Acne is easily one of the most common concerns I see in day-to-day practice, often as a result of patients seeing little long term results from the common allopathic treatments. A dermatologist may prescribe topical creams, antibiotics or a contraceptive pill to manage your skin, and while these may clear up acne for the time being, breakouts can easily recur if you stop taking your medication.
That's not to say these interventions don't have a place, and everyones skin has unique needs, but by addressing acne from a more internal and holistic approach, such as lifestyle and dietary changes, acne management tends to be more long term and effective. If you’re looking to avoid pharmaceuticals, you’ve probably taken to the internet to see where you can start to make changes. While there are many home remedies that you can try, you should also consider the time lost in experimenting. As a rule of thumb, any intervention for your skin will take approximately 90 days to see effect, since that's the rough duration of time it takes for the changes you make to effect the cells in your body - predominantly your hormones. In my opinion, the primary advantage to seeing a naturopath to help with acne it eliminates a lot of the trial and error. In some cases, hormone testing may uncover the reason your skin is struggling, helping to streamline the treatment process to your direct needs. Alternatively, sometimes acne may be caused by secondary issues such as gut dysbiosis, thyroid dysfunction or inflammatory responses. The goal of naturopathic acne treatments not only clear pimples, but to correct the underlying cause to the skin issues in the first place. Common treatment approaches with often include the following:
Dietary guidelines to reduce inflammatory and support collagen synthesis
Lifestyle changes to limit the exposure of the face to bacteria
Proper methods of exercise to avoid making acne worse
Ways to properly cleanse your face without placing it under undue strain or stripping its natural microbime
Natural remedies where augmenting diet and lifestyle is necessary
Treating Acne Naturally: Where to Start? Get a head start on your treatment with the following tips:
Clean up your diet and inflammation by removing refined and highly processed food. If you havent tried it already, avoid all dairy (that includes cow, goat and sheep), eggs, and peanuts. Theses are the three most commonly correlated foods to cystic acne and can make a huge difference in your skin. You’ll need to cut them for three full months to see results.
Make sure you drink at least 2 liters of water a day. This not only helps to flush your system, but internal hydration is crucial to normalizing your skins oil production, so don't skip this step.
Less is more - reach for simple makeup routines and treatment products. It’s tempting to hide the acne with layers of foundation, but using the wrong type can increase inflammation. Furthermore, harsh cleansers will strip the skins natural barrier protection and modify its pH, leading to a more acne prone skin.
Take steps to relax. Stress exacerbates flare-ups by driving cortisol and insulin disregulaiton. Start meditating, enroll in a fun, creative class, or set aside time to read or unwind with healthy habits. My personal favourite - spend time in nature.
Get some sun. You should spend about 15 minutes in the sun every day without sunscreen and some skin exposed for optimal Vitamin D levels.
Don’t pick at the pimples, or you’ll increase the risk of scarring and further breakouts. Everyone tells you this - I know, but if you rupture the acne cyst into your dermal layer, you’ll be left with a permanent hole in the skin. Resist the temptation and try a salycylic acid acne patch instead.
Clean makeup applicators, your bed linens, and your towel once a week. Pillow cases should be switched out every 3 days.
When Should You See a Naturopathic Doctor for Acne? If the above remedies provided no help, your issue may go beyond simple complexion imbalance or inflammation. This is where more thorough testing and treatments may be required. Naturopathic medicine focuses on investigating the root cause of acne, and correcting imbalances within the body to prevent flare-ups. The goal is to not only eliminate acne, but leave the skin naturally clear and glowing long term. If you’re looking for thorough testing and a more personalized plan that treats the underlying cause to your acne, call 647-351-7282 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Courtney Holmberg, ND today.