Today’s blog is a little different. I am going to share my acne journey and some of the things I did to heal my skin.
When I was 21, I developed really congested acne on my forehead. I had recently finished studying nutrition, travelled to Europe on a long summer holiday and then went through a relationship breakup which caused me a lot of stress. All of a sudden I developed acne all across my forehead. My skin was red, angry, flared and congested.
I couldn’t work out why? I was a nutritionist and my diet was pretty healthy and clean. It was really hard to experience such angry skin, especially to have it emerge when I was already an adult. I had never really had issues with my skin in the past. A few pimples on my chin around my period but that was it.
It wasn’t the worst case of acne you will see, but it did cause scarring and quite a bit of emotional distress at the time. I worked as a receptionist in a luxury fitness centre, and there was a lot of emphasis on appearance and makeup. The surface of my forehead was so bumpy and uneven at times, makeup really didn’t help. I also developed hard to shift cystic pimples on my neck, back and chest at times.
I will share some of the things that really helped me tackle it, and how I manage my skin now
1. I saw a naturopath.
This was really insightful for me. Even though I had just become a qualified nutritionist, it knew the importance of getting support from a separate practitioner about my own health. The naturopath I saw gave me a herbal tonic for my skin and adrenal support, and recommended I stopped eating bananas and dairy as these were “mucous forming foods” known to flare acne. You can read my blog about how naturopathy can help with acne here.
2. Gut healing
This was probably the most important step of my acne journey. There is a really strong link between your gut health and your skin. Inflammation in your gut can translate to the skin as your gut is one of your elimination organs, and so is your skin. Immune involvement from dietary triggers can cause your gut to be a reactive environment causing a multitude of issues to show up on your skin. These aren’t limited to acne, but also include conditions such as eczema, perioral dermatitis and psoriasis.
I used probiotics and repaired my gut lining using gut powders containing glutamine and many other essential nutrients for healthy mucous membranes.
3. Elimination diet
This is something that is recommended if you have a lot of gut inflammation. Signs of that include, acne, constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, cramping. Food intolerances are not allergies, but a development of immune sensitivity to a food. This food then causes an inflammatory response in the gut. This can manifest in digestive symptoms, or systemically through your body such as acne. Eliminating identified triggers using an IgG intolerance test allows you to work really intensively on repairing the gut before reintroducing trigger foods. If you do a good job on your gut work, its likely you can reintroduce the foods to some degree without issue.
My triggers were dairy, banana, sugar and gluten/wheat. I was consuming a banana protein smoothie with milk every day for breakfast. By just switching my milk to almond milk, and using other ingredients in place of banana made a huge difference in my skin in the short term. Now I only really consume dairy as cheese and yogurt, and I use milk alternatives. I consume gluten but rotate my grains so they’re not always wheat. Bananas still seem to be a trigger for my skin, so I tend to avoid them most of the time. I have learnt that sugar is the worst for my skin, and so have worked on my sugar cravings so that I am not tempted like I used to be
4. Look at your skincare
I saw a beautician for some topical suggestions. They set me on a little regime. The main change for me was to moisturise the area. I had stopped this as my skin seemed so oily and reactive to any creams I put on to it. Moisturising my skin assisted it to repair, and actually balanced the oils. I highly recommend ensuring your skincare is working for you as well. This can take trial and error, as some creams may work for you and not for me, vice versa. I will do a more detailed post on my experience with different skin care items and active ingredients soon. I am not qualified in this area so I suggest you seek professional advice here as well.
My acne journey took around 9 months to clear my skin. It certainly isn’t an overnight fix. There are many different aspects of your health that need analysing and adjusting by a professional. I love helping clients clear their skin. My acne journey helps me work with clients and their skin issues too. I have had my own experience with it, so I know how it feels, the struggles and time it takes.
Please reach out to me if you want help with your acne problems! I have a 15 minute discovery call option, just send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact number and preferred time and I can organise for us to chat and answer any questions you have. Otherwise, take a look at my bookings menu if you can’t wait to get started on your skin with naturopathy.