Falling into bed at night without washing your face is the fast track to dirty pores, but many people have a meticulous skincare routine and still suffer from acne. If this sounds like you, it’s not merely a case of life being unfair. Chances are your breakouts are a sign of a bigger health problem that could range from a problematic gut or hormonal imbalance to chronic stress.
Acne and your gut
Many people underestimate the important role their gut plays in their overall health. For example, if you’ve got low stomach acid, it could lead to dysbiosis, an imbalance of intestinal flora and fauna that can eventually result in leaky gut. The latter is a condition where your intestines become semi-permeable (full of little holes) that allow food particles to float into your blood stream and wreak havoc on your immune system.
How does this all relate to acne? An unhealthy gut is an inflamed one and chronic inflammation affects the entire body, including your skin, where it creates the perfect environment for acne.
The first step in treating gut-related acne is to diagnose it, so make an appointment with your doctor who can run several tests that will give them a clearer picture of your gut’s health. At Health Renewal, a multi-pronged approach is taken when it comes to healing the gut and a typical treatment plan could include nutraceuticals like probiotics, IV infusion therapy and a specialised diet.
A bit about your hormones
Another common culprit when it comes to the cause of acne is a hormonal flux, be it due to a temporary state like pregnancy or menopause or a condition like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Health Renewal uses various methods of diagnosis and one of them is a simple panel of blood tests. This reveals your hormonal profile that indicates particular conditions. For example, women with PCOS have high androgen and luteinizing hormone levels.
Treatment will depend on your particular condition, but usually involves the prescription medication and, in the case of menopause, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy in a bid to restore balance.
A true food allergy causes an immune system reaction that can affect any part of your body, including your skin. The results of a food intolerance tends to be limited to your digestive system but cause an inflammatory response and, like we said, inflammation can lead to acne. So, in short, eating things your body is allergic to or simply doesn’t process well can be the reason behind a breakout.
To pick up on allergies and intolerances, Health Renewal relies on an array of testing methods that include a skin pricks and blood testing along with guided elimination diets that last for a minimum of two weeks. The latter means employing a fair amount of self-discipline, but if you’re able to positively identify what your body doesn’t appreciate, it can go a long way towards improving the look of acne.
On the subject of food, you’ll be glad to know there’s nothing linking chocolate to acne (phew!) but large amounts of sugar can spike insulin levels that aggravates inflammation, acne’s playground. There is, however, a link to stress and that’s got to do with cortisol. Known as the ‘stress hormone’ because your body produces more of it when under duress, excess cortisol tells your glands to make more oil.
Getting back to pimples
Once you’ve gotten to the root cause of your acne, treating that will help clear up your skin. Still, while you’re doing that, there are lots of topical as well as in-office treatments that can help make a visible improvement. The latter range from deep-cleansing facials, microdermabrasion and peels to laser and light treatments and even carboxytherapy.
One treatment can deliver good results, but the best are achieved via a combination of several and your doctor will be able to take your unique circumstances into account and create a 3D plan of attack to help you enjoy clear, beautiful-looking skin from the inside out.
To learn more about acne and your health as well as your treatment options, visit www.healthrenewal.co.za
This post was written in partnership with Skin Renewal.