So many people today label acne as something you just have to deal with as a teenager, with acne treatments focused on hormones or food choices. “It’s hormones,” they say. “You’ll grow out of it eventually.”
An entire acne treatments industry has grown out of it, really. Just think of the aisles full of face washes, lotions, creams, and ointments that claim to cure your acne and leave you with glowing, clear skin.
But covering up the problem with toxic, topical acne treatments isn’t getting to the root of the issue. Once you know what causes acne in the first place, you’ll know how to combat it properly. And no, acne isn’t necessarily caused by chocolate.
And it’s not just a topical issue either. It’s what happens under your skin that largely determines what appears on it. In fact, most skin conditions (acne, eczema, rosacea, etc.) actually begin in your gut!
Acne Treatments that Work
An imbalance of beneficial bacteria in your system can lead to inflammatory skin issues like acne. This can be a result of an overuse of antibiotics or exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment. Try supplementing with a high quality probiotic supplement to restore a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Inflammation of the skin can also occur when there is an imbalance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in your diet. This is why you will want to avoid highly processed, rancid oils like vegetable oil, canola oil, & soybean oil–read the ingredients label on any packaged food! Also make sure you are eating plenty of foods high in omega-3’s like chia seeds, flax, linseeds, and walnuts.
There are a host of other foods that are important to include in your diet on a daily basis for clear, glowing skin. A good rule of thumb is to eat lots of bright colors. The beta carotene in carrots & pumpkin is fantastic for your skin. The same goes with any leafy green vegetable like spinach and kale, bright red tomatoes and beets, and silica-rich cucumbers. Try fresh squeezed juices with beets, carrots, and cucumber. Also make sure most of your vegetable intake is in raw form. There are tons of creative raw recipes out there like my Not-Tuna Salad Pate on Tomatoes or a nutrient-packed raw lasagne!
One food you will want to avoid like the plague is sugar. In high amounts, refined sugar is toxic to your body! Just a few teaspoons can deplete your immune system for hours. Beware of hidden sources of sugar as well. Processed grains (anything white like white bread and white rice) will turn to sugar in your bloodstream in a matter of seconds. So swap your candy bars for antioxidant-rich dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) and nix the bread in exchange for more fruits & veggies.
Now that your diet is in place, go ahead and toss those chemicals you’ve been spreading on your skin. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Instead, use coconut oil on your skin. That’s right, the same kind you might cook with in the kitchen. Extra virgin coconut oil has antibacterial properties that will help heal your skin from acne scars. It works as a great moisturizer as well that won’t leave your face oily. This is a common misconception. When you wash your face too often, your skin is stripped of its natural oils and will overcompensate with oil production in an effort to restore balance. Allow your skin time to rest and breathe. You don’t even have to wash your face every day if there is no noticeable dirt or grime! Instead, apply a thin layer of coconut oil once to twice daily.
Tea tree oil has also been shown to help fight acne with its antibacterial cleansing properties. It’s also great to use in homemade cleaning products like these on my site. Dilute just a few drops of tea tree oil in 8 oz. of water and apply to the affected area 3-4 times daily.
One last piece of advice for getting rid of acne? Stop stressing out. Emotional stress and lack of quality sleep can affect not only your skin, but your overall health. Take time to relax and refresh so you can achieve a boosted immune system and a glowing complexion.
Rebecca TroelstraJuly 9, 2011 at 6:49 am
Do you have any specific tips for eczema? I’ve been trying the coconut oil but it doesn’t seem to be working. I’ve dealt with eczema for 15 years and it seems to be worse lately. Any foods you suggest or supplements?
Eco Beauty EditorJuly 9, 2011 at 9:57 am
I’ve had some issues with eczema myself. I’ve found most skin conditions do start in the gut, so a nutritious cleanse would be a great place to start. As part of that, look at adding a green smoothie to your every day. Here are some recipes I personally love: http://www.ecobeautyeditor.com/2011/05/five-skin-saving-smoothies.
It’s so important to know what you’re doing when it comes to cleansing. Here is an excellent article by Dr Marilyn Golden that will give you some tips on how to detox safely: http://www.diaryofavegan.com/2011/03/detox-safely.
It’s also a great idea to keep applying cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil topically. Its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties really do help. You might start to see improvement by doing this in combination with a cleanse. It worked for me, but of course, everyone has their own specific health requirements.
I hope this helps Rebecca. Please do let me know how you go!
Alicia@ eco friendly homemakingJuly 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm
This is such a great post! I am really glad that I found your blog!!
Eco Beauty EditorJuly 9, 2011 at 3:25 pm
Thanks for your kind feedback Alicia 🙂
carrieJuly 19, 2011 at 8:17 am
There is definitely a direct connect between sugar and acne. I was reading about the dietary causes of acne and some researchers have found that insulin spikes can cause the release on androgens and certain hormones that cause acne problems.
Clear Up Acne NowAugust 14, 2012 at 6:03 am
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marissaJuly 5, 2013 at 11:25 am
Hey! I’m wondering if you know the difference between virgin coconut oil and organic coconut oil. I bought organic coconut oil but I’m scared to use it on my skin because most people say you need virgin coconut oil. Help my confused soul?!
ShannonJuly 19, 2013 at 12:56 pm
Well it comes down to how they’re processed. Extra virgin coconut oil is expeller pressed and has a full coconut flavor and smell. Non-virgin coconut oil has flavor extracted by distilling via a vacuum process, which also exposes the oil to more heat. The less processing, the better, in my opinion. I use certified organic cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil for eating and for topical use. I hope this helps your confused soul! 🙂 Please let me know if you have any other questions about it.
MollyJuly 9, 2013 at 8:22 pm
I tried using baking soda wash and coconut oil on my face and it worked for a few weeks. I have horrible adult cystic acne and gets even worse around my period. I’m currently on doxycycline for my acne and it works so so( I have a ton of stress. Husband’s deployments…going back and forth from Texas to Japan etc.) I’ve tried everything under the sun seems like. I eat pretty good I would say. I eat plain organic yogurt everyday. Always a salad and almonds for lunch or a tuna salad…I exercise…I take pretty good care of myself…is there any other face regimen you could recommend? Or make-up maybe. We live in Japan and don’t have a/c in our home so I don’t moisturizer my face at night cause it gets really oily, is that bad? I’m at my wits end with my face. It’s starting to effect my social life 🙁
ShannonJuly 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm
I’m sorry to hear about all of the stress! Stress can definitely affect our skin because it puts the body in an acidic state… so regardless of how healthily we’re eating, if we’re stressed, it can stop the body from absorbing nutrients. Also, from my experience, dairy isn’t great unless it’s raw or fermented. It can lead to break outs, uneven skin tone and more.
If we don’t heal our gut first and take care of the inside (and that includes managing stress), it doesn’t really matter what good stuff we put on the outside.
If it were me, I’d start with working through the stress first, up my water intake with a pinch of Celtic sea salt and put as little on my skin as possible. Coconut oil is a good one to keep up with if your skin is feeling a little dry.
For stress management, you can find out more at my healing and coaching site http://www.shannondunn.com.au
I hope this helps! Please let me know how you go x