Over 80% of 11-30 year olds are affected by acne and regular breakouts. Acne doesnt have to only show up on the face, some of my clients often experience it on other areas such as chest and back.
From my clinical experience, resolving levels of acne for my clients is straight forward. It wasn’t always like that! In chinese medicine and naturopathy, acne/ breakouts along the jaw line can be linked to hormonal / adrenals issues. Acne along the forehead is linked with the large intenstine and acne on the chin is linked with the small intestine and also hormonal.
What I have noticed is that many of my acne clients are on the pill not for contraceptive reasons. Many young women take the pill to help ‘regulate’ their hormonal cycles , others to keep their skin clear and blemish free. Yet there is a point when a woman comes to me for advice as shes starting to think about the future and planning for a family. Shes worried that her skin will start breaking out again when she stops the pill. Other women come to me as they are aware of the side effects and wants to give their body’s “a break” from the medication.
From a functional medicine perspective its about addressing the root cause. The main cause of acne is due to inflammation. Yes there are other reasons such as clogged pores that lead to bacteria and yeast overgrowth on the skin, hormone fluctuations, and increased cortisol can also exacerbate acne. But which comes first? Inflammation is the driving force. Scientists believe that if the inside of the follicle doesnt exfoliate properly, its clogged. Thats why im also a big promoter of exfoliation. But the reason the follicle gets clog in the first place is due to inflammation. You with me?
The purpose of this blog is a quick guide of my favourite foods I recommend for acne sufferers. There are so many… but heres a few.
TOP TIP: important to focus on foods that are anti-inflammatory.
Below are some of my top foods to help reduce inflammation which also increase good bacteria in the gut. These are the two big areas i focus on with my cleints : gut health and inflammation.
Probiotic foods – Probtioics are king! They are vitally important not only for our immune and energy production but also for our skin health.
Food sources: kefir, yogurt and cultured vegetables are foods that help rebalance the gut flora and ecosystem. Its there is an imblance this can lead to acne. Supplemnents also available.
Zinc foods – Improve immunity and support gut issues.
Food sources: seafoods, sprouted pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, greens, chia and hemp seeds. See the webinar for my favourite supplement.
Good Fats – Food sources avocados, oily fish, coconut, olive oils etc! Go easy on the nuts, these can be pro-inflammatory!
Fibre – Fibre is essential for a healthy bowel function and elimination. A sluggish bowel is often a problem with acne suffers!
Food sources: vegetables, fruits, psyllium husks. Top tip if taking psyllium husks, make sure you drink enough water!
Protein – proteins help build and repair our cells, and also helpful at regulating blood sugars, especially if we tend to each carbohydrates.
Food sources: choose organic when possible. Opt for Irish lamb, beef, fish, free range eggs and wild fish. Plant sources of protein are chickpeas and lentils etc.