You wake up with a shiny new Holiday “gift pimple” on your chin. This is not going to go well with all those party photos. However, it does match the ugly sweater!
No one loves pimples! (except, Dr. Sandra Lee, the pimple popper, naturally!) Most of the human race as a whole despises them almost as much as politicians. We feel as if everyone is staring at them, they make us uncomfortable, and a bit insecure, at worse it makes us feel ugly and in the mood to become a hermit till they disappear.
Pimples, blemishes, zits, spots, boils, blackheads, whiteheads, pustules, acne, comedones….whatever you call them, we all dread them. Some of us do love to squish them but that is a temporary, guilty pleasure.
Over the years, I have done some drastic things to combat the outbreaks. I fell for so many products claiming to make them vanish. I even cut bangs (fringe, if you are British) to cover an outbreak on my forehead. That was a bit silly and just made it worse! The fact is, there are products that help; some are not healthy, some dry the skin, some only work short-term.
There are way too many products and way too many myths about the causes of these nasty intruders.
Like most health issues there are several causes. Some people need the perfect storm for a breakout; other just are prone to hosting zits. Our skin is our largest organ. When things are not functioning well, or there is an imbalance, our skin will indicate the body is need of help.
We all know the basic story: dirt and oil get clogged in a pore you get a pimple. This is only partly true. If you have a healthy balance inside your body and a balance of good bacteria on your skin, you can be almost immune to getting blemishes. So there is no need to use harsh products to strip your skin!
How does this work?
First, let’s briefly look at all the major causes of our breakouts:
- Hormone imbalance. This is why we get zits at puberty, or breakouts with menstrual cycles, or with hypothyroid and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
- Poor diet: high in sugar and processed foods.
- Hygiene: Over washing skin with harsh, anti- bacterial, or drying substances.
- Reactions to products. (i.e. Sensitive skin)
- Products: Blocking pores with facial soaps, moisturizers, and/or make-up.
- Bad bacteria outnumbering good bacteria on your skin and in your gut.
- Toxins: Smoking, alcohol, drugs!
Let’s look at how we can fix each of these issues.
Hormones— (I will spare you the geeking out with all the physiology.) Hormones are broken down by the liver. When the liver is over tasked, it shows on your skin!
Our hormones should be easily broken down by the liver then eliminated. However, when we hit puberty we get a surge of crazy hormones, sometimes more than our body can clear. Add in a typical teen diet of pizza, chips, and processed food; the liver just can not keep up. Note that 62% of acne patients are adults, and most are women. Most of these women have an imbalance in hormones seen by cyclical breakouts.
When our liver gets overwhelmed as teens or adults, we will break out with acne or pimples. Click here for a link to our cleanse to help keep your liver working well.
Sometimes, acne can be a symptom of hypothyroidism. When thyroid levels are low, the liver does not filter cholesterol out of the bloodstream efficiently lowering the available amount to the body tissues that need cholesterol to form things like progesterone which signals the release of thyroid hormone. Therefore an imbalance of hormones results.
Diet— Many people think it is a myth that what you eat affects your skin. Even some dermatologist believe food has nothing to do with skin health. However, it is proven those that eat a clean, whole food based diet are healthier with clearer skin. This includes better skin quality plus slowing the signs of aging. The most interesting study (if you want to geek out) is an anthropology study on the Canadian Inuit population. It was noticed they started getting acne only when they began eating processed foods! It is not chocolate, it is any foods with a high gycemic load, especially highly processed foods filled with chemicals and preservatives.
Sugar is the most inflammatory food. If you eat refined (added sugar, not natural fruit sugar) you are causing inflammation. “The evidence that pro-inflammatory foods simultaneously exacerbate acne and other chronic diseases, raises the possibility that Acne vulgaris should be added to the list of ‘diseases of civilization’” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5046992/
Diets high in sugar also decrease you immune system. We need strong immune systems to keep the bacteria in balance, overgrowth of “bad” bacteria can cause breakouts. The link between sugar and immune system suppression has been proven in scientific studies.
Nutrient low diets. How do you expect to build healthy skin cells with poor nutrients?!
Staying Hydrated. Yes, water is beneficial to keep those cells happy and helps your body eliminate waste products so your body remains clean and clear. Not to mention hydrated skin looks years younger than dehydrated. Think of the difference between a grape and a raisin!
Hormone filled meats and dairy. When you eat meat and dairy, make sure it is hormone free and antibiotic free. However, It is best to cut back on dairy since it tends to be inflammatory too. (I know we all love cheese…but it does not love us)
Hygiene, mainly over washing and harsh products strips your natural oils and balanced bacteria from you skin. After stripping the oils and bacteria, our skin works overtime to replace those oils. Plus bad bacteria seem to repopulate faster than the healthy balance you had before. So you can become more oily creating prime conditions for breakouts. The balance of bacteria helps prevent breakouts too!
TIP: Wash with warm (not hot) water and a soft cloth. Use a gentle soap (liquid is usually less drying) or a natural oil, like coconut oil to remove dirt and/ or makeup (yes, oil works!) wipe clean with warm water then rinse with cold or cool water. You can use a homemade toner.
Reactions to products. If a product irritates your skin it will get inflamed! Your skin will try to protect itself by producing oils, or it will peel….these reactions can cause clogged pores.
Products: Adding certain products like moisturizers, makeup, sunscreens, acne products, coverup to your face, especially those with loads of complicated ingredients, tend to be comedogenic, i.e. pore clogging. Many natural oils like coconut oil are listed as a comedogenic however, the antimicrobial properties in it tend not to cause breakouts and provide a better moisturizer than many expensive products on the market.
Bad Bacteria..really it is more of an imbalance that is the issue. Putting “bad” bacteria on your face sounds like a no-brainer for not being an intelligent move, but we do it without even thinking. Many women rarely wash their make-up brushes or toss old makeup, this is a major cause transferring bacteria that cause blemishes. Keeping your pillow case clean and your dirty hands off your face, especially when working or studying is also useful to mention. We touch so much then put our hands on our face several times a day! Picking zits spreads bacteria, irritates skin, and again you are putting your hands on your face!
Toxins– I will keep this one short because all toxins slow the liver down, and negatively affect the body! Smoking- it is filled with toxins that are horrible for you skin plus ages you. Alcohol- this is sugar and toxins so think about all we said above. Drugs are just more toxins so very hard on your body/ liver.
General Tips for Clear Skin:
- Try my Detox for Clear Skin 🙂 So you can have step by step instructions. Sort of an “easy guide to clear skin.”
- Eat clean, exercise, keep your face in a healthy balance of good bacteria by not over washing, avoid toxins, and keep your face products natural and simple!
- If you want to get really clear on the subject check out our Clear Skin Detox….Doctor created program for clearer skin in 3 weeks. Ok, this is a repeat but it is nice to have clear skin!
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