Written by Dr. Daniela Steyn
Acne is a common condition that affects many people around the world. It can be caused by various factors, including genetics, hormones, and stress. While anyone can get acne at any age, certain groups are more prone to developing this skin condition than others.
Acne is caused by the overproduction of sebum, an oily substance that lubricates and protects the skin. When there's too much sebum, it can trap dead skin cells and bacteria, leading to inflammation. Though acne is not a life-threatening condition, it can be debilitating, impacting one's self-esteem and quality of life.
One group that is particularly susceptible to acne is teenagers. During puberty, hormonal changes cause increased oil production in the skin's sebaceous glands. When too much oil is produced or dead skin cells don't shed properly, clogged pores can form and lead to pimples and bumps on the face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders - where oil glands are present.
Women are also more prone to acne. During pregnancy, hormonal fluctuations lead to oil production and can cause breakouts. In addition, some women experience changes in their skin at different stages during their menstrual cycle. Young adult women may notice that they're more likely to develop acne around ovulation or before menstruation. Similarly, older women who have gone through menopause may see a return of acne in this new phase of life due to reduced estrogen levels.
Another group of people are more likely to suffer from acne: those with a family history of the condition. If your parents or siblings had acne, you're more likely to develop it.
There are many treatments available for acne, both over-the-counter and prescription. However, these treatments can be harsh on the skin and may cause side effects like dryness, redness, and irritation. Additionally, they don't address the underlying causes of acne, so even if they are effective in the short term, the acne may eventually come back.
If you're struggling with acne, there are several different ways that you can treat it naturally without relying on expensive prescription medications or harsh over-the-counter topical treatments. Some of these methods include the following:
1. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
Eat an anti-inflammatory diet not just for acne but also to reduce inflammation throughout your body. Studies have shown that certain foods can trigger acne breakouts due to their inflammatory effects on the body. Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables will help hydrate your skin and promote healthy cell turnover, which is vital for preventing acne breakouts.
It's also a good idea to limit the amount of sugar in your diet, leading to inflammation and further breakouts. By eating an anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruits and vegetables, you can help reduce inflammation and prevent acne from developing or worsening. There are a lot of different foods that can help prevent acne, but here are ten of the most effective ones:
Salmon – Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for keeping skin clear and preventing inflammation.
Avocados – Avocados are another food containing plenty of healthy fats, which are essential for keeping skin hydrated and supple.
Nuts and seeds – Nuts and seeds are loaded with nutrients beneficial for skin health, including zinc, selenium, and vitamin E.
Sweet potatoes – Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A which helps keep skin cells healthy and functioning correctly.
Green tea – Green tea is rich in antioxidants which are great for protecting skin from the damaging effects of free radicals and inflammation.
Broccoli – Broccoli is high in vitamin C, which helps clear up acne by promoting wound healing and boosting collagen production.
Beans and lentils – Beans and lentils contain lots of protein and zinc, an essential mineral for healthy skin because it helps regulate oil production on the skin's surface.
Blueberries – These little berries are a great source of anthocyanins, antioxidants that help protect cells from damage caused by inflammation.
Leafy greens like kale or spinach – Leafy greens are full of nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E, which are all essential for healthy skin.
Tomatoes - Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that has been shown to help reduce inflammation and improve skin health. Lycopene is also thought to have anti-cancer properties.
2. Adopt a good skincare routine
Acne is a very common problem for many people, and it can be difficult to treat naturally. But with the proper skincare routine and some simple hacks, you can fight acne effectively without relying on harsh chemicals or expensive products.
When battling acne, one of the most important things is keeping your skin clean and clear. This means washing your face regularly with a gentle cleanser (and using cold water rather than hot) and removing any makeup before going to bed. You should also use a gentle exfoliating scrub at least once or twice a week. Exfoliation helps keep your pores clear by removing dead skin cells and other debris that can clog them. You can exfoliate your skin using a natural scrub or exfoliating brush two or three times per week.
Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial agent, ideal for treating acne-prone skin. You can apply tea tree oil directly to your skin in the form of a spot treatment several times per day to help dry out pimples and reduce inflammation.
Witch hazel is a plant extract with anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, ideal for soothing red, irritated skin. You can apply a witch hazel-based toner directly to your face several times per day or simply use it as a spot treatment when needed.
3. Exercise regularly
Exercise is a natural way to combat acne. It helps to regulate hormones, which can reduce sebum production and inflammation. Exercise also boosts circulation and promotes a healthy immune system, which can help keep the skin clear. Additionally, exercise can improve one's self-esteem, which can help deal with the emotional impact of acne.
So, if you're looking for a natural way to combat acne, make sure to add exercise to your routine. Just 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week can make a big difference.
4. Take probiotics
Taking probiotics to promote a healthy gut microbiome. The gut-skin connection is well-established, and recent research has shown that the health of your gut plays a role in the health of your skin. Probiotics are live microorganisms that help maintain a healthy gut flora, and they can be found in fermented foods like yogurt and kimchi and in supplement form.
5. Keep your stress levels low
Finally, it's essential to keep stress levels under control if you want clear skin. High levels of stress can cause your body to release more cortisol, leading to excess oil production in the skin – one of the leading causes of acne breakouts. Finding ways to relax every day – whether through yoga or meditation or simply taking time for yourself – is essential for keeping stress at bay.
Overall, there are many different things that you can do to combat acne naturally and keep your skin clear and healthy. By eating well, keeping stress levels under control, and using the right products in your skincare routine, you will be able to say goodbye to acne breakouts once and for all. So why wait? Start incorporating these simple tips into your everyday life today!
Think your acne might be due to hormonal fluctuations? Download the WellnessMD hormone e-book today!