If you have acne, it’s often written all over your face. 

Because acne is so visible, I often see this condition as a top 5 concern of my patients;  85% of individuals between the ages of 12-24 experience acne.  Unfortunately, it often doesn’t stop there.  Many people either experience a resurgence of acne later in life or in some cases, it never goes away. Acne can be very physically and emotionally uncomfortable and in more severe cases can lead to scarring.  Dermatologists offer many creams and treatments, but often these treatments produce minimal results or never fully clear the problem as they do not address the cause.

There are many contributing factors to acne.  The main factors are:

  • Food sensitivities
  • Toxic exposures
  • Microbial imbalances on the skin or internally
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Digestive problems

By understanding the most common contributing factors and through my experience with patients that have acne, I will share some easy and effective natural solutions.

  1. Get a showerhead filter. The hot water coming from your shower introduces harsh chemicals into your open pores. Sometimes, simply getting a good showerhead filter can make a significant difference in acne. Many good showerhead filters are available for $60 or less. Berkey makes a good one.
  2. Cut white refined sugar out of your diet.  Sugar is inflammatory, feeds pathogens, and is a hormone imbalancer.  Enough said.
  3. Try an elimination diet.  Food sensitivities can play a big role in skin conditions, so if your skin issues persist, you should try an elimination diet to see if a particular food is the culprit.  My favorite elimination diet is the Whole30.
  4. Switch personal care products to gentle, fragrance-free options. Products that you use frequently such as hair products, face washes, lotions, body washes, etc. can have a huge impact on your skin. The type of product that works best is highly individual, but finding products that do not contain harmful chemicals and are fragrance-free is a must.
  5. Take a good probiotic. A probiotic won’t fix every gut issue, but it’s a great start to helping your skin by supporting your gut. My favorite skin-helping, broad-spectrum probiotic is Flora 12+ by Energetix.

The above steps are fantastic preliminary actions to healing acne, as well as any other skin condition because they embody many of the causes of skin problems. I want to impart a pearl of wisdom as you begin working on healing your skin.  This pearl is – The skin heals last.  Problems of the skin are a manifestation of what’s happening internally in your body. As such, healing can take time. Most interventions for the skin need at least 90 days to show results.  Be patient with any attempts you make to heal your skin and do not give up too soon.

Acne can be very uncomfortable and can have a negative impact on how one perceives their appearance.  The good news is that there are solutions to resolve acne for good and many of them are quite simple! Give these interventions a shot and if that does not take care of your skin issue, there are many more options out there.  It’s best to start with the simplest solutions first.

Dr. Amanda Childress, PharmD