Recurring acne at any age is always a combination of factors that need to be considered in order to identify the most likely cause. However, nutrition is always a major component and needs to be looked at very closely. The skin is one of the elimination organs and its health indicates if the body’s other major detoxification systems are working well (i.e. the gut, kidneys and lungs). In my experience, the vast majority of acne problems are related to one or more of the following imbalances:
- The gut not working well – resulting in poor digestion, elimination and toxic gut leading to food intolerances, among others. Some considerations - do a gentle gut cleanse, increase good bacteria by taking probiotics, start eating quality foods and balanced meals containing protein, good fats and complex carbohydrates, increase fibre, eat organic foods to eliminate chemicals, pesticides and hormones - this seems to be important for you judging by your reactions to certain foods.
- The liver not detoxifying efficiently – liver detoxifies all substances we eat and drink including chemicals, pesticides and hormones. It needs to be supported and cared for to work well. Supplement considerations - B complex vitamins, MSM plus zinc which is s cofactor to MSM may help. Specific nutrients are very important here.
- Blood sugar imbalances (a major factor) often manifest as sugar/carbohydrate cravings, low moods and irritation or afternoon ‘lows’. Eliminating sugar (refined carbohydrates and grains, alcohol, processed foods etc), eating low GI diet rich in fibre and good quality protein is vital. Supplementation is very useful to help during the transition to better eating. For example chromium is known to help with cravings.
- Stress – emotional, physical, environmental (pollution) is a major factor. One of the factors of stress in acne is stimulation of histamine release at the end of the nerve endings in the skin causing swelling and clogged pores. Make sure you take time daily to relax, going for even a walk helps!
- Exercise – consistent exercise, preferably outdoors, will move the lymph and enhance detoxification through the skin. Lymph stagnation is a very common problem in acne especially when it is on the neck and shoulders. Supplementation and herbs can also help here.
- Low vitamin D - make sure your vitamin D level is high (90-120nmol/L), do a blood test to find out your current levels. Get it from the sun by exposing your skin to sunshine (sensibly and safely of course) for 15-20 minutes per day (without the sunscreen) as well as supplements.
The above list is not exhaustive by any means and the suggestions were given to help you consider a few treatment options. Everyone is different and requires tailored solutions and I strongly recommend you seek a knowledgeable practitioner to guide you to better health!
Good health and blessings
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