Even though it’s hard to remember this while you’re suffering – acne is an extremely common skin condition. In fact, it is the number one concern of my clients at Sound Skincare. My own journey with acne actually inspired me to become a skin therapist in the first place; so, thank you for that, acne! Unfortunately for all of us, we are seeing a rise in adult acne. Contributing factors include: excess sebum (oil) production, congestion, excess bacteria, hormone changes, as well as inflammation of the gut and using the wrong skincare products.
Our skin is our largest organ – and it is always trying to tell us something. Are you listening?
Acne is our body’s way of sending a message that one or more of these factors is out of balance and needs remedying. There is no overnight fix for acne, but discovering the underlying issue is the best place to start. Have you heard of the gut microbiome? Largely overlooked in the past, the skin-gut connection is making its mark in skin health studies, and I wanted to share a bit of information with you on this topic. By looking at the link between our gut health and our skin condition, we’re one step closer to achieving healthy, clear skin.
Understanding your gut microbiome is key.
There is a universe full of different types of bacteria and microorganisms that need to exist in our guts in order to protect our immune systems and, ultimately, our skin. Inflamed skin often stems from an inflamed gut – so, let’s look at a couple of key factors in preventing acne flare ups and improving the connection between our gut and skin.
An effective anti-acne treatment begins with your diet.
In order to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, it’s best to cut down on inflammatory foods like sugar, dairy and refined carbs. Bacteria-destroying antibiotics and other oral prescriptions have also been known to wreak havoc on gut balance, in turn inflaming our fragile skin. Like everything in life, it’s all about balance. Try adding these items into your daily habits:
Omega-3s: These anti-inflammatories help encourage healthy sebum production and are rich in seafoods (salmon, anchovies, sardines, etc.), but can also be found in nuts and seeds. To ensure you’re getting the required daily intake of omegas, try taking a supplement like Bend Beauty (available for purchase in studio).
Probiotics: Promote a balanced gut microbiome by adding fermented foods like: kefir, pickles, miso, kombucha, and sauerkraut to your diet. Take a daily probiotic supplement to help deliver the healthiest strains of bacteria directly to your gut. Your skin will thank you.
Green Tea: Another powerful antioxidant created in nature – green tea contains polyphenols that help reduce inflammation by lowering sebum protection. It also inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, and promotes beneficial bacteria (amazing!).
Vitamin A to Zinc: When it comes to your skin health, the key vitamins to focus on are A, D, E and Zinc. Eating plenty of leafy green vegetables, carrots, sweet potato, fatty fish, eggs, lean meats, beans and whole grains for a nice dose of skin-love.
Don’t forget to treat the surface of your skin with care.
Along with the microbiome, our skin’s acid mantle and lipid bi-layers also work in harmony to protect us from infection and environmental damage, all while maintaining a healthy and functioning barrier. It’s crucial to stop damaging the surface of our skin with the wrong products and treatments. By replacing these habits with a more healing and reparative approach, we can build and maintain a stronger and more balanced epidermis.
If you focus on your gut and on how you treat your skin, acne won’t stand a chance.
Don’t scrub: If you’ve ever received a treatment at my studio, you may have noticed that I rarely use ‘scrubs’. By avoiding unnecessarily aggressive treatments such as microdermabrasion and over-exfoliating, your skin will repay you by not reacting in as equally a harsh manner (hello, acne). I always recommend enzymes for gentle exfoliation as they help digest dead skin cells and feed nutrients directly into the skin.
Don’t be harsh: when we use harsh, drugstore brands and topical acne prescriptions that dry out the skin, our skin reacts as strongly as you attacked – and the effects are usually as harsh as your approach.
Seek professional advice: Too often, I see clients who are using either the wrong products for their skin type, or they aren’t giving their skin anything at all. Our skin needs proper nourishment and protection, and someone with expertise (hello!) can help you establish a routine that will help. Professional products are essential for treating acne, as they often have higher concentrated, specifically formulated ingredients that deliver properly into the skin and help you achieve results.
Try an LED Light Therapy treatment: LED treatments work to heal acne with low-level wavelengths of light therapy that become absorbed into compromised acne skin cells to restore vitality to the skin, thus killing harmful acne bacteria and encouraging healthy skin cell renewal.
Having a proper skin consultation, a healthy routine and improving the microbiome of your gut will undoubtedly help heal your acne. If you’re suffering from acne and need help getting started on the right path, I recommend booking an Essentials Facial with me today. I’ll take the time to do a thorough skin analysis and create a plan customized for you. It’s all about taking a balanced, proactive and holistic approach whenever our skin is trying to tell us something!