I was one of the lucky ones that went through my entire teenage period without a single bout of acne. I thought I was blessed with good genes because I was taught that when you hit puberty, you get acne.
Many of you may be thinking that acne is caused due to hormonal imbalances and yes, this can contribute to it, especially in teenagers however adult-onset acne is different.
It was when I hit 21 that my acne started to develop. I was so confused as to why this was happening to me at this age. I switched facewash and spent a ton of money on buying ‘professional’ face care products. I went for monthly facials to try get rid of it and always ended up buying the expensive spa products I was told will clear up my skin. I was told I am breaking out because I touch my face but if this were true the entire world would be walking around with Acne Face.
After 3 very embarrassing years, I went to see my Doctor about it. She prescribed me a contraceptive pill. This approach never sat well with me and I did not take it. I have never felt comfortable messing with the body’s natural hormonal process and that is why at 32 years old, I have still never taken contraceptive medications.
I then went to see a dermatologist to find out what had caused my adult-onset acne and what I could do about it. He prescribed me a very expensive antibiotic & steroid cream. He warned me that I could not go into the sun and that for 3 months, I would have excessive breakouts before it got better. I had to wait for my skin to adjust to the treatment but once it does, my acne will clear up for good. I would also need to use an extra-strength moisturizer as this treatment would make my skin dry, cracked, and flakey…
He was a good dermatologist but a terrible salesman. Absolutely nothing about what he had just described would make me say yes. He said alternatively, he could put me on a very well-known acne treatment but that this has negative side effects for my liver so I would need to avoid alcohol, and any other medications & stay out of the sun for 6 months…Did he realize we were in Africa??? Try telling a south African to not have a beer by the pool on a hot Saturday afternoon!
After 6 years of acne on my face, back, arms and chest, I can happily say that I was finally able to get rid of it within weeks without ever taking a pharmaceutical drug or anything else that interfered with my hormones, live,r or other organs. 5 years later I can tell you I get the occasional, single pimple and I know before it even arrives that it's coming because I have learned what causes my breakouts.
Our skin is our largest organ therefore it’s one of the first places we will see symptoms when our body has an internal imbalance. Yes, acne can be linked to hormones (article on this to follow) but it’s more likely being caused by your food. Through my signature program, the Renewed You Experience, I walk you through getting to the root of your acne and treating it at the source.
Acne and the gut
We all have a unique microbiome which refers to our individual bacterial makeup (the good and bad bacteria that live in us and on us). Our skin microbiome is an extension of our gut microbiome. I’m willing to bet that if you suffer from adult-onset acne, you likely struggle with one or more of the following as well:
- Gas & bloating
- Brain fog
- Fluctuation between constipation & diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
- Have high levels of stress
- Acid Reflux
This is because all the symptoms mentioned above are signs that the gut is in distress and there are problems with our gut microbiome. Even if you do not experience any visible signs of digestive distress (that you know of), if you have chronic acne or eczema, you likely have some kind of imbalance in your gut.
Our digestive system contains a delicate balance of microorganisms that we obtain from childbirth. As we age, this balance is thrown off due to exposure to toxins, infections, antibiotics, food triggers & over-the-counter medications.
Underlying Gut/digestive disorders that cause acne/eczema/rosacea/psoriasis
- Gut dysbiosis (imbalance in your gut bacteria
Too many bad bugs & not enough good bugs
- SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)
Bacteria from the large intestine that gets trapped in the small intestine
Openings in your digestive lining that allows undigested food particles and toxins to escape into your bloodstream
- Parasitic infection
We ingest parasites daily through, food, water, air, etc. and if our immune system is not strong enough to fight them, they create havoc in our system
- Yeast overgrowth
Such as candida
- Low stomach acid
This is actually a symptom of the above-mentioned issues but is worth mentioning. This can also cause food to sit too long in your stomach & ferment. This creates soaring levels of toxicity that are expressed through your skin. Low stomach acid also leads to nutrient deficiencies such as B12 and iron, leading to fatigue
I specialize in rebalancing the gut so if you suspect you are dealing with any of the above, book a free call with me here and lets chat.
