Acne is the most common skin complaint. It’s often considered to be a problem people struggle with just in their teens, yet many people continue to suffer well into their twenties and thirties too. As many as one in two people suffer from the condition, with acne vulgaris being the most common type followed by acne rosacea and the more severe acne conglobate.
More boys than girls suffer from acne and it often co-occurs with the onset of puberty, as testosterone levels rise. The increase in testosterone happens in all teenagers, yet it is thought that excess conversion to a more powerful form, DHT (dihydrotestosterone) may contribute to acne. What causes acne? It is likely that there is some hormonal involvement in the condition, yet dietary and environmental factors, stress and gut health can all play a part too.Sugar – Some studies have shown that people with acne may not be able to process sugar effectively – acne has even been described by some scientists as skin diabetes. It is key therefore to opt for a diet packed full of natural, fresh wholefoods and avoid refined, processed sugary foods and drinks.
Chromium is an important mineral, which supports the way the body processes sugar and may be a useful supplement. Gut Health – Toxin build up caused by a sluggish digestive system and constipation may almost certainly contribute to acne. Acne sufferers may also be prescribed antibiotics, which can eventually contribute to an unhealthy balance of intestinal bacteria, further adding to the toxic load. Supporting digestion with natural plant digestive enzymes, regular elimination with an increase in plant fibres and water intake and a healthy bacterial balance with high strength probiotic supplementation may help to support gut health and reduce the toxic load.
Stress – Adult acne, which often strikes seemingly from nowhere, is increasingly being linked with stress. Stress can disrupt the body’s natural hormone balance and may be a contributory factor. Gentle exercise such as walking, swimming and yoga, and regular relaxation are both vital for getting stress under control. Magnesium, vitamin C and B vitamins are key nutrients to support a balanced stress response. Vitamin A – Most of the medical treatments for acne involve some form of vitamin A. It’s key therefore to ensure optimal intake of this vitamin, in the plant form of beta-carotene, with a high strength daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. Zinc – Zinc is used up rapidly by teenagers going through growth spurts and is also an essential mineral for healthy skin. Zinc deficiency is also associated with increased conversion of testosterone to DHT, excess levels of which are associated with acne. Supplementation to boost zinc intake is useful to support optimal levels.
Essential Fats – Essential fat deficiency may be a contributing factor to acne. Increasing intake of nuts, seeds and their oils, Supplementation with a good quality omega 3 oil and omega 6 fats from borage seed oil is a useful adjunct.
Water – Essential for all aspects of health including effective detoxification and elimination, water is an important addition to any strategy aimed at improving skin health. Aim for 6 – 8 glasses pure filtered water daily. For more information on how to treat your acne naturally please contact me for more information
Your guide to living whole and well. Emma Olliff is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, wellness expert, food lover, and advocate for healthy living!