I’d like to say I’ve had perfect skin since I was 13. At 32 years old, I’ve spent more years with acne than without. It’s embarrassing when children and adults alike pointed out that I had spots on my face like I had never owned a mirror. I used to work in an assisted living facility when I was in college. Women would point out my acne all the time. I chalked it up to them being old and possibly senile in order to hide my hurt. Doctors had talked about putting me on birth control pills or Accutane to get rid of it – but being a bit on the crunchy side of things, I was more than happy with blemishes rather than chemicals being pumped into my body. Or at least, that’s what I told myself. Instead, invested lots of my money in concealer and heavy foundations that left my skin clamoring for oxygen. I sometimes found myself looking at other people’s complexion and wondering what it would be like to wake up in the morning and not see the latest reincarnation of Mt. Vesuvius on my face.
I’ve tried everything other than the oral or injectable drugs. I’ve done the topical RetinA treatments – they left my face red, extremely dry, blotchy, and with deep cysts. I’ve tried over-the-counter oil-free or oil-reducing or whatever other marketing gimmick they put on the label. No dice. And ProActiv? Try NoActiv.
Ultimately, since I went on GAPS and started working hard to rid my body of toxic build-up, my need for moisturizers and face tonics has reduced greatly. Now-a-days, I rarely wear foundation, only putting on a bit of blush for a pop of color and much-needed mascara (Beautycounter is my favorite) because I have blonde eyelashes. Vanity wins again. My skin is even toned and I very rarely get any flare-ups…. if at all. Anything that does surface gets a dab of tea tree essential oil at night and it’s usually gone or mostly gone by morning.
Adult acne is ultimately the result of many factors. Gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of gut microbes), liver congestion, underlying viral or bacterial infections, consuming foods that we are sensitive to, heavy metals and mineral imbalances, and increased intestinal permeability all play a contributing roll.
Here’s some things you can do to help reduce your acne:
- Figuring out your food sensitivities and ridding it from your diet: This has to be your first step. You can go about doing an elimination diet (The Restart Program is a great place to start) – chances are, there are other areas of your body that a sensitivity is harming and you’ll feel a lot better pretty quickly. Your skin, however, will take some time to heal (it can be months) so don’t use that as your marker.
- Healing your gut: Now that you’ve figured out what the heck was making you sick, it’s time to do some healing. Bone broth and ferments are integral healing foods. Working with a practitioner on this one is important. There are many, many layers to healing that are more easily managed by someone else. We tend to be partial when it’s our own body. Many men and women notice a dramatic decrease in acne when they follow a paleo-type diet.
- Cutting out carbs and increasing fats: Reducing processed foods and increasing good fats is a wonderful place to start. So is incresing your organic vegetable low-starch vegetable intake. (Again, The Restart Program dives into this in detail) Healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, animal fats (from pasture-raised animals), cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, pasture-raised egg yolks, ghee (clarified butter), raw flax seeds, olives, evening primrose oil, avocados, cod liver oil (Nordic Naturals is a good brand). I encourage my clients to avoid all oils that read hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Those two are literally killing us. Other good oils to avoid are any of the “vegetable” oils.
- Fat as a face wash: What the what? Just like oil-pulling with coconut oil, fat pulls toxins out of your skin. I use sweet almond oil on my face. To remove eye make-up, I’ll gently massage coconut oil around the eye area and promptly follow it up with a dollop of sweet almond oil and wipe it off with a warm wet wash cloth. Beautycounter also has wonderful face washes and moisturizers. I especially like their Cleansing Balm.
- Moisturizer: I use argan oil for a moisturizer and a rosewater hydrosol. I spray the mist on my face, let it dry and then apply the argan oil.
- Make-up: Impurities in your make-up can also cause flare-ups. And a lot of popular brands contain toxins and heavy metals. I started carrying Beautycounter in my practice because they work so hard to avoid these toxic ingredients and they avoid chemicals that affect women’s hormones.
Getting rid of adult acne is not impossible. Cyclical hormonal acne is also not impossible. By allowing your body to heal and balance out the hormones, hormonal acne can and will be a thing of the past. If you have more questions or would like a free 30-minute consult, please feel free to contact me!