Factors that disrupt the gut & cause digestive disorders:
Kills off good bacteria
- Other medications (over-the counter & prescription):
Creates bacterial imbalances and damages gut lining, causing leaky gut
Antinutrients and high-density carbohydrates have been linked to gut dysbiosis and leaky gut in some people with an already weakened digestive system
A diet high in refined sugars feeds bad bugs and encourages overgrowth
- Low fat/fat-free diets:
Besides grains and sugar, common staple foods in the western diet include low-fat dairy. Most low fat foods have been refined, pasteurized, and processed with chemicals that harm our microbiome. Healthy fat is also necessary for maintaining a healthy digestive lining, hormone health and overall cellular health
- Excessive hygiene and fear of “germs”:
With the overuse of hand sanitizers and excessive hand washing, we disrupt the skins natural ecosystem. Sanitizers contain alcohol which gets absorbed within seconds into your blood stream and damages your gut, liver and hormonal system.
Chronic stress can lead to elevated cortisol which interferes with gut flora and contributes to leaky gut
Step by step approach to getting rid of acne and other skin conditions for good:
The most powerful medicine in the world is food. Most skin conditions are linked to food sensitivities and intolerances. Cut out trigger foods for a period of 6 weeks. From there you can start adding them back in slowly, 1 by 1, to see what foods are triggering breakouts. people with celiac disease, or an intolerance to gluten, are three times more likely to have acne, eczema and thyroid/hormonal problems. An elimination diet is great for identifying trigger foods. You can learn more about how to start one here.
SIBO - Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is bacteria from the large intestine that gets trapped in the small intestine and is a huge driver of rosacea, eczema and acne. A breath test prescribed by a doctor can assess if this is a problem for you. rosacea
Leaky gut/intestinal permeability test - The leaky gut test involves drinking a sugar solution and providing a urine sample that is used to assess the quality and effectiveness of your digestive absorption. If levels of these sugars are found in the urine it indicates that they have passed through your intestinal walls and into your bloodstream
Celiac Disease – A simple blood test. Celiac disease stems from genetics and if not found and treated can lead to dementia. It is possible for some to live for years with symptoms but not think to check for celiac. Most uncontrolled cases of celiac trigger skin conditions like acne, eczema & psoriasis
Hormone panel - Imbalances in hormones like cortisol, testosterone, DHEA-S, and estrogen are often ignored, but they could be a major contributor to skin conditions
Blood sugar - Fasting insulin and HgBA1C are useful tests for assessing if poor metabolic management is driving your skin problems.
The kind of supplements you take will depend on what your specific gut problem is and it is best to work closely with your doctor or nutritionist when choosing the right supplement for you. Below is a list of the most common and effective supplements used to heal the gut and get rid of acne naturally
- Prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes. Learn more here
- Antimicrobials: Wormwood, oregano oil, etc.
- Gut healing herbs/supplements: Slippery elm, L-Glutamine, etc.
- Vitamins & minerals for overall health: Vitamin B complex, C, D and zinc
Sweating is one of our primary detoxification mechanisms. Exercise also stimulates movement in your digestive tract which improves digestion. Not getting daily movement can lead to constipation & toxic buildup that will lead to skin problems.
5. Mental Heath, stress reduction and relaxation
Chronic stress can lead to elevated cortisol from the adrenal glands, which triggers skin conditions. Incorporate daily stress reduction techniques such as breathing, mediation, journaling, reading, yoga, drawing or other creative exercises that put you in flow state.
6. Support and accountability
Making big changes to diet and lifestyle can be difficult to implement on your own, so having the help of a health coach or doctor is key. Truly healing the skin through the gut takes time. When it comes to sticking to any plan, people who have a support system and expert guidance increase their chances of success. In all honestly, if you were able to do it alone, you likely would have done it by now.
As we deepen our understanding of the gut microbiome it has become more clear that many skin conditions do not originate at the level of the skin, but stem from the gut.
Besides acne, eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis, here are other skin conditions that begin in the gut:
- Cystic acne
- Oral mucosal lesions (mouth sores)
If you’ve been struggling with any of these, you may want to check your gut.
If you would like guidance on how to best start healing your gut and rebalancing your core body systems, book a free call with me here and let's chat. Together we can co-create a plan that has the power to unleash an UNLIMITED YOU!