether.
Is your diet out of balance?
According to a recent article from Providr.com, holistic medicine teaches several things about acne in different locations of the body.
In this framework, acne in the lower half of the body, including the legs and buttocks, is most likely to be caused by unbreathable clothing that traps moisture and air against the skin. If changing your underwear or pants to a more breathable fabric doesn’t produce any improvement in a week or so, however, the problem may instead be due to an unbalanced diet.
Acne on the arms, scalp or head is also likely to be caused by accumulation of oil and perspiration, and can best be addressed by changing your clothing, hats or cosmetics.
Outbreaks in the neck or jaw area are more likely to reflect overactive adrenal glands or excessive sugar in the diet. Pimples along the shoulders may indicate excessive stress, while outbreaks around the stomach may indicate unbalanced blood sugar levels.
Acne in certain areas can have several possible causes. Acne on the back may be caused by stress or by digestive or nervous system dysfunction. Acne on the chest can also result from digestive issues, a poor diet, or simply an unbalanced diet too heavy in spicy food or cold beverages.
Finally, acne on the elbows may be a result of vitamin deficiency, but could also be caused by a harmless skin condition known as keratosis pilaris.
Natural acne cures
Acne is among the most common inflammatory skin disorders, affecting more than 80 percent of all people during adolescence alone. Acne can also occur later in life.
Recent research has shown that rather than being caused by a simple buildup of dead skin cells, acne actually seems to be an autoimmune disorder more analogous to allergies. A major cause of acne seems to be an overactive immune response to the presence of the bacteria Proprionibacterium acnes. This response causes inflammation-promoting cells to flood the skin, surrounding the area where pimples will eventually form. When this occurs, the sebaceous glands formerly blamed for acne also produce inflammation-promoting compounds.
The mechanisms that produce acne seem to be among those intended to prevent bacteria from penetrating the skin.
The good news about recent science is that certain foods such as chocolate or greasy foods have been cleared of their reputation as acne-causers. The truth, as always, is more complex, as an overall poor diet does seem to contribute to acne. Experts now recommend that people seeking to prevent or cure acne eat a balanced, low-sugar diet high in whole foods such as nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables, fish and red meat. In some cases, dairy or other foods might exacerbate people’s symptoms. A food diary can be a good tool for discovering your own particular triggers.
Intense scrubbing or exfoliating of the skin can irritate the skin, increasing inflammation and worsening acne. Harsh cosmetics, cleansers and moisturizers can also make things worse. If you suffer from acne, consider switching to gentler cosmetics, and washing your clothes in less harsh detergent.
